Stress can be all consuming, altering who we are, how we act, and what we set out to do in life. Some people have it easy and rarely are nervous about things, while others suffer from anxiety every day. Whatever the case may be, stress can become a burden and an oppressive dictator.
I recently came across a New York Times article on anxiety in the United States that discusses the causes of anxiety and the most prevalent types of stress searched in Google. I got to thinking about all the typical and predictable causes of stress versus those that are a little more, shall we say intangible. We all are familiar with the stress of school, work, commuting, and familial/social pressure. What I find to be more of a mystery is why do we stress about being stressed. Perhaps this is a form of anxiety that has grown over time, creating a ball of nerves in our stomach. I know, all too well, the feeling of stressing about future situations. Sometimes after I finish a large assignment I almost instantaneously begin to worry about the several upcoming. I know this to be my never ending stress cycle.
What about the times when there is nothing troublesome looming in the future, what causes anxiety when there is nothing nerve wracking in sight? Why stress then? I believe that sometimes we find ourselves worrying about nothing because we know the feeling of being stressed all too well. It becomes hard to break the habit of constantly stressing over our career, our future, our kids, our parents, our obligations, our fears. There are times where I find myself biting my nails for no apparent reason. Stressful habits can subconsciously take control in moments where stress should be the last thing we are thinking about.
Whenever I feel overwhelmed I try to make a to do list and physically check things off the list as I finish them. For some strange, but relieving reason, there is something comforting about crossing items off the list. I have always been a stressful person, but so are the rest of my family members. It is something that I can’t get rid of, but I can manage. Over the years I have become more aware of times where I am stressed for no good reason. In these moments I try to remove the fear, which usually is all in my mind, and move past it. There are so many situations where stress seeps in that it is important to eliminate it when you can.
It is unfortunate that there is always something you can stress about, but I think the key word here is can. We choose where we place our stress, and what we waste our time worrying about. I can understand anxiety is a real and sometimes unavoidable feeling, but bringing it into life just to stress about the idea of being stressed, is something no one should have to deal with. There is enough to worry about, so as hard as it is, don’t go to that deeper, philosophical level and stress about the idea of the matter in itself.