We talk about stress in terms of our job or study, our relationships, not having enough time, our health, our wealth, or having too much to do.
What often comes into play when we begin to feel discomfort in our lives are :
We say, things like “I have so much to do”, “I don’t have enough time”, “My staff are hopeless, I have to redo everything”, “My child/parent/partner are annoying me”.
And then, we leave the conversation there. Usually because everyone agrees with us. “Yeh, I know…….” “Oh, that’s soooo bad” or something similar. We all pat each other on the shoulder and support the victim and mediocrity and add to the universal “Woe is me, sniff, sniff” or the “I am so in the right and everything or everyone else is wrong” syndromes.
Recently I read that the enemy of happiness is adaptation. Often when we are feeling recurring or constant discomfort about something, instead of doing something that will bring about change and restore our happiness, we opt to adapt ourselves to the discomfort. Just like the ‘boiled frog’ it seems there is a part of us that goes to sleep when it comes to changing a situation or modifying it so that it will work better for us. (For those who don’t know, an experiment was done with a frog where it was placed in a pot of water. As the temperature of the water was gradually increased, instead of jumping out of the water, the frog adapted itself to the temperature until it died.)
What we need to do is ask “Why?” “Why do I feel like I do?” We need to get clarity about why I’m beginning to feel uncomfortable. Taking the examples above, it may well be that I have more to do that I can cope with, the time given to me to complete a task is unrealistic, my staff are not trained or experienced or are not interested in what they are doing, my child/parent/partner are falling short of my expectations or standards.
These are the facts. There is no need for me to make them emotional by complaining, criticizing and making comparisons. By complaining, criticizing and comparing, I only create more discomfort, i.e. stress.
Once I have clarity about why I feel like I do I then need to ask myself “What can I do so that I don’t feel discomfort in the situation any more?” Then I need to look at all of the options I have so that I can act to make the situation better for me, and not react, i.e. re-enact the discomfort/stress.
For instance, (taking the examples above again) I might decide to tell my boss that I feel under pressure to do my work – it’s too much for me – and ask if I can have some help. I might decide to meet with my staff and ask why they are finding it difficult to complete tasks properly and then take the necessary steps to perhaps train them, support them or make their jobs more interesting. And I might decide to drop my expectations of my children/parents/partner, understanding that everyone has their own ways of doing things and they may not necessarily be the same as my way of doing things.
Complaining, criticising, and comparing take our power away. Thoughts like these spin in our minds and make our minds weak and as our minds become weak we feel more stress.
Adopting (not adapting), Clarity and Courage to Act will help us to have happy and stress-free lives.
Tomorrow……Why we find it difficult to speak up!
Until then, lots of love,