Added Stress

Sometimes we add our stress to our lives. And I’m not talking about a little either. Sometimes we literally cause ourselves suffering. In fact, I’d venture to say we do it most of the time.

Let’s say you are driving on the highway and someone cuts you off. Now you have two choices in this scenario, let it go or get pissed off about it.

If you let it go, no harm, no foul. You go on about your day and you even forget it happened.

However, if you choose to get angry, what happens? You honk your horn. You then proceed to cussing them out or trying to cut them off too. You give them an evil stare. You maybe even flip them off. Hopefully in all of this you don’t cause an actual accident. You then go to work upset because someone was “an asshole on the freeway”.

You go into work and tell your colleagues how this “dumb asshole” cut you off. In doing this, you remind yourself of your frustration and effectively spread it to someone else. You may even remind yourself and other people about it a few more times.

All the while, your blood pressure has risen. Your cortisol levels go up to. You feel unhappy. It bleeds into your work performance and your relationships. You might even take it home. All because of an incident that lasted a couple seconds.

This goes to anything in life. We need to analyze the incidents that upset us and really address the responses we have to them.

Here are some questions we can ask ourselves to understand if we are the root of our suffering.

Does an incident that lasted a few seconds or minutes affect us for a whole day or more?

Does a situation that only affects a tiny portion of our life take up a huge space in our mind?

Do our expectations of how things should be ruin the experience of how they really are?

If the answer is yes to any of these questions (which it probably is to some degree for everyone), we need to address our responses to life’s events.

Some ways of improving our experience are as follows:
  • If something upsets you, ask yourself why it upsets you and what’s the long term impact for choosing to let it go or addressing it.
  • If you must address it, seek ways to understand the situation or stimulus as much as possible before coming to a judgment about it.
  • When addressing it, try to put yourself in the other persons shoes. This will cause you to see them as an equal or the situation as something you could have had blame in. Anger then subsides and logic takes over.

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