What Creates Stress?
June 30, 2020
All of us experience stress of some sort in life.
Stress is the feeling of helplessness that comes from our inability to cope with circumstances, relationships, expectations.
Multiple factors lead to a feeling of stress and suck the natural energy that we have. At the core, there are three factors that create a negative vortex of pressure and stress.
Your Finances: Money plays a very important role in our life. It helps us experience all the good things in life. Having a decent financial standing is a source of comfort. Therefore, we will feel stress if our income is not enough to cover our core needs or if our expenses are more than our income. In either of the situations, there is a sense of uncertainty and fear that builds up inside us. Unfortunately, we live in a consumeristic society where, in the name of experiencing life, we mortgage our future in terms of loans and debt to enjoy our current life.
I am aware of many youngsters in their thirties who are steeped in debt across multiple credit cards and personal loans. It is never a great strategy to live beyond your natural financial capacity. Those amongst my friends who are least stressed are the ones with no debt. They are emotionally carefree.
When it comes to money matters follow these simple mantras. Earn more than what you need and spend less than what you earn. Also, don’t take loans to fund your lifestyle. It’s not worth it.
Your Benchmarking: The second driver of fear and uncertainty is when we fall into the trap of benchmarking and comparison. It could be at work with colleagues, in a relationship, with family. When we compare what we possess with what others have, it naturally starts creating a sense of imbalance within us. Feelings of jealousy, inadequacy, low self-esteem are all rooted in this habit of benchmarking. We base our self-assessment on how we are doing vis-a-vis someone else.
- He has a Mercedes. I will buy an Audi.
- He became a VP; I also want to be a President.
- She has 2K followers, and I want 5K followers.
- Their child is so talented. Why is my child not performing well?
A comparison of any kind is not helpful. It is better to recognize our potential and operate to our capacity. Don’t live someone else’s life. Try to make your own life on your terms.
Your Expectations: The third driver of stress is our expectations. Simply put, an expectation is a belief that some outcome or event will happen the way you want it to. An expectation is a mental conjecture that you have control over events and people around you.
I’ll illustrate this with an example. I wanted to surprise my wife on one of her birthdays. I felt she would like a particular gift. Thinking that she will be thrilled, I purchased that item and presented it to her. She was very lukewarm. She felt the gift was not needed and a waste of money and I was upset. Why is she not appreciative of my gesture. My wife may not have responded according to my expectation, and it wasn’t her fault. The expectation was in my head, and she was not duty-bound to fulfill my desire, to like what I presented her.
We all build expectations about everything. “I want someone to help me.” “I want my life to be this way.” “I want my partner to support me in all my pursuits.” “My kid should become a doctor” ….Expectations are of two types. Those where you expect something from others and those where others expect something from you. You cannot control either of these, because they are a fiction of your imagination. The more you create expectations, the more stress you build on yourself.
No one ever wishes to operate with stress. It happens without any of us realizing it, surreptitiously. Stress has three very good allies helping it gain entry into our mental home. The way we manage our finances, the way we compare ourselves with others, and the way we create expectations. If you can manage yourself better on these three factors, you will experience little stress!!