Do you ever feel like stress is conquering you especially now with the COVID pandemic? Do you ever feel hounded by one stressful situation after another given the many major issues we are confronted with daily? Does stress take over your life and make you feel out of control?
Does managing stress seem impossible? Unfortunately, this is the situation for most of us most of the time. Although there is much beyond our control, there are some things we can do to reduce stress but we have to understand the conditions that create it.
What Are The Causes Of Stress?
There are several causes of stress:
- the environment we live in. This type of stress includes weather, daily life challenges and relationships.
- the cultural conditions we live in and the expectations we are expected to meet, realistic or not.
- our own minds and how we process our environmental issues and cultural challenges.
- how we feel about ourselves by how well we are able to handle and cope with the above.
What Causes The Causes Of Stress?
This is the million dollar question:
- there is the metaphysical answer, that our sense of ourselves as separate creates a lot of our pain and it is true. however, no matter how aware you are of the metaphysical truth, you still need to deal with the realities of daily life.
- there is the evolutional answer. We evolved from an animal past where survival was fragile and uncertain and so we learned to see the world and others as a threat, which in many ways was true. Our brain and memories bear the marks of our past.
- there is the cultural answer. As we evolved the prefrontal cortex of our brains developed and with it more complex reasoning and social structures. Unfortunately those social structures have often been power and status driven rather than well-being driven. They have created class and economic structures that have resulted in many people not having their basic needs met.
The Stress Management Challenge
All of the human living models to date have been short-sighted and survival oriented based on our knowledge and needs. The human race is a work in progress.
Managing Stress Better
I think the trick to managing stress better is to come to terms with current human ways of life and combine it with a more humane approach.
It looks like this:
- embrace your limitations. Limitations have acquired a bad reputation but they are one of the most important keys to sane living. Embrace yours to gain not only a measure of freedom but also feel more kindly toward your fellow humans.
- identify your real needs. Knowing what you really need rather than your wants which are not the same will help you get control over your life.
- identify your important necessary commitments and let go of all others. When you do this you are able not only to take better care of yourself but also give more to your commitments which creates improvements in your life.
- start taking very good care of yourself. Great self care is a wonderful way to improve your mood and enjoy life more.
- be as gracious as you can to others suffering from stress without doing unnecessary harm to yourself.
- take time to discover what is really important to you. When you spend time on what you really care about you are naturally happier and more giving. Everyone benefits.
- make gradual changes in the direction of your greatest happiness.
The more you get a handle on your necessities and real obligations the more you will be able to reduce stress in your life and free yourself to focus on what is most important to you and what brings you the most joy.