Unfortunately stress is a concept deeply ingrained in modern society, and it provides people with a quick and easy label to excuse a range of behaviours. We often fall back to the S word when in reality, we’re just a little tired, a little snappy, or we’ve taken on too many tasks and feel under pressure. Some people at the extreme end of the spectrum have even attributed committing murder to stress. Newsflash: It’s perfectly acceptable to be tired, snappy, or overloaded, and actually say out loud that you’re tired, snappy, or overloaded when someone asks you how you are. Don’t fall into the trap of saying you’re stressed. It’s a cop out.
By dumping every feeling, frustration and problem into a bucket and labelling it as stress rather than identifying what it actually is, we avoid finding a solution and assume that stress as a whole will just pass over time.
Tiredness can be cured by sleep. Being overloaded with too many tasks can be cured by delegating, or not taking on anything else until you’ve cleared your to-do list. Being snappy can be cured by removing yourself from situations that make you snappy!
How do you cure stress? While there are plenty of suggestions out there about how to de-stress, using stress as the focus still ignores the underlying feelings. Ultimately wouldn’t we prefer to solve the problems at hand and eliminate this notion of stress altogether? If I’m tired, I can get some sleep. But if I label my tiredness as stress then my first instinct won’t be to go to bed earlier. This causes the cycle to continue longer.
So if you feel like the S word is about to slip from your tongue when someone asks you how you are (or more likely ‘what’s wrong?’), think twice before you answer…