Are You Your Own Source of Stress?

Stress arises if we believe that an excessive amount has been expected of us and that we don’t have any command on the circumstances. For example, most people would feel the pressure of undertaking a tough project at work which had short deadlines at exactly the time our child fell ill. Or how about juggling a school Nativity play with the Christmas shop ahead of the in-laws arriving this evening with an unscheduled trip to the dentist for a chipped tooth?

But I’m guessing that most of us actually put ourselves under too much stress on a daily basis.  And by this I mean stress that is not actually real.  I’m talking about the negative self talk excuses we repeat mantra-like every day to make sure we do not succeed in doing even things that we say we DO want to do.

Why do we sabotage ourselves like this?

How many times have you found yourself using lack of time as an excuse?  Sure there may be a good reason why you cannot do something right now, but do you really think it’s likely that you will NEVER have the time to do it EVER at ANY stage in your future life? No, me neither.  After all, we all seem to find enough time to do the things we really want to do, like watch the television, or take our kids to football, ballet, parties, music classes etc. 

So what’s going on?

I think there are several reasons why we continually make excuses for not doing things we really want to do. 

Firstly, maybe we do NOT actually want to do what we think we do.  Maybe we just think we OUGHT to.  If this is the case, then stop stressing about it.  Admit that you don’t want to do it, and move on.

Secondly, we DO actually want to do it but secretly or subconsciously feel scared that doing whatever will set us apart, or alienate us from our friends and loved ones.  Being part of the in-crowd, or peer pressure, is a powerful motivator and, if it works to keep you in a little life when you dream of flying, then it is also a powerful suppressor.  If this is the case, then you need to judge carefully what is more important for you in the long run. 

To do this, imagine where you will be in 10 years time and you have NOT done whatever it is.  How do you feel?  Is there a knot in your stomach and do you feel regret and longing?  If so, then you need to figure out how you are going to achieve your dreams because living with the stress of under achievement will make you ill as you resent your friends and loved ones in the long run.

Thirdly, we DO actually want to do this thing but secretly or subconsciously we feel that WE are not worthy of the success of whatever would result.  This is  the most serious kind of self sabotage because your excuses are holding you hostage.  You will feel stressed as you increasingly find displacement activities – activities that you do instead of whatever you know you should be doing. 

In this case it is crucial that you stop the negative self talk that you are probably using to make your excuses.  I’m talking about things like, “I don’t have time..”, “No-one will want to listen to me”, or “I don’t deserve this” and so on.  In this case, look inside yourself and figure out why you are using negative self talk and address THIS issue. Positive affirmations are very useful if you need to change your mindset but you do need to use them, stick them up and say them out loud to yourself.  

When reinforced through constant repetition the subconscious accepts positive affirmations as true and then makes them reality.  The same is true of excuses and negative self talk presented to the subconscious over and over again.  So why not choose to make your self talk positive?  Use positive affirmations and you will be more empowered, make your dreams a reality and lower your stress.

Self Esteem Boosted Through Pig Interaction

[ad name=”HTML”]This article by Sally Marks is wonderfully inspiring.  I hope you enjoy the sentiments as much as I did….

“I went for a stroll last night.  I thought I was alone, but I wasn’t.  As I walked down the sidewalk I heard the sound of munching.  I assumed that some type of critter was enjoying an evening meal.  It was dark and I wasn’t wearing my glasses, so I didn’t bother looking around.  I just ambled toward the community mail box with my Visa payment in hand, ignored my surroundings, and let my brain cycle through its thoughts.

For the most part I enjoy my little musings, just like I enjoy my dreams.  But every once in a while my mind gets stuck on an idea or situation that annoys me, and I have trouble shaking loose from it.  I was chanting, “Nam Myoho Renge Kyo” and reciting a few affirmations regarding my upcoming book, Erase Negativity and Embrace the Magic Within.  In spite of my efforts, a few errant concepts were buzzing around like flies.  I shooed them away, but they kept returning, ready to spread their filth on my cleaner intentions.

Part of the annoyance is my impatience with getting my book published.  I know that messages of optimism and hope are badly needed, but book publishers have their own agenda and timeline.  They say later and I say “NOW!”  Normally I’m a patient individual, but I am human and I have my limits.  Part of my problem is I veered a bit off course with my original intention.  The sole purpose of writing the book was to help people, but somewhere along the line, my self esteem got involved in the mix.  Every day that I encountered a setback, rejection, or no response at all – I’d get frustrated, angry, or worst of all – sad.

I was making a mistake that I lecture others about – looking outside oneself for validation and acceptance.  In my lapse of judgment, I was feeling like a failure because publishers were not jumping up and down to publish my book.  The problem is I have no control over what others think or do.  If I had good news, I felt great. Bad news and I was upset.  This is a very defeating way to look at things because I was handing over my happiness to the whim of others.  That’s like handing the car keys over to an impaired driver and then getting upset when the car comes back with a dent.

Fortunately, I know better than to indulge in a pity party.  Been there, done that, and I know how the story goes.  So instead, I reviewed this excerpt from the book (written by my co-author, Jackie.)

One of the greatest lessons a person must learn is acceptance of self, or taking  total responsibility for one’s own thoughts, works and actions. This means maturity and loving yourself, filling yourself up with joy. When you have done this, acceptance is no longer an issue nor is it important. You have made peace within you and the world around you. You like the person you are just as you are.

Louie Pasqual, an 18th century philosopher once said “I am concerned about Western man because he could not be alone with himself in an empty room.” In effect, this means we need to go inside ourselves and find our acceptance, peace, joy and love and learn to connect with the power within ourselves. Until we are able to do this, we will never truly be happy and whole. This is what releasing negativity is about, starting the joinery to find the joy within. The only way to do this is change the way we think and perceive the world and people around us. Accepting the only path that can be changed and improved is through your own efforts and not the opinion of others.

Back to my stroll (you thought I really wandered off topic didn’t you?)  As I was walking back home, a car was driving slowly by and came to a halt.  I thought they were going to ask me for directions.  Instead, they asked if I saw the herd of javelina that was in the desert basin.  I realized that I had walked by the beasts, but was so intent on my thoughts, that I hadn’t seen them.  And it wasn’t one or two of the critters – there was a whole herd – mothers and babies, happily munching on the desert fauna.

I was so caught up in my thoughts (and many of them unhappy thoughts at that!) that I was oblivious to a wondrous sight (and maybe even a potentially dangerous one).

The bottom line is I am more than my back account, my career, my writing, my family and any number of things that I use to identify myself.  There are wonderful things right in front of my face that I can choose to see, or ignore.  There is a saying that we can see the moon that is thousands of miles away, but cannot see our own eyebrows without a mirror.  The same is true about our inner beauty.

How ironic that it was a stranger in a car and a herd of wild pigs that helped me see the hidden treasure that was there all along.”


Sally Marks is the president of Marks Public Relations and the co-author of the self-help book, Erase Negativity and Embrace the Magic Within. Check out her blog at   Article Source: