Why you’re so stressed and how to stop it

Imagine a lake. A deep, blue, deep blue, quiet lake. Imagine a fish in that lake. A pretty, little, full of energy fish. The fish is yellow with orange and his name is Bob. Bob swims around and he’s full of joy. Bob doesn’t give a single fuck.

Now imagine small pebbles starting to fall in the lake. And they keep falling continually. With great speed and force. And boy there are many.

Bob swims in shallow waters. He feels every pebble. He feels the rippling every pebble makes. The sound, the taste, the smell, the feel of every pebble. He sees every pebble coming at him. He feels the pressure of the volume each pebble moves in the water. He feels the force that drives him down in a swirly wave. Some even hurt him right in his burgundy fins.

He constantly reacts to every pebble. That’s what he does, all his life. Because that takes up all his time. Because he needs to pay attention to everything that happens. He complains to his friends, Alice and Jim that he doesn’t have any time because he needs to avoid getting hurt from pebbles. Or otherwise he will die. Literally (Bob is also a drama queen). He is constantly in flight or fight, responding to stressful situations. Even a soft breeze will turn him over.

One day, Bob has an idea.

What if he goes deeper. He floats like a feather, slowly in the deep lake. He’s on his back, enjoying the ride. Every pebble that falls in the lake slows down with him now. Some get tangled in weeds. Some simply vanish. There are some really big ones that disturb him and he needs to pay special attention to them or he may end up hurt. But a really small percent. Bob is at peace down here. He even wonders why on water did he spend all his life near the surface when down here everything seems perfect.

He looks around.

He realizes that everything is quiet down here. Too quiet. And too dark. Bob becomes scared. There’s nothing familiar and everything can come out at any time. And then, his worst nightmare comes true. Even worse. A big red fish-monster comes out of the weeds. He’s so much bigger than cute, little Bob. He makes terrifying sounds, splashing all the water around him. He has big, sharp teeth. And there are three bigger ones coming. Bob feels terrified. In a flash he’s up, at the surface, even jumping out of the water for just second, flying. He promises to himself he will never go down there. “What was I thinking?” and he gets back to avoiding pebbles, one at a time.

Bob sometimes flirts with the idea of going back in the deep, he misses the calm.

One day he goes for just a second to feel the cold waters. He enjoys the cold waters.

Another day for two.

Another day he watched the monsters from far, far away, for just a couple of seconds .

In others he watched the monsters sleep, eat, pray. One time he watched them play tennis.

He got to know them. Until one day, when the monsters discovered poor little Bob hiding behind a rock. With his big, crying eyes, Bob begged the monsters to spare his life. They all started laughing: “We don’t want to hurt you! Be our friend!”

Bob was confused. But he accepted their friendship. He didn’t have any choice, anyway. They soon became best buddies in the puddle. And they lived happily ever after.

I am Bob. I choose to swim in shallow waters every day and to react to life and every stressful situation. Everybody’s stressful situation. Every drama. I react to everything that happens to me.

The ripples are all my thoughts, feelings and experiences. Pebbles are what’s outside of my control. I constantly choose to live in fear. I choose everyday to put my happiness at the mercy of my environment.

I know that deep down I am just fine. And I will be just fine. Always. But I choose to run every day from pebbles. Because I am too afraid to face my monsters. To become friends with them, to go out on a beer. And that’s ok, I’m not judging myself, I’m just saying.

I’ve experienced going down when a really big, bad pebble happened. I got to the bottom dizzy and not knowing what happened to me. Maybe I can get there in still times as well. And not being so baffled by the big pebble, maybe I can enjoy my time there. Build a colorful coral I can come back to every time I want.

Maybe I’ll find out that I don’t even need to swim at all. Or that I don’t need to be in the lake. Or that I want to be a wizard. That could happen. I may even understand myself. Maybe I’ll have time to listen, when I’m not so busy ditching pebbles.

Have fun swimming! In whichever waters suits you now.

Till next time, xoxo