Q: What is stress?
Stress is an emotion, an idea, or an action that has been interrupted or inhibited, which allows unresolved issues to foment. There is a misconception that a certain amount of stress is good for you. That it’s necessary for motivation. That without stress, one would simply fritter away one’s time. And that somehow stress focuses and directs people. This may appear to be true, but in fact the opposite is true.
Resolving one’s emotions, thoughts, and actions, living in peace with a positive attitude is what allows one to be focused, to think clearly, and to make good decisions. But we are so conditioned to believe that necessity is the mother of invention—which is generated by stress—which is what makes the world go round. For an unfocused person, that would be accurate. A focused person, living in peace with a positive attitude, would naturally be paying attention, would quickly see opportunity at every turn, would readily find new uses and new ways from old things. The motivator changes from the fear of failure or the pressure of competition to the joy of expressing creativity.
In times of stress, don’t be fooled by the urge to act. It is the urge to react that is more likely when one is under stress. This means you are not in control; you do not fully understand the trigger. So instead of jumping on the urge to react, take a moment to reflect on the trigger. What past memory, habit, action, comment is setting off a surge? And is this surge positive and creative, an expansion and clarification? Or is this surge simply the desire for release from frustration?
Many are so consumed by the desire for some kind of forward motion in their lives that the ends cloud the means. So beware of your restlessness, and realize that when you allow yourself to react to stress, you in effect become the rock in a slingshot. Yes, you will travel at great speeds when you release yourself, but don’t be surprised if you ricochet back and forth between a few trees before you find your way.
Q: Is there ever a positive use for stress?
In the context we’re speaking about, the answer is no. This is a great destructive illusion perpetuated on Western society. Because competition and cutthroat ways are valued, of course the resulting fallout of stress would need to be validated and justified as well.
The pursuit of money or power guarantees stress. Peace and a positive mind will bring everything you could imagine and more. This pursuit will guarantee a sense of humor, a healthy curiosity, better powers of observation and judgment, along with a greater ability to draw to you what you really need.