False-urgency is stressing us out.
Remember the last time you felt stressed or anxious? Yesterday? Last week? This morning? ARE YOU STRESSED RIGHT NOW? Chances are, you could definitely use less anxiety in your life. Unless you're some freak of nature who's totally calm all of the time, in which case, please let me rub up against you and steal some of your chill vibes. These days everyone seems to be more on edge than ever before - I know I am. And I've been on a mission to figure out why. During a mind-destroying Nov/Dec last year, my brain imploded so hardcore that it liquified and escaped out my nose. Ick. So now, here's me trying to make sure that never ever happens again.
Step 1: What makes you stressed? So - let's figure out - why all the stress feelings? I've been mentally noting all the things I worry about and things that cause me stress on a day-to-day basis. It was a strange thing to pay attention to - because being aware of them didn't necessarily make me worry about them any less. But it's useful data to accumulate for later. Things that rated low on my stress-scale were painting, cooking, exercising. So these were things that didn't stress me out whilst I was doing them, and before or after. Things that rated high on my stress-scale were phone calls/emails/texts, cleaning, other people's bullshit. Isn't that odd? It became obvious to me that the most stressful moments in my day usually involved my phone. What-what. And I've had this realisation previously, last year I switched off push notifications for all social media. Which worked a treat. But now it's down to even basic communications stressing me out. Am I a freak or what? I'm sure plenty of people are stressed out by their phone, whether they realise it or not. I believe that the false sense of urgency we are all perpetuating is the culprit for a lot of the stress and anxiety we feel. This idea that we are ON all the time and that we are EXPECTED to be available 24/7. No wonder we're all stressed to the max - our brain is telling our bodies that we need to be constantly ready for anything. Yeah, that sounds healthy. Our brain is saying at any moment your friend could message and see if you wanna hang out, your boss could call you and tell you something you did wrong at any hour of the day, your Mum could ring and say that your great-aunt has been rushed to hospital.
THAT'S TOO FUCKING MUCH TO HANDLE.
Step 2: Cut that shit out.
One of my goals for this year is to stop letting everyone/everything dictate how I live my life. I will be the one deciding how I do things, thank you very much. So after I realised what was getting my anxiety up and about, it was time to figure out how to get rid of those things. And I know, I know, stress is a part of life and we need to learn to manage it - but heck, if you can just get rid of the things causing that stress, why not? First things first - I've stopped answering phone calls and I've stopped replying to texts straight away. That may make me sound like a crazy hermit, but I've realised that NO phone calls EVER are actually URGENT. They just aren't. People think they are - but they're just caught up in this falsehood of shit being important. So I reply to phone calls with a text three hours later, saying Hey, what's up? And you'll find that the response I get would never have justified a phone call in my mind. Same goes with texts. I'm going to recalibrate this expectation that I should reply to things immediately. No. No I will not. I will reply to them in my own time, when I choose to. I will not simply react to something just because I feel I ought to. These small adjustments alone have dramatically lessened my heart rate. *phew*
Then, of all the stupid things to occupy my mind, cleaning was stressing me out. Like, what? Adult-much. Gross. I had a nice conversation with myself and decided that having a dirty house is less harmful than being stressed about cleaning. Case closed. If the dishes don't get done tonight, that is a-okay. What a relief. But the one I've found hardest to find a solution for has been this - other people's bullshit. Probably difficult to find a solution to that one because it's a little ambiguous. What I concluded was that I needed to cut people who offered me no value, but who took value from me. A lot of the time I feel obliged to go to shit for people I don't even care about, simply because it's expected of me. That makes me so damn STRESSED. Screw that. So I'm trying to prioritise things that make me happy, over things that make other people happy/make me stressed.
Step 3: Just do you.
Ultimately, just do whatever it is you need to do to maintain a happy-chill-vibe. For me, that means not being reactive to others, not letting expectations dictate my actions, and not worrying about things that aren't important. Whatever is making you stressed or anxious, take a step back and assess how urgent/important those things really are. And if your life would be better with a few changes.