Is there any life without stress?

October 10, 2014

Sometimes stress just happens. 

 

Imagine, you lazily read a news feed while enjoying aromatic coffee. The phone rings and your promising client informs you that the Board of Directors decided not to sign a contract with you. 

 

You slowly hang up the phone. And you literally see how three months of sleepless nights, preparations, hopes and negotiations have being just washed down the toilet. You want to scream and hit someone, because of losing a seven-figure sum - it's stress! 

 

We all have serious claims to stress: collapsed marriage, terrible mistakes and even health problems. Stress is an obvious evil and if it can be eliminated you would happily do so, right? 

People are even willing to pay for the hope of reducing stress at least a little bit. Stress management is a popular marketing slogan, which sells everything: tranquilizers and yoga, trainings and cars. We tend to idealize a stress-free life. But we must be careful with our dreams because they can come true. 

 

For centuries people have fought for the luxury to be free of physical work. Nowadays this hope comes true for millions. And so what? They proudly pay money for the new luxury to sweat at the gym. 

 

By the way, even the inventor of the term "stress" Hans Selye said: " “I cannot and should not to be cured of my stress, 

but merely taught to enjoy it.”

 

Why? 

 

Because stress is an evolutionarily proven universal reaction to any changes. Stress creates energy and prepares you for action, so that you can survive and meet your needs. 

 

Stress occurs in two situations only: 

1) if there is a threat to you and your needs (and then you have to fight or flee away); 

2) if something promises to meet your needs (and then you need to create, catch and grab). 

 

Stress - is a signal, "Hey, everything has changed, it's time to do something!" 

 

It even suggests what to do. The "wave" of stress energy is always directed towards the benefit and away from the threat. So, stress is obviously your friend! 

 

You can say, "You know, maybe stress is useful, but it is too unpleasant. So, I'd be beter off without it!?."

 

Unfortunately, this path leads to disappointment, simply because it is an impossible one. 

 

If you are afraid of stress and try to suppress or manage it, then you are only creating an extra stress…because all of it takes energy and to create energy your body will engage in stress. 

 

And why trap yourself with unrealistic goals? It is not possible to control an automatic unconscious reaction. You can only try to suppress it, but in doing so you will only make it chronic, destructive and health threatening. 

 

So, there is apparently no life without stress. Moreover, it seems that stress is the only possible way of life. To paraphrase a famous joke, you can say, "If you do not feel stressed, you are dead." And if so, then the reasonable question is: "How can I use it?" 

 

After all, what’s not to like? 

 

Stress clearly reveals what is really important to you, plus it provides you with energy needed for action. 

 

How would your life change if you do not consider stress to be your enemy any more? What if you do not have to waste your precious time to fight with it? What if you learn to benefit using stress as a marker of your values? 

 

And what about chronic stress? 

 

It is a clear indication that you ignore reality and do not make needed decisions, trying to protect stupid yet comforting beliefs in safe stability despite experience and common sense. 

It is OK to be afraid of changes. 

It is unnatural not to change. 

It is foolish to try to keep the moment; it will anyway pass away. 

Is it worth it to cling to the memories when you can create new ones? 

In trying to avoid change and stress you in fact refuse to live. 

But if you let go of your doubts and regrets, if you manage to unclench numb fingers and take the first step forward, you will feel pure adrenaline. 

Why resist the swells of life if you can ride it? 

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