Stress Management In A Creative Sense
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We live in a world where change is continual and stress is inevitable. We have to learn to cope with what life throws at us, to adapt and grow through experiences. Our goal post constantly evolves with time, from school to university to work to family life. There is competition everywhere and we have to strive to hold our place to succeed in getting what we want. The pressure takes a toll on us, leading us to live in anxiety at the cost of happiness.
As science progresses, the knowledge, gadgets and conveniences available to us are expanding to make life easier. We have access to better food, a better lifestyle, better medicines, better connectivity and information from across the world. We can order anything online by literally talking to the smartphone. This advancement in science and diversity in choices, does it make our life better or clutters our life to stress?
What is stress?
Stress is the body’s response to its surroundings. Our body perceives we are under threat and it does everything it knows to protect us. If one sees a snake outside one's door, The body quickly reacts and goes on a fight or flight mode, and in this case, flight works best. The interesting part is, our body does not have the capacity to distinguish a real threat from a perceived threat. If we mistake a rope for the snake, that is enough for our body to go into that defensive mode. It increases our heart rate, makes our blood rush to our limbs, so they are ready to run. The brain is not given time to wait and analyze the difference between a rope and a snake. It comes with a cost. If we were to differentiate our brains into two parts: the defensive and creative side, this defensive reaction is at the cost of the creative side of our brain. If the stressor was a real snake, then our reaction is, in fact, a life saver.
How Many Times in Life is our Perceived Stressor a Real Snake?
The moment we get up, we are in auto mode. Running to work, rushed breakfast, thinking about the monster boss, excessive work eating away our gym time and planning how to get to the next level beating competition. We come back home and we continue to engage with our smart-phones, ordering food online, browsing through social media checking the latest news and trends, trying to balance family and social life as well. There is so much to do in just one day. Does it make us happy? Is this want we really want? Are these time-consuming technologies the real snake?
Over time, being stressed becomes a natural phenomenon to us and we persistently work hard to achieve the lifestyle we aspire to live. We want to relish the simple things and appreciate life as it comes but, things do not always go as planned and that engenders stress in us. Fear is one of the main causes of stress. “What if my boss does not like my presentation? What if my kid is a failure in life? What if… Fear of failure, fear of rejection perhaps. Often the good things in life are on the other side of fear. Taking that pause, a step back, a few deep breaths, gives us the space to examine our lives. This slowing down and re-examining how we look at life, gives our brain an opportunity to tap the creative side.
If your boss did not appreciate your presentation, instead of getting defensive, take a step back and examine why. Did the boss have a point there? Did he miss something you saw? What if you have a conversation with him about it? Will choosing the right time and words help? Did he understand the context? What if the boss still does not see your point?
Sometimes we can enable change with our imaginative thought process and simplifying situations rather than overanalyzing them. Sometimes things around us may not change but, our higher cognitive process can help to channel positive energy which in turn enhances our outlook on life. By learning from what did not work, and acceptance of it all helps us to shift from living our lives in resentment to recognizing new opportunities and seeking excitement in challenges.