Stress is one of the major causes of death in our country. It can lead to heart attacks, mistakes at a work place, car accidents and so on. Often it will inhibit our sleep patterns, thus sleep depriving us and making our day seem so much more difficult. It is also a leading cause for addictions, which inevitably ruin or end lives.
Some stress is caused by health issues, be they physical or mental. Often people will try to “buck up” when it comes to their personal health. This is a very Eastern European attitude toward the body and, especially, the mind. People who are ill are often thought of as “less than” or as somehow weak in comparison to those who just happen to be healthy. This is systemic and needs to change. How we view people who are ill needs to incorporate much more compassion overall. Instead of, for example, making fun of a guy who has the “man flu”, it would be much wiser to help him get back on his feet. This does not mean to berate him about being sick, or to shame him by saying things like, “Women can be sick and THEY don’t collapse into a puddle”. Science has already found that there are flu organisms that are intelligent enough to hit males HARD to kill them off as fast as possible, but they see females as potential food sources that will produce other food sources through procreation. Thus they hit the females less hard than they do the males. So yes, men can get much sicker faster, but that does not mean that they are being babies about being ill. And when it comes to chronic illness and disease, these things stress the body harder than anything, but over a much longer and drawn out period of time.
Some stress is about worry. How we manage our worries will affect how much stress our bodies feel. Managing worry has a lot to do with our mindset as a person. It is important to remember that worry does nothing to create a better tomorrow and does everything to rob us of a happier today. I remember before I had children thinking to myself, “Do I really want to bring any children into this messed up world? How will I protect them? How will I be able to teach them how to stay safe when dangers keep increasing exponentially and I can hardly keep myself safe?” Although I am glad that I did have children, I would be lying if I tried to say that I wanted to in the beginning. At that time my X’s biological clock was ticking to the point where it was sounding in her system like a battering ram slamming against the front door. So it was actually more her decision to procreate than it was mine. Years later, I still wonder (not worry) if we have prepared our children well enough for the world in which we live. Then I ask myself, “Really, WHO can?”
There are so many things that are out of our control in the world. Politicians are out of our control. Media is out of our control. Social media is out of our control. Germs and Viruses are out of our control. Biological warfare is out of our control. The Banking system is out of our control. Pretty soon everything we have to eat will be out of our control. So what do we do when we realise just how much of our lives we have absolutely NO CONTROL over?
We let go. Letting go does not mean to not care. It means to release the tension and stress that is being caused by the illusion that we have any influence whatsoever over what is happening. We turn, instead, to finding the things in life, small as they may be, that bring us joy and fulfillment. These things may be in the form of hobbies and interests, they may be in the form of connections with friends and family, they may be in the form of the satisfaction of what we are able to accomplish at work. You will know when you have found that thing for yourself because, while you are doing it, time flies by. One minute you look at the clock and see that it is 1:00 pm. The next you look up and it is 4:30 pm. Where did that time go? It went right into happiness. It went into fulfillment. It went into something that sparks passion within you. It went into whatever it is that you were doing that alleviated, for a moment, the worries and concerns that you have in life. It gave you a well-earned break from it all.
As we let go, we tend to find that it gets more and more easy to do so. Some will initially say things like, “Oh, that is easier said than done!”, but what they are really saying is that they have no intent to even try. Once a person does give it a try and notices the difference that it makes, it becomes something that they want to do time and time again. And soon, very soon, they won’t even have to try at all. It will come very naturally. It will become an organic part of the psyche. And it will keep you in the moment, which is the only valid reality.
Soon we begin to not only have this as a daily way of being, but we also begin to notice that it gets easier to discern what we choose to put our energies into. Those things that bring us stress will be filtered out of our lives pretty darn quickly. Those things that bring us joy will be incorporated on a much deeper and more regular manner. Yes, we will still have rent and mortgages to pay. But those things will no longer be the main focus in our minds. Instead they will become the secondary things that we just respond to when we need to. The scales come back into balance and, as a result, we are able to live a more fulfilling life. But first, we must know that we have control over absolutely NOTHING other than what goes on within ourselves on an emotional level. On a physical level, seeing as how we all exist within a biological meat suit that reacts and responds to all sorts of bacteria and virus overloads, we can only control so much. Everything else is just part of the experience of being on this planet. And not only do we have no control over other things and other people, but we also find that stop seeking to have the control. This makes us relax more thoroughly into our lives and actually enjoy the ride.
This does not mean that we need to not become proactive about certain social and political issues. But we also do not need to become consumed by the issues to the point where we cannot even have a decent normal conversation with someone without it blowing up into a lecture or an argument over that about which we think we are being passionate, when in actuality we are becoming a loud mouthed asshole. Keep things in perspective. Yes, share your opinions on things. Definitely inform and educate wherever you can. But do so graciously. You don’t have to assume ANYTHING about the other person’s perspective and just jump on them as though they are automatically your opponent in a fight to the death. Be kind. Be gentle. Be the best person you can be. Before you know it, you will have so many on your side in your efforts to create social and political changes that you won’t even be able to believe how that came to be. It is precisely because of the existence of that self control that all of this becomes possible.