Why you're stressed and he/she isn't
Updated: Aug 29, 2019
Stress is a part of life. From the moment we are born into the world, we are destined to encounter circumstances that will push our buttons and really challenge us. This is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, I might be so bold as to suggest that stress is actually helping you survive and grow as a person.
Stress is actually a very useful physiological process that can provide quick bursts of energy and help us get out of dangerous situations. Certainly, a little cortisol and adrenaline can work wonders if you're running for your life from a knife-wielding madman. The problem, though, is that people are having that same physiological reaction multiple times per day in situations that are not actually life-threatening.
The train has been cancelled, you're running late for work and an important meeting, you're stuck in traffic, or, god forbid, you have lost your smartphone. As annoying as these experiences can be, they are not actually life-threatening. However, your body's physiological response to such experiences will be identical to that of the knife-wielding madman discussed earlier. So if you're stressed most of the day, your body is actually behaving like you're being chased by a madman with a knife around the clock. Doesn't feel very nice, does it?
The strange thing is that, while you might be stressed out of your mind, your good friend Claudia seemed to be absolutely fine when going through same situations in life. What the hell. Why is this? What is their damn secret?
There is no secret actually. Just a difference in perspectives.
There are two different perspectives on the cause of stress:
A. Stress is caused by a situation.
B. Stress is caused by your beliefs about the situation.
One perspective looks at the external; the other the internal.
If perspective A was actually true, then everyone one would react exactly the same when encountering the same situations. But in reality, that doesn't happen. Everyone seems to have a unique reaction to a given situation. The difference comes down to their individual views and beliefs about the situation at hand.
Stress functions as a feedback mechanism. It's letting you know that you're perceiving the current situation as an obstacle or threat.
If you're aware that you're stressed all the time over silly things and less than life-threatening situations, it's possibly not the situations you need to change, but instead your views and beliefs about them.
Stress is useful feedback.
Learning and growth take place in stressful situations.
Stress is caused by your unique views and beliefs about a situation, but not the situation itself.
If you're stressed all the time. it feels crap and it's bad for your health.
If you're stressed because your iPhone battery is about to run out. it's time to reflect and consider if your stress is truly warranted.
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