Focus is Everything
Have you ever noticed how often stress is mentioned in the media, on billboards, on social media, and so on? Have you noticed how many people are dedicated to curing our stress now? Have you ever thought about the effect this focus is having?
Subconscious – Subversive
Many years ago I was saying to a friend that I hated going to supermarkets because the food was labelled so that I could see how bad it was for me (why even produce the stuff if you’re going to red light it?), and there was a constant drip-feed of “eat this to be healthy”, “if you eat this it’s bad for you” (even though we’re selling it), through the speaker system. My friend thought I was nuts until she went home and told her highly logical husband, who said “that’s why I only buy fresh and wear earphones and play music all the time I’m in a supermarket”.
As you know, your subconscious mind takes up 90% of your mind space, and basically you haven’t more than a clue what it’s up to. Added to that, even when you’re not paying attention your ears are hearing and your eyes are seeing, and that information is storing itself in your memory. So even though you may not focus on stress, you will be reading about it, hearing about it, and people all around you may be talking about it, and it registers. Just take note of how often you hear stress mentioned in a week.
The pressure to be stressed is a constant subversive drip-feed!
Innocent Until Found Stressed
So even if you don’t focus on stress, you might find yourself wondering why you feel stressed when there’s no good reason, and the first-world focus on stress and stress related illness might just be the reason. So what can we do?
The first thing is to be aware of this and ask yourself one important question: Am I stressed?
The scale I was taught by a doctor was: stress; strain; anxiety; acute anxiety; depression. So being aware if you’re stressed is pretty important because you can then take action. However, because there is such a focus on stress I often find that I, and I’ve noticed others, will claim stress without thinking “is this a stressful situation or an irritation?”
That’s important. We’re so used to using the word stress we don’t ask ourselves if in fact we’ve got that far.
The next important question is: is there a solution? Because in thinking of stress as an illness there can be a tendency to think of yourself as ill rather than being in need of taking some action to get rid of the cause of the irritation.
The Language of a Stress-Free Life
Language and thoughts create our reality. One of the things I do is make sure that I describe myself in easier terms: irritated; put out; annoyed. Choose your own words.
The second thing I do is only choose to say that I’m stressed if the situation is really and truly stressful, and often I’m not.
For example, I described myself as stressed last week when our gas boiler broke down and we were without heat for 6 days. In truth I was mightily irritated by the incompetence of our service provider. I didn’t need to be stressed, I needed to do what I did and harass them until it was sorted. There was no other solution and it was sorted. The whole point was that we had hot water and it wasn’t that cold last week.
As stress is so intimately related to stress related illnesses and conditions, it can be very wise to downgrade those feelings whenever you possibly can, and save them for the truly difficult things. Otherwise you will find that smaller and smaller things stress you.
Steps Towards Sanity
- Stop and think about the situation clearly.
- Ask yourself is it stressful or are you falling into the stress trap.
- See if there is an action you can take, and quickly, to mitigate the situation, rather than accepting it deal with it.
- Don’t buy into the idea of how much stress there is in this world. There is actually a lot of stress, but a good chunk of it can be mitigated by a bit of meditation, mindfulness, and making sure you create happy and positive times in your life. For example, we may describe ourselves as stressed with work when we’re working stupid hours and sneaking a bit of work in at weekends, whereas a walk and a lovely lunch might put us back on top of the world.
I’m not trivialising stress, I would never do that, but to a certain extent we can mitigate our stress by taking control of our minds, choosing good thoughts, becoming action-oriented, and dealing with little things before they become big things in our minds.
The spiritual conclusion? You were born to be healthy, happy, and abundant in all good things, actively seek that state!