Happy Stress

When I think back to the musical performances at primary school and later, at the beginning of professional presentations, I still get the shivers. The combination of excitement and a thousand deaths from nerves just before the performance always made me a little sick. After the first moment of action, it ebbed away. I got the same kind of feeling at a professional competition, a date, a first kiss, a new job, going on a trip, giving birth, moving house, or a ride on a frightening roller coaster. There is positive stress, good stress, Eustress or, what I call it just because it sounds good: 'Happy Stress'.

You usually need challenges to keep you motivated and active, to have meaning in your life. Without that excitement and nervousness, you would become bored and even depressed in the long run. If there were no daily reasons to get up, it would be very harmful to you. Your health would be at serious risk.

Once, in a time of great bustle at work, I dreamed of a Caribbean island, a dream spot and a hammock, a cool drink from time to time – served, of course - and just doing nothing. Absolutely nothing. Well, pleasant dreaming indeed, but it stayed at that. Not bad in itself. But I would soon have been bored to death. I need impulses to get something done, to be significant to people. Doing nothing is not fulfilling for me, and I think that is true for most people.

Try to discover the Happy Stress in your daily life. Look at the Stress Curve at the beginning of the homepage. Be aware of what is positive in your life and write it down.

Unhappy Stress

There is no day without night, no yin without yang, and therefore no Happy Stress without Unhappy Stress. There has to be a balance, of course.

Working intensively and hard or making other efforts is nothing more than tiring for most people. It only becomes oppressive when situations arise in which you are caught and from which you see no way out. In which you remain a prisoner. The net can be pulled so tight that you almost suffocate. Suffocation, fear, and panic set in.

Two major forces are at play: the outside and your inner worlds. In most cases, events, situations, impulses, or triggers from the outside world, so-called stressors, affect you as a person. This may be on an interpersonal level, directly related to your life, or on an external personal level, such as the consequences of a pandemic, which is destroying people’s happiness in all kinds of ways and which the government is trying to keep under control.

Something else. Suppose you live in a lovely house in a nice place and your new neighbours start building a hideous extension on their newly bought home, next to yours, without you being informed. And according to information from the municipality, without a proper building permit. Just like that, out of the blue.

This is an example of an event suddenly adding to your already overburdened life. Well, that's that for you.

What is involved in such an (actual) case?

*  External calamity happens to you; you are not the cause.

*  If you do nothing about it, you will have to live with its (gnawing) consequences for the rest of your life.

*  If you do, you may find yourself in a legal conflict of more than ten years, a deadly poison in your body and  mind that eats away at your insides.

*  All the while, with every letter from authorities or lawyers, your blood pressure and (Unhappy) stress levels skyrocket, not to mention your intense chagrin and misery.

*  All the while, your peace of mind is shattered too. You do not live carefree anymore in a home that is a pleasant resting place for you in the busy world around you.

*  You would like to live in harmony with your neighbours, but that possibility has also been taken away from you; contact with those neighbours, despite several attempts, no longer seems possible.

*  The agony of running into those neighbours every time you step out of your door, ignoring each other.

*  Let's not even consider the cost of such an affair.

*  All this under the knowledge that you could not do anything about it in the first place.

This is just one example of Unhappy Stress that can completely ruin your life. And the mantra that is often brought up is that it is not what happens to you that matters but how you deal with it. That’s easier said than done. If this happens to you, you'll think differently.

In this way, countless stressful events or influences have disastrous consequences for you, but they are seemingly impossible or almost impossible to solve.

There is no recipe, no blueprint on how to cope with this situation. You may have a good lawyer, other experts, supportive family and friends, but no one will lead your life. You will have to struggle through this misery yourself, especially mentally.

Broadly speaking, one can say that you must keep your head cool, keep your emotions under control, rationally concentrate on and study facts and information that strengthen your position and somehow make yourself resilient to this kind of calamity from outside.

That is no mean task when this kind of thing happens to you.

You may hope that the stress involved in your regular life is not too high because if it is, you could be in serious trouble regarding health and well-being.

There are many techniques for managing or reducing stress. One of the most important is to train yourself not to let the stress of issues, which you cannot influence and change, affect you; to learn to stop mulling them over. ‘Let it go' is a motto of mental relief.

If everything threatens to become too much for you, don't keep worrying about it, but call in support. Do not allow others to ruin your life. Life is too short to let that happen.

Start by taking good care of yourself and preventing collapsing, because in that case, you are further from home.

Be the captain of your own life, and do not let the wind or storm determine where you go.


Simplify the Chaos!