DOES STRESS MAKE US SELFISH?
We’ve heard how important it is for our health to manage our stress. American Psychology Association states, “... long-term ongoing stress can increase the risk for hypertension, heart attack, or stroke”. We can feel how stress physically affects us but have we ever reflected on how even the tiniest moments of stress can affect our behavior? Now, I do want to say there is a healthy level of selfishness, the kind where we are honest about our limits and we set boundaries. On the other hand, we know selfishness can be a major factor in the lack of care and attention we give to relationships. Now, how exactly are stress and selfishness connected?
BEING IN A RUSH
Being in a rush changes our whole aura and I will add that I believe it has a lot to do with the stress that comes with it. Have you ever given your order to a waitress or waiter while they were in a rush? They seem disconnected and uninterested in giving you recommendations on what to order. You leave the restaurant feeling as though your experience didn’t matter. I myself have rushed from one point to another to meet a friend after work and I noticed my energy shift to being considerate of my surroundings to being self-centered on what I need to do. All of a sudden the person crossing the street annoys me now that I’m in a rush or the person driving 10 mph over speed limit is driving too slow for me. Isn’t this something? Haha. Masterclass.com referred to a sickness in an article called, Hurry sickness; being in a constant rush that results in stress and anxiety. This urges me to be mindful in moments I want to rush and ask myself if it’s worth being self-centered and inconsiderate of others? Thinking of being in a rush leads me to wonder how this correlates to the time we perceive we have to give to others.
I remember being in a place in my life where I felt like my schedule was full of so many things I needed to do. These ‘things’ were all tied to what I felt I should do or had to do and it all brought stress in my life. I saw family time as a “maybe”, going to church turned into attending virtually or making a deal with God that I’d pray in place of it, and doing what I loved was out of the question. I was in this cycle of feeling like I had to be busy doing something and being burnt out, then being stressed about being burnt out so I’d get busy all over again. I couldn’t see this self-sabotaging habit at the time. On the rare occasion I'd given my schedule permission to make room for someone else, I was shocked to learn the problems they were facing. I’d tell them, “You should have reached out to me!” ALL of my family and friends said the same thing, “I just figured you were too busy and I didn’t want to bother you”. It pained me that they felt like they didn’t want to burden me with the support they needed. Jodi Clarke, a licensed counselor wrote a blog about stress management, “If your work-life balance is thrown off, you may experience burnout, feeling overworked, exhausted, and disconnected from your social and/or family life”. This illusion of not having enough time made me self-absorbed and it came at a cost in my disconnection with others. I knew my mindset had to change.
FINDING A BALANCE THAT CAN'T BE MEASURED
Oftentimes we think of balance as an equal portion of whatever it is you have to get or need to give. What if balance was more than just scaling everything so that it appears balanced at all times? I’d like to introduce a term I thought of while writing this, intuitive-balance. Before you start burning your planner, let’s get this straight, priorities and time management matter! Finding a strategy to manage your time after defining your priorities is going to be key, the intuitive part comes after. We all know that every day may have its similarities but they all may have their own ups and downs because the common denominator is ALWAYS going to be us. We may have different needs on different days and this is where intuition comes in. I encourage you to be O.K. with maybe only giving a certain activity 30% of your energy that day because your intuition pulls you to reach out to that family member you keep thinking of. I invite you to prioritize destress methods like meditation, physical activity, art expression etc whenever you feel that you need a little more of that during your day. If this makes you a little uneasy about how you’ll be able to add these like I was, set a timer! Your intuition is the part of us that others have called our inner-genius. They’re our spiritual eyes that see beyond what our physical eyes can’t; trust it. Having a way to manage stress fulfills the part of you that thinks you have to run with it. Get free and start connecting to life again.
MESSAGE FROM VICTORIA
I know having to start this new process may be new and confusing but don’t worry it works best without a plan at first. Trust yourself in that you will see that it is more familiar to you than you thought. If you’d love a place to start, I’d love to meet you through email or a virtual session to get you started. Peace and Love be with you, always!
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