I would like to share an observation I made when was at a social meeting the other day. Almost everyone talked about stress. Most people didn’t have any problems identifying their source of stress: There was no shortage of problematic teenagers who either were on drugs, truant, or absolutely diabolical to their parents, husbands were overworked and came home from work late, work, housework, mortgages, young children, old children, fall-out with in-laws, the earthquake situation in Christchurch … the list was endless – and I didn’t even mention stress people experience because of past traumatic experiences that intrude into their daily lives.
Stress-free in an instant
The conventional treatment recommendation for stress is: Bang your head here! Maybe not literally, but as an analogy, stressed people are advised to take this, do that, breathe, visualise, change their environment, change job, take time out, go on holiday, ….. the list is as endless as there are people. If nothing helps you can go on antidepressants or worse on anti-anxiety medication. I read in the New Zealand Herald last year that job-stress in Australia costs $950 million per year.
You can see that there is a universal agreement that stress is caused by environmental circumstances, or better, by circumstances that are outside of a person’s control. Well, I am going to put the fox amongst the chickens by proposing, that this is completely wrong. On top of that, thinking that the cause is outside of people’s control is also the reason that stress is not getting any less but increases all the time. Simply because life will throw difficult situations at all of us. From pimples in the late teens to arthritis in the early sixties, difficult situations will occur. Wouldn’t it be better to deal with the cause of stress rather than with each individual incident? I am pleading against my own economical interest here because the current stress theory provides people like me (therapists, counsellors, coaches, and all sorts of alternative ‘health’ professionals) with a steady flow of clients.
A new paradigm
I would like to introduce the notion that stress is caused by each individual through their thinking process, thus from the inside-out and NOT through circumstances and things thus not from the outside-in. The bad news about that is that people are causing their own stress – the good news is, once people understand how they produced stress in their mind, it is within their control to change that in an instant! Wouldn’t that be desirable?
Stay tuned for the next part of this article! PLEASE