Why are we all so stressed?
According to many surveys over the last 8 years, majority of people deal with “stress” every day. That seems like common sense but the issue is that this isn’t just day to day stress that accompanies normal daily life. People these days are reporting feeling STRESSED most of the time. Mental health seems to be a constant topic of conversation- which is a positive thing- because so many people suffer with some sort of anxiety, depression, or other type of psychological ailment. We are more than just a little “stressed”. We are uptight, overwhelmed, worry warts that seem to be in a perpetual survival phase.
Now of course I am generalizing. But there are an overwhelming number of people (young people) who appear to be constantly waiting for life to get easier. Waiting for life to get better. Even if they are working hard to make that happen, and even if they are on track to achieve this “better life”, will the stress disappear? Or what about right now? Is it worth your happiness now to have everything you think you want in the future? Our response to situations is what determines the level of stress we experience. Some people seem to be able to cope with stressful situations with relative ease, while others become overwhelmed by minor issues. So, if you are an extremely stressed out person right now, will this follow you into your “better life”?
I think most stress is because of expectations. For example, stress from personal relationships- family, friends- is often because of your expectations not being met by the other person or because you are failing to meet their expectations resulting in friction in the relationship. Stress caused by major life changes- marriage, pregnancy, divorce, death, etc- is also due to expectations. Either we are worrying about the unexpected nature that accompanies some of these events, or we are creating these scenarios and expectations in our mind which is causing major stress. Same goes for stress caused by finances or career. There are so many worries because of our expectations about what our future will look like.
This is human nature. I don’t have a magic blanket solution that will diminish all of this stress. But what I want you to think about is: “What am I waiting for?” This is a question you need to ask yourself if you are one of these people waiting for life to get better. Think about what aspect of your life is causing the stress- school, work, your marriage, your financial situation etc.- and think about what the problem is. Is the problem that you need to make more money? If that’s the issue, like it is for many of us (myself included), what are you doing to fix this problem? This is something that people are often afraid to be real with themselves about. If this aspect of your life is causing you stress, and making you worry; are you working toward a goal that will get you to where you can finally be happy? If the answer is no, this is the topic of another blog. But if the answer is yes, what are you waiting for?
I am really not trying to be preachy but the cliché saying goes “happiness is not a destination; it is a way of life”. I am guilty of waiting. Waiting to be happy. Waiting to reach my “goals”. Waiting however, is bringing you further away from what you want from your life. You will wait forever because even when you “get what you want” it will not be enough. Jim Carrey said “I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they dreamed of so they can see it’s not the answer”. Easy for him to say right? Well that may be so, but his point is valid. You have to have wants and goals in life otherwise you are not moving toward anything. You will not achieve anything if you don’t have a destination. But the journey itself needs to bring you some joy. Now, I am not a toddler, I realize that hard work is just that- HARD. Some days you’re going to feel tired, exhausted even. But you must not ignore the positives- the small victories, the daily joys that come along with moving toward your destination. What makes you happy? How can you get more of that in your life? If the answer is “……makes me happy and I can’t wait until I have the time, money, resources to do that”, then we need to reassess. If you spend your entire life waiting for your situation to improve rather than enjoying the daily grind to get where you’ve been dreaming about, what makes you think that when you get there you will feel happy? Do you even know what happy is anymore? Have you lost the ability to feel joy? Don’t wait for something to make you happy. Seriously. Find happiness in your life as it is, dream of where you want to go, set your goals and intentions, and enjoy every part of getting there. It’s ok to have shitty days. Just don’t make them the norm or when you finally get everything you’ve always wanted, you won’t even know it.
Amanda Cooke, RMT