Much of the discomfort we experience that we call 'stress' is really turf related. Defending turf is a primary instinct for mammals and we are mammals for all our pretensions. In humans 'turf' expands to whatever it is we feel entitled to.
When we allow bullies of any stripe to invade our space, when we allow ourselves to be taken advantage of, or to lose a goody that we had dibs on, our primal gut alarm goes off. But for many people, (1) conditioning, (2) feeling they have to please their environment, and (3) the labels they put on things force them to allow their turf to be invaded. They feel they even have to smile about the intrusion - that the terms of some truce they are agreeing to require them to concede. These are the incidents and these are the times symptoms result from the stress. Symptoms like an ulcer in that gut, an ulcer that invades the wall!--where a wall of turf was breached.
But it isn't the stressor (the incident) per se; it is that we allow what we feel instinctually we shouldn't, that causes the gut-wrenching. (Note: It is what we feel that operates here, regardless of what is factual from an objective, or from another's, point of view.)
Moral cowards suffer a thousand deaths. Making allowances (making excuses) for insufferable people makes us suffer. Sometimes one snarly remark on our own part repeated a few times, or one instance of 'pretending you didn't say that to me,' saves a lifetime of enduring endless mooching, nagging, whining, wheedling, sulking, social aggression, intimidation and manipulations. The point on the video David Riklan made quoting Dr. Phil that 'We teach others how to treat us' was priceless! I will remember that remark forever! Thank you both for that!
But you know what gets me stressed out?--having several things to do, especially when the phone rings on top of that. That stressed-out feeling informs me that I have an instinctual (gut level) assumption that I am entitled (key word) to an orderly progression of events. So stress reduction here would be getting rid of that feeling of entitlement by analyzing it and seeing its inherent silliness. Alternatively, I could arrange my day (or rearrange my life) so interruptions do not arise, so there's no multi-tasking. Of course, with that change would come some other undesirable elements. So I determine, in an internal dialog, that the price of accepting the distractions is worth the benefits. That determination and that acceptance operate to kill the stressed-out feeling because now I have made a conscious choice to allow these moments of chaos. Now I have less resentment. Now that I have analyzed my situation, I can live with it, come to terms with it.
This internal negotiation that I describe here is a dialog between the conscious and the subconscious, to get themselves working together. The subconscious, of course, is instinct. If you listen to this internal dialog of yours by tuning into it and becoming aware of it whenever your gut wrenches, you discover your own idiosyncrasies as I discovered my severe resentment of disruptions. That dialog is going on in you right now. It is yourself talking to yourself, commenting upon and categorizing what is going on; and it hums quietly in the background of consciousness, like white noise. It is there, just tune in, look for it.
Make a distinction between the stressor and the feeling of being stressed-out. This is important. A particular stressor need not make you frantic; it can be reframed, reworked, made light of, shrugged off, laughed at ('There I go again!'), worked around, accepted--the possible antidotes are limitless. But you have to find first the feeling of aggravation and then the dialog, to analyze your way to your solution. Happy hunting!
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