Stress is misunderstood by almost everyone.
The main reason people have trouble managing, let alone eliminating stress in their lives is that they don’t really understand what it is and where it comes from. To make matters worse–actually, far worse–the supposed experts give them advice that, while it may in some cases have positive effects, is like digging a tunnel with a teaspoon. It can even be counterproductive.
This is one reason why stress has become a major problem in the national landscape of both mental and physical health. It’s causes are generally attributed to “lifestyle” and behaviors, with little or no regard for internal mental and psychological factors. This is the primary reason that conventional efforts to curb stress are largely ineffective.
Sometimes it’s because people simply don’t do as they have been advised to do. Other times it’s because their lives don’t seem to provide them with the resources (time, money, opportunity) to follow the suggestions they have been given. Regardless, even if there were a one-size-fits-all pill you could take that would zap stress once and for all with no negative side effects, it would be useless if you didn’t take it. On the other hand, maybe the reason people don’t do what they are told is that, consciously or unconsciously, they know at some level that it won’t help anyway.
As you can see from the first graph, all of the supposed causes of stress are judged to be true by between roughly half and three quarters of the population, at least for themselves (These graphs are based on data collected by the American Psychological Association in collaboration with Harris Online.). You will notice that all of the causes listed are based on physical circumstances, most of an exterior nature (e.g., work, housing, etc.). These are the questions that were asked, and the answers that were recorded.
The second graphic shows the methods most often used to manage stress. They fit nicely with the causes listed in the image on the right. Of the twenty activities listed, only three have any relationship to one’s inner state. These are: prayer, meditation and yoga, and seeking help from a mental health professional. All the others are activities in the outside world.
These facts demonstrate clearly that there is a powerful, and at times exclusive, bias toward externalizing both the causes and remedies of stress, with little or no consideration of the individual’s inner reality. And therein lies the folly.
So the question then becomes, what is the real source of stress, what means are available to alleviate it, and how can these be applied by ordinary people? The ideal solution would:
- not take a lot of time.
- cost little or no money.
- not require the intervention of anyone else.
- begin to be effective almost immediately (though it would likely take a while to reach full potential).
- in the end it would turn your stress problem into a valuable ally that would help you to improve the overall quality of your life in a variety of ways.
Most people could easily agree with the first four of the above criteria, but the last one might cause them to say, “Hey wait a minute! An ally? I just want to get rid of my stress, not make friends with it.” Now I’m not suggesting that you have to snuggle up with your stress like Siamese twins. But I am saying that it can be transformed from an enemy that interferes with and erodes the quality of your life, into a tool that you can use to actually add to the quality of your life in unanticipated ways. And that in turn might make you want to call it a friend.
How is this miracle performed? Well, first of all, it’s not a miracle, any more than flipping a light switch is. But to Abraham Lincoln, it might have seemed like one, because he didn’t understand how such things work. The same is true of stress. If you don’t understand what it is, how it got that way, and how to change it, the mystery prevails. And it can be daunting.
If, however, you begin to see things differently, the way they really are, then what was opaque becomes more and more transparent, and soon you start changing from a slave to your stress into its master, and at that point it becomes a valuable tool.
How do you gain the understanding needed to make such a dramatic transition? You can begin right now-immediately–by signing up for this free email course called Transforming Your Stress into an Ally. You will receive eight emails, once a day, each with a lesson on how to reframe your view of, and relationship with, the stresses in your life, their sources, and their solutions.
Will this provide the proverbial “magic bullet?” Probably not, at least not immediately. But it can provide immediate improvement if you simply apply it. Some time will be required to learn to apply what you will learn to the places in your life where it is most needed. How much time is up to you. The more you put into it, the quicker your improvement will be. But you will at the very least be off on the right foot, perhaps for the first time. After that, it’s up to you to apply yourself to the task.
So what do you have to lose? If you decide it isn’t your cup of tea, you can cancel at any time. Or you could just ignore the remaining emails. I sincerely hope you don’t do either one of those. It is my fervent wish for you that you will not only finish the course, but continue to put what you have learned there to work for you to make wonderful changes to your life.
So what are you waiting for? Just tell me your name and where to send the emails and click the “I want to get started now!” button. Imagine living without stress. Wouldn’t that be a great relief? 🙂