“Very often I hear people saying, ‘ just want to have a stress-free life’. This got me to thinking about that and what it would actually mean. For myself I think if I had a life that was stress free it may not be all it is cracked up to be. Some of the reasons are, there is often stress present in my life is due to deadlines, important obligations, wanting to perform well or the identified need of getting something thought to be beneficial in place. All of these and a number of other stress provoking things in my world are a big part of what gives my life purpose, meaning and value. I believe that if you are living a life that has purpose, meaning and value to you, it is going to come with stress.
I also got thinking that often times we are confronted with stress that is caused by change. Sometimes these changes are desired and sometimes change is brought upon us by some specific situation or occurrence. We either accept and adapt to these changes or we reject and resist them. The results can be a beneficial one of learning and growth or one that at the least causes irritation and discomfort. Sometimes stress no matter the source can be crippling and cause us significant impairment to our way life. I understand that not all stress is the same and neither are the people experiencing them.
I merely got thinking about how I respond to stress and how my own perception about stress and even change influences how it affects me. When I thought again about the statement, ‘I just want a stress-free life’. I think it gives stress a bad name, stress serves a purpose. Is it the pain from resisting the stress or not having a way to cope with it that I find the most unpleasant? Like the author Charlotte Kasl said, ‘It is our attachment to be free of pain that creates suffering’. I found a great TED talk video by Kelly McGonigal who talks about something very similar with stress as the focus, instead of pain. How much of our resistance to stress is creating our suffering, not the stress itself? Please if you would like to hear what I believe contains some of the answers check out her talk and hear what Kelly McGonigal has to say about stress.”
Wayne Brown MSW/LMSW
Kelly McGonigal TED Talk – Link