Is anything really stressful?

Many in our society feel we’re under constant stress. We often complain about our stressful job, boss, or family obligations. It seems life is just plain stressful.

And all this stress leads to health problems, some seemingly minor (like your sore neck), some life threatening (like heart attacks and stroke).

Stress is a serious problem. Life is stressful, so what can you do about it?

But is life stressful?

I’ve been wondering lately if anything is actually inherently stressful.

According to the Oxford Dictionary, stress is a “state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances.”

So it seems our life situations are not stressful, but demanding. And it’s our reaction to all those demands that causes stress. I think this is an important distinction. If your job is stressful, there’s probably not a whole lot you can change to make it less stressful. You have no choice in the matter! You wind up irritable, wishing for the weekend, and you always have a headache. Under this stress, day after day, year after year, you may develop a serious health condition.

On the other hand, if your job is demanding, you can choose how you respond to those demands. You have power in this situation.

If you asked me a year ago why I got into Massage Therapy as a career, I would have said I had a very stressful job, and I actually injured my wrists typing away frantically, trying to get all of my work done. I felt trapped, like I was being buried by an endless mountain of things to do. When I was at home, I would often be distracted thinking about all the work I didn’t get done the day before. I thought I could escape my stress by getting a less stressful job.

But the thing is, life is demanding, and you can’t just escape it. The truth is I had a serious lack of healthy boundaries and wasn’t equipped to handle my very demanding job. And those same types of things that caused me stress in my old job continued causing stress in my life until I actually took a look at how I was reacting to things.

Stress is very real and can affect the quality of your life. How might things change if you re-framed your stressful situation as a demanding situation and got curious about how to manage the demands?

It’s a simple shift, but I know it’s not easy. The good news is you don’t have to go it alone. I love supporting people who KNOW they need to take better care of themselves to actually do it, because I’ve been there. I know that frustration. But mostly, I truly believe the world needs you to be your best. We need you to show up and be the most amazing version of you — not just another exhausted person dragging yourself through life.

If you’d like to explore what support might look like for you, complete the form below and I’ll be in touch.