Is Stress Within Or Without?

Stress Within Or Without“The truth is that stress doesn’t come from your boss, your kids, your spouse, traffic jams, health challenges, or other circumstances. It comes from your thoughts about your circumstances.”     Andrew Bernstein, author

“One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one’s work is terribly important.”     Bertrand Russell

“When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure.”     Peter Marshall, Scottish clergyman,

“You must learn to let go. Release the stress. You were never in control anyway.”     Steve Maraboli,

We all discuss stress everyday and at any given moment we are wiling to either offer sympathy for another person’s problems or we want to divulge our own issues and garner support. Perhaps that is why social media is so intriguing because it offers all kinds of aid. We can dump problems on the pages of social media and await a generous supply of replies from  others. Likewise we hope to offer them the same kind of help when they are feeling the pressures of life.

What are our pressures? How can we alleviate them or lessen them? How do we live a simple existence? Where do all of the anxieties of life come from? Why do we believe our burdens are so much worse than someone else’s? How can we be happy and release the worries?

There are so many more thoughts and questions running through our minds on any given day. We want answers and search for solutions and become overwhelmed when we can’t find the answers to our questions. Even social media doesn’t usually offer answers. They likely offer kind remarks and a quick pep talk. That is a kind thing to do especially when we might not have all of the hidden facts of a problem to actually give a profound answer.

At times I feel like the support we receive alleviates some anxieties almost like a steam kettle gets relief from getting the valve opened up and allowing the steam to escape. It works but only for a while because if we keep it on the burner it only whistles again for relief. I see our lives running in similar fashion where we keep our hearts minds and bodies on the hot plate and just receive respite now and again when the tension is too much to bear and keep within.

We have a tremendous amount of work to accomplish on any given day. There are appointments, games for children to attend homework jobs studying household tasks and family business that must be attended to. There are phone calls to make people to please and jobs to attend to which have been put off long enough. There are family affairs to attend and people to talk to. Does that give anyone else a headache because I have barely touched the surface of our overloaded schedules and already feel tired and overwhelmed.

Honestly there is much we place on our plates that we worry about needlessly. Lots of things time alone can handle. Deep down are we truly concerned with every missed phone call or are we stressed about appearances. Thoughts pertaining to how we will be perceived if we don’t do this or that worry us. Family members did this for me and now I must return the favor or I will appear to be the jerk. If I can’t finish this thing my wife or husband will think either I didn’t  care or I have become a slacker. My co-workers manage to leave from work mostly on time while I’m always left finishing my items for the day. What is wrong with me? If I complain it will appear I am incompetent. If I continue I will be at work for longer and longer hours.

We begin to ponder such thoughts as, I don’t have the money or support that another has to get plans for my house accomplished.  Some items will have to wait. They don’t know how lucky they are. My life is unfolding in ways I never exactly planned and now I am not sure where it is I am going. I thought I would be this far advanced in my career and in my life but I have barely left the gate. My neighbors make it seems so easy to get things done. They are lucky because they probably don’t have to check in as much I as do or they don’t have the same commitments that I have. I’ve had more than my share of loss and health issues and some people seem to escape the hardships. This rendition probably sounds familiar. We all have faith that we are behind in our tasks and in life.

I have been there and done that with getting caught up in my own life and emotional problems perceived with my own looking-glass. The more I reflect the more I can see my false attitude towards my own crises and the crises of others. Studying anyone’s life allows us to understand it is filled with side steps and obstacles as well as times to rejoice. I am sure most of us love the joyful times and would love to have them more often.

As hard as it is I found it necessary to review my concern over the negative problems in my life rather than the accomplishments and joys. The more I focused on what was wrong the more I understood why my life appeared to be depressing. My jobs seemed more difficult to manage and overtook the thinking. At times I was left with a job schedule rather than a life. It lead me to challenge what my life was all about and what were burdens and what were drains and liabilities. I began to understand that some of my troubles were my perceived millstones regarding people and inconveniences.

I was working towards attaining what other people’s anticipations were for me. what I might accomplish from their perspectives were out of sync with reality. I decided my life should be lived with wisdom. We possibly use our loves and friendships as security blankets. Somehow it makes us feel untouchable from pain. We lament a loss of life yet it really is our loss that pains us. It reflects and diminishes our own life. I know none of us can totally diminish all of the stress from our lives. I also am aware now that the majority of our stress fear and anxiety is from within and from our own mindsets and points of view. We refuse to let others off of the hook and we most definitely won’t allow ourselves to be free. Such containment and misconceptions about life renders all of us drained anxious and unable to cope.

burdens are from the expectations of what others want or what we believe they want. There are deviations in reality here. Whatever notions I may have thought about others were perhaps off base. Outlooks they perceived about me were also likely wrong. There was a relief from many weights which occurred when I came to the realization that much of my worries were of my own creation.

As I began peeling back the layers I understood that most of the millstones were generated from  my own thoughts. Most of us choose to compete in the difficult world. We want to gain attention, make money influence others be held in high esteem and make a statement of importance. We enjoy the competition, like to impress and strive for what the world perceives as having made it. I questioned my notions of what that meant and discovered everyone had some similar ideas and some varying notions.

Such grandiose expectations are coming from within not from without. Most people honestly are not worrying about how big your car is or even if you own one. We are all too busy discussing and agonizing over our own lives and where we are heading. Young people worry about making it work for the spouse and kids while older people worry about retirement. We just can’t stop agonizing long enough to enjoy the life we have. Simply put we live in a future period of time. we must resolve to be over and done with any  expectations for others or for ourselves.

We likely haven’t let others down. We may have disappointed ourselves and our anticipation of dreams coming true. Perhaps many of our dreams do come true but are overlooked by our huge hopes and prospects. In the end we derive no pleasure from anything. That is what is sad. Finding hope faith and love from within is crucial to living a happy life. The outside world will never deliver. Enough needs to be enough if one wants to be happy. We can’t dwell on what we want but on what we have.

First find the peace from within by seeing life as it is rather than how you would like it to be. Don’t keep searching for the things you won’t find. Cherish the riches and pearls within your reach that are priceless. All or most of us know that pearls are made from irritation and strife over a long time. I see similarities to our family and friends. They may irritate and annoy us and  expect our support over the long haul of living. But in the end we discover the treasure we never knew was there. Suddenly the precious life we are living becomes a vital significant jewel we should respect. Our lives are filled with so much more happiness than we ever believed possible.

Our happiness and feelings come from within as we discover the full meaning of living. It may never be what we anticipated or expected but it is a life well lived and full to capacity with what counts in life. The sooner one discovers the faith hope and love within the quicker we stop searching to find it without. Stress is relieved and worries are more inconsequential. Life lightens, moods improve, jealousy  and anger diminishes and  opens up the door for love to grow. My favorite phrase is “Keep it simple.”

“Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.”     Chinese proverb

“To experience peace does not mean that your life is always blissful. It means that you are capable of tapping into a blissful state of mind amidst the normal chaos of a hectic life.”     Jill Botte Taylor,

“If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.” —Amit Ray

“The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.”     Sydney J. Harris

“Do not anticipate trouble or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight.”     Benjamin Franklin

“When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened happened.”      Winston Churchill

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