The Root Of Stress

Shop this print created by Alja Horvat  here

Shop this print created by Alja Horvat here

All stress comes from wanting something that's not meant to be yours in that moment. Worry doesn't make anything come faster, it just speeds up your heartbeat and wears you out. Just breathe, what's for you will be for you regardless. 

I realized this was always true for me. Every circumstance that was stressful for me, was rooted in my desire to have a different outcome or feel a different emotion. Even if that desire came from a good place, I let it stress me out, and I know that's the case for a lot of other people too. 

People are simple, we have wants and needs, both of which we want fulfilled as much as possible. Thankfully as you age and become more mature (hopefully more empathetic), you realize you won't always get both of those things. Here's how to calm down your stress, by acknowledging your feelings, processing why you're feeling them, and taking action or accepting what you can't control. 

What can you do? 

Some real world scenarios:

1. You're driving on the highway and the car in front of you is moving so slowly and you realize up ahead there's a traffic jam. You were so close to being early for work and this slow-down could make you late. Your stomach sinks and your body is filled with anxiety. You're feeling anger & frustration at this situation out of your control because you have a desire, a want, to get somewhere quickly and efficiently and it's being interrupted by *stupid* traffic! Take control of your stress and frustration by realizing that you'll be okay, the slow-down could be protecting you from an accident up ahead. Look at the bigger picture and don't let that determine the quality of your day.

2. You're in a relationship with a partner who isn't very ambitious and has different priorities than you. You're frustrated, starting to become resentful and ultimately...stressed. You try to encourage your partner to be more motivated and treat you better, but they don't and now you're chronically stressed about it. In this scenario, you have wants and needs that aren't being met and you're stressed because you've exhausted a lot of options except: realizing your worth. 

If you know you deserve better, you're stressed because you aren't meant to have a relationship with this person who doesn't value you. If you have to beg someone to take care of themselves and meet your needs, don't waste time stressing yourself out wishing they were anything else other than what they are. You can be happy and you're meant to be happy, but you won't find that in a dead end relationship! Alleviate stress by re-evaluating your relationship and why you stay, if your partner has proven to be a certain way: believe them! You can't change people. 

3. The waiting game. No one likes living in situations of uncertainty, like waiting to hear back on a pregnancy test, school application, job, or whatever else. Periods of uncertainty can cause a lot of stress, especially if you try to predict the future and over-prepare yourself for a potential rejection or negative outcome. By trying to live in the future and speed up when you'll get an answer, you're stressing yourself out! You'll have your answer, but not in that moment, find peace in knowing it'll come soon enough and knowing your worth isn't tied to the outcome.

4. Some stress is a lot more serious, like grief, trauma and loss. But the same truth remains: stress is caused by not fully accepting the present which is very normal during bad times. It takes time to mourn and create a new normal.

Allow yourself to feel things that need to be felt during your healing process. Sometimes people get frustrated with themselves after a loss and they start wondering "Why am I not over this yet" or "Why am I not how I was yet", comparing their journey to expectations they have of how they think they should be. Don't compare yourself to others or how you think you aught to feel. There's no time limit to creating a new normal, but don't hesitate to reach out to friends, family, or even a therapist to help you process. Aleviate some stress by not forcing yourself to heal because you'll find out that you can't. You can't heal a broken leg by walking on it, you'll make it worse. Put on the cast and regain your strength day by day.

Sometimes you are meant to be uncomfortable and live in a state of uncertainty. That's one of the worst and best things about life: you won't have clarity at all times or always be able to get a clear explanation of why. Why you didn't get a job, why your friend became ill, why the driver in front of you was so slow. Sometimes you have to be your own closure and find it through your personal growth.

What if you made the radical decision to acknowledge your feelings, but not let them consume you? If you're feeling stressed take action, relax, or accept.