Why We Get Stressed
This is not going to be your typical article on how to reduce stress. If you are hoping to find information on the top 10 or 23 ways to cut down on your stress levels, then this won’t be the article for you. Save yourself some time and go here now.
BUT if you are wanting to dig deeper, and get to the possible underlying causes for some of your stress that you may not even be aware of, then read on!
I am going to probe deeper and go further!
Not focusing on HOW to deal with stress, but WHY we get stressed!
The AIM is to DEFUSE the sources of stress so you won’t be stressed in the first place!
Demands = Stress!
Unwittingly, every day, most of us go through life not realizing the unconscious demands that we place upon ourselves, the people around us, and the world. It may be something as simple as expecting that the local pizza place will make good on it’s “promise” to deliver our
pizza in “30 minutes or it’s free!”
Now this may seem like a silly example to start with. But how often do we find ourselves getting upset, frustrated, or even angry because we “believed” somebody’s promise to us
A promise we probably shouldn’t have believed in the first place!
And we turn that promise into a DEMAND of how we EXPECT the world to work!
If we stop to think about it. Does the local pizza place have control over traffic patterns, possible accidents, and the weather just to name a few key elements, that would be necessary to deliver on this “promise” every single time?
I have an idea what you might be thinking at this time …..
I don’t really believe that I can get my pizza in a half hour every time, but there is a chance that I could get a free pizza out of it!
Demands Sneak Up On Us!
The possibility of a free pizza would be great once in awhile! But the problem is: don’t we find ourselves getting impatient and “STRESSED” when we find out that we may NOT get our pizza within the “promised” time?
It kind of creeps up on us doesn’t it? We know we shouldn’t believe or take in the promise of a pizza ALL the time within a half hour, but right now we are hungry! And we “want”, no we “DEMAND” that they live up to their promise! And there you have it …. a very significant
source of STRESS in our lives: DEMANDS!
Demands creep into our lives in many different ways and under many different contexts. There may be very little difference between a DEMAND and an EXPECTATION.
Buddhists might say: If you want to know if you have any expectations, then notice if you are feeling frustrated, and there you will find them!
Anger is nothing more than an outward expression of hurt, fear and frustration. Dr.Phil
And as Dr. Phil so eloquently points out in the quote above, the problem with frustration is that it leads to anger! And one could easily say that when one is feeling “angry”, then one is most certainly feeling “stressed”.
It is as if this chain of causality, and of how things “should” be, start to gather steam inside of us. So instead of merely picking up the phone and ordering a pizza and saving ourselves the time and energy of needing to make supper for the family. Instead we end up with a load of frustration, irritation and possibly anger that ends up ruining our dinner and possibly our night.
Just because we let ourselves be seduced into a promise of a pizza in 30 minutes or it was free!
And we took that promise and turned it into a demand!
What if we just ordered the pizza and we got it when we got it?
And if we didn’t get it within a reasonable time, then we wouldn’t order from them again?
WHAT? No getting flustered? No getting stressed? No being worried or consumed if we don’t get our pizza in the promised time? No balling someone out because they didn’t live up to a promise they made to us???
I’m not sure I can live in that type of world you say!
You mean: A world with less stress?
Is your losing your cool at them, and yelling at them in front of your wife and family going to make anyone feel good, including you?
You seem uncertain for a bit…..
Well…. Are you saying to just let things happen and not to have any expectations whatsoever?
No! I am suggesting that we live in the world as it is.
Learn how things “really” work. And not allow ourselves to lose our precious peace of mind just because somebody made a promise they didn’t have a hope in hell of keeping, just so they could get our business over some other pizza place!
Wouldn’t that make for a better night?
Well, yeah, I guess…. so how do I do it?
Watch your mind. See how it moves and makes connections. See how it forms expectations and then converts them to demands. And then becomes Judge, Jury, and Executioner if those demands are not met!
Okay, it’s worth a try you say. So when should I expect to get my pizza then?
Please come this way. This is a drawing board. Yes, I know we’ve been here before. Many times!
How To Know We Are Making Demands?
Basically when you notice that you are starting to feel tense and stressed, and thinking that things “should” be other then they are, that is when you are likely making demands. Any time we are feeling that life, or anybody “should” be other then they are, then we are not flowing with what is, and more importantly, we are at risk of not adapting to what is.
Seeing the connection between our making demands and feeling stressed, is for more then when we periodically order pizza!!!
This approach will hopefully help you in your everyday interactions with your spouse or loved ones, family, friends, co-workers, the people we interact with in the outside world and ourselves.
So in a nutshell, when can we use this?
ALL THE TIME, EVERYDAY, AND EVERY MOMENT OF OUR LIVES!
Here it is…… The following seemingly innocent words often lay behind our deepest and most troubling DEMANDS that we make in life:
ALL of these words are rigid and inflexible and will likely cause resistance and stress in our daily interactions. Don’t take my word for it! Try each one out, and see how inflexible, how tense and how stressed you feel while using them! Ultimately, there is a “true” alternative to making and creating DEMANDS in our lives. The answer to making demands in our lives is to opt for having PREFERENCES! I will post an article about the benefits of having preferences over demands in our lives in the near future. Check back later.
If you want to reduce stress in your life, then start looking for the places where you have allowed stressful “demands” to creep into your thoughts and worlds.
Ask yourself….. Is this something that I am demanding, or preferring?
And then you may find yourself to not only better deal with stress, but able to significantly reduce stress in your life!
Let me know what you thought of this article, and please feel free to suggest topics that are of interest to you!