Friday
February
27
2015
9:51 pm
Weather

  Home
  Local News
  State / National / World
  Sports
  Opinion / Letters
  Business
  Arts / Entertainment
  Lifestyle
  Obituaries
  Calendar
  Submit Event
  Comics / Games
  Classifieds
  DJ Designers
  Archives
  Advertise With Us
  About Us
 
 
 
 
Stress and our beliefs
April 30, 2014, 05:00 AM By Dorothy Dimitre

“I think my life is trying to tell me something, but I don’t have time to listen.” — Ashleigh Brilliant.

As I mentioned in my March 20 column, “Spring Break,” among other monthly designations, April is “Stress Awareness Month.” So, on this last day of April, I offer the following:

Whether stress is produced by something environmental (the weather, noise, other people) or more commonly by our mental processes (frustration, hostility, achievement, excitement), the response is similar. Our bodies gear up for flight or fight, but it is up to us how upset we become and how we handle stress.

We can use the energy created by stress as a precursor to motivation and creativity, or as a heavy weight that can drag us into illness. We also have the choice of keeping the physical response to environmental stresses from becoming exaggerated. It depends on how we think about the situation, and how we think depends basically on our belief system. As William James once wrote: “The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.”

Think about two types of people who have extreme belief systems that lead to severe chronic stress. They are those who think they have to be in control all of the time and those who let other people do their thinking for them. Both kinds of beliefs are based on extreme insecurity and a great lack of healthy self-esteem. Both operate from fear — the first, fear of losing control and the second, fear of being true to oneself. We can probably think of people we know who fit the following descriptions — often people who, if we were to ask them, have no clue as to why they are so stressed or what to do about it.

Type I

• People have bad intentions and are out to get me. I cannot trust anyone;

• I have to outdo others at work, in lifestyle, at games, etc;

• There is only one way to do things and no one can do them as well as I can;

• I must not recognize any feelings except anger — which I am entitled to;

• People and things must always be logical and consistent according to my standards;

• It is shameful to make mistakes, so I don’t admit to any;

• I have to keep control of myself and everything else;

• I must acquire authority at any cost — physical abuse, anger, intimidation, remoteness, charisma;

• People and events must meet my expectations or I get very upset; and

• None of this is my fault — it’s everyone else.

“It’s our fallibility and uncertainty that makes us human. Our constant challenge is not to seek perfection in ourselves and others; but to find ways to be happy in an imperfect world.” — Gordon Livingston, M.D., “Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart.”

Type II

• I must always look to others for approval;

• I must always put the needs of others before mine;

• I am not as good as other people;

• I must not express my feelings — in fact, it’s best if don’t recognize them;

• I don’t deserve to be happy;

• I must act nice all of the time no matter how I feel;

• I do not have a right to my own opinion even if I knew what it is;

• Since I can’t cope, I must rely on others to take care of me;

• I must never question authority from whatever direction it may come; and

• Even the thought of change makes me feel very insecure.

 To deal with stress — to handle the pressures from inside and outside — we first have to recognize where it’s coming from and the way we view the world that may be contributing to it. Changing our belief system to alter how we think about and react to stress-producing situations is the first step to a more relaxed and fulfilling life.

As that wise quipster, Ashleigh Brilliant, would add: “The help I need most is help in admitting I need help.”

Since 1984, Dorothy Dimitre has written more than 700 columns for various local newspapers. Her email address is gramsd@aceweb.com.

 

 

Tags: people, stress, think, others, other, about,


Other stories from today:

 

 
Print this Page Print this Page  |  Bookmark and Share
<< Back
 
Return To Archives
 
  


 
 
 
Daily Journal Quick Poll
 
What do you think of the new net neutrality rules imposed by the FCC on broadband providers?

Agree, Internet access should be governed like a utility
Don't agree, it will limit the free market
Worry about taxes
Worry it will prevent further access
It's too complicated

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Prominent Russian opposition figure Boris Nemtsov shot dead
MOSCOW — Boris Nemtsov, a charismatic former deputy prime minister turned Russian opposition leade..
San Mateo County resident with measles may have exposed Berkeley restaurant diners
Patrons of La Mediterranee restaurant in Berkeley may have been exposed to measles last Friday eveni..
Leonard Nimoy, famous as Mr. Spock, dies at 83
LOS ANGELES — Leonard Nimoy, the actor known and loved by generations of "Star Trek" fans as the p..
House clears way for short-term Homeland Security bill
WASHINGTON — Congress closed in Friday on approving a short-term funding bill for the Homeland Sec..
8 shot to death, including gunman, in Missouri rampage
TYRONE, Mo. — A gunman killed seven people and wounded an eighth person in an overnight house-to-h..
More >>  
 
 
  
 
  
 
©2015 San Mateo Daily Journal
Menlo Park news