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Does Stress Exist?

Stress is different things to different people. Stress is how you see something. Not what it is

Ok I’m not trying to be too smart here. Or a Guru. Or a motivational type fellow. Those guys are super cool but too way up there for me. Or you I guess.

I’m not better than you. I’m not worse than you (actually I may be). I’m more or less you and I’m talking to you.

So let’s do this logically. If at any point of time you disagree please exit the page.

Still there? Cool.

Now recently I was in the Plunge Pool. Plunging lower and lower. But basically it was a day where I got up feeling bad and as the day moved on began to feel worse and worse. A Free Fall. Everything in the present didn’t feel so good, and everything ahead seemed impossible to do.

You know those days?

That’s when I started to try and figure it out. What is stress?

And a thought occurred to me. Stress is different things to different people. For Omar a little boy who has lost his way in the Thar desert, stress is wondering whether he will find his way before the sand in his gullet chokes him and he dies or thirst. For Elfa a ramp model stress is a pimple on a nose. But a growing pimple which could prevent her from being picked for a designer showstopper. For me that day stress was the worry of finances and my business (the usual).

Which one of us was more stressed? Who is to say?

Elfa may have been freaking out more than me and needing a Prozac tablet. I may have been in the middle pacing up and down feeling really bleak. But Omar, maybe he was the calmest of us all, looking up at the sky and believing that he would be guided to the right place.

However conventional wisdom would not suggest this order.

So stress is obviously not about the magnitude of what you are facing.

So what is it?

Let’s talk about you now. Think of a day when you felt very anxious about something. Say it was the result of a blood test you had given. You were tense about it. Very tense. Then somewhere along the way you had a drink. And felt much less ‘stressful.’ How did that happen? Actually, maybe you don’t drink, and all you did was sit in the garden for a while.

This brings a twist. Is it possible that stress isn’t about what you’re facing either?

That’s when it hit me.

Stress isn’t about what you’re facing, it’s about how you are seeing it.

Because in most cases you are projecting a future that probably won’t happen. A worse case scenario.

The simplest example I can give you is that of an arrow flying at you. You look at that arrow and think ‘heck that arrow is surely going to hit me, probably in my leg.’ Then you look through a binoculars and see it big and bold and say ‘fecking hell this arrow is going to go through my heart.’ However, finally you turn the binoculars around and the arrow looks really far away and you think ‘there’s very little chance that that stupid little arrow is going to hit me.’

You can’t change the situation, but you can change your imagination.

Maybe that arrow is a crow?

Stress is how you see something. Not what it is.

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