STRESS – THE INVISIBLE MONSTER WITH A THOUSAND HEADS
Stress is recognised as the Nr. 1 killer in the world, and as such, a plethora of techniques have been invented along the last decencies of our fast-track modern world to deal with it.
‘Stress management’, ‘this and that technique’… all treating it with a form of reverence while going full might against it, as if this phenomenon we call ‘stress’ is an entity in its own right.
But is it really?
If it were a thing, surely by now our bright scientists would have found where it hides. Like a tumour; cut it off, take a pill, dissolve it, job done! Same with depression, diabetes or high blood pressure.
Are those the cause, or the result of stress?
If they are the cause of stress, what would then be their cause? If they are the result, what is it then the real cause of this thing we call stress?
The answer is: stress is a process, not a thing, and to understand the process, you must first understand the processor, meaning you!
Stress is the major cause for breaking relationships and communication – whether at work or home with your spouse and children.
We act from a survivor mode, which we unconsciously adopt to deal with our stressors. We find ourselves less tolerant towards others. We have less time to listen to the needs of others. We jump to pre-made conclusions, therefore, no real communication is possible with a person who is in this state. More importantly, all of the above is true in the relationship with Self. Meaning, we have less time to take care of ourselves. As a result, we subconsciously reject those who do; we enter into the realm of blame, ‘I haven’t got time to think, and he is doing x, y, z instead.’
When we are in this constricted mode we lose connection – one of the most important factors in human interaction. We feel connected when relaxed. We appreciate our environment, we feel moved by nature and its beauty. We have those moments of inner peace and joy, time for self-reflection, which is impossible in a state of constriction.
In this state of connection, we feel closer to our divine role. We perceive others from an open state of mind and heart. We see their needs as important as our own. We become more tolerant of others’ mistakes because, through self-reflection, we know that we did similar things at some point, and we recognise the importance of being understood, not judged, not labelled by the state we are in, but gently guided out of it.
Children are perhaps the less recognised victims of our stress. We all know the devastating effects on our bodies, but little has been written about the secondary effects of stress on our environment, starting with our children.
Take for example a family who is struggling to make up mortgage payments. The job is unsatisfactory, and on top it doesn’t pay enough to meet the needs. The parents work their life out of themselves just to assure the survival of the basic family needs. That often means no time for children, no time for a proper communication with the partner, constant worry and focus of ‘how am I going pay that bill too?’
The child awaits his parents with apprehension, knowing by experience that their presence means shouting. A bad note at school means more cries and reprimands. He or she is perhaps told that he is ungrateful, ‘we work our backs to give you an education, and you are lazy; you give a damn of our efforts’. Perhaps he is sent to his room to do his homework. Imagine how well will you work after your boss just gave you such washing. His needs of being helped and understood in his moments of trouble have vanished before his eyes. The only options he is left with are:
- Either to adopt the parents’ behaviour, mistaking this for power, becoming an aggressive, disruptive child, teenager and, therefore, adult;
- Or to ‘close up’, to interiorise, feeling guilty for the outburst of their parents, and take it from where the parents left them on the internal turmoil of devalorisation, self-doubt and loss of confidence.
Scientific studies indicate that we have per day a media of 50-70 000 thoughts; 34 – 48 thoughts per minute. It is now common knowledge in the new scientific arena that our thoughts and emotions control our reality, our bodies and the quality of our life.
We are a powerhouse that can burn the house down or send us to the moon. Without the instructions manual of how to operate it, we are prone to misuse and therefore to sufferance.
It is not ‘stress’ or ‘depression’ or ‘illness’ that we need to understand. It is us that we need to learn about, discover and invest in.
In the end, we should be wise and start with the begging, and listen to the wisest men of our race’s advice: