It can manifest itself slowly, and maniacally propagate its way into every fiber of your existence. Or it can just suddenly snap into power, sometimes a power so great you can barely contain yourself. Regardless, the magnitude by which it exists and controls your mental psyche, is entirely up to you.
Stress is a choice!
Many would immediately reject this notion, “Why would anybody choose to stress out?” I find this to be an incredibly valid question and one I think we should all ask ourselves again and again. Is there a problem in your life? If the answer is no, then no need for stress. If the answer is yes, then ask yourself this; Is there something you can do about it? Yes… then why stress? No… then why stress?
Stress comes to be, only when things don’t seem to be going according to plan. The result and/or situation is not what you intended, the deadline is approaching, someone else is not pulling their weight. The actual problem here lies in the fact that we all constantly attach ourselves to this concept of a plan, but that’s a topic for another day. Let’s say we do have a plan, a good one, but somehow things just aren’t totally working out the way they were supposed to. A naturally occurring human emotion, stress will arise within the self, but what happens next is up to us. On one hand you can remain attached to your plan, attempting to manipulate its components back in to some form of order. Stressing out more and more the further and further you get from the way things were supposed to be. Or, you can choose to ditch the plan. You can choose to accept your reality, and to develop a new plan of action, congruent with the parameters of this new situation. The faster you ditch the previous plan, the less stress you will incur.
Here is where presence comes into play. If you are truly present, you can not possibly be stressed. The situation simply is what it is. If you do not have any form of an expectation for what the moment should look like, then you can not be disappointed. You will find no need for stress!
All fine and dandy in the form of words, but what about real life Jono? I know, trust me, shit can be really stressful sometimes! In fact I’ve recently shared two stories (A weekend in Koh Chang- Part 1 & Angels in Boracay) that focus primarily on the stress factor of the travel life. But if you give those stories a read, you may find one significant commonality. The moment that I accepted my reality for what it was, and chose to let go of the previous plan, everything somehow magically worked out in my favor. A constantly recurring theme in my life.
So I challenge you! Next time you find yourself in a stressful situation, acknowledge it and attempt to, if even only briefly, step outside of it. Ask yourself, “Do I really WANT to be stressed out right now?” As I would assume the answer is going to be “No”, then choose not to be. Accept your reality for what it is, and try to come to terms with the fact that ultimately, it’s not up to you. Acknowledge the lessons learned, with the intent of application in future endeavors. Brainstorm, develop, and initiate your new plan. But allow yourself to understand that right here and right now, the only thing you actually have any control over, is how you have chosen to let yourself feel about the current moment.