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Stress Particles

In a terrific duo of videos, George Pransky makes the observation that most people believe unequivocally that stress is objectively “out there“. He makes an analogy with fictional “stress particles“. Ya gotta stay away from places and events that are infested with stress particles, lest your physical health, mental health, and quality of life deteriorate as a result of becoming contaminated.

The fact of the matter is that all stress is man-made. To be more specific, all stress is self-made. Granted, it’s hard to argue that events such as job loss, divorce, moving, and the death of a loved one aren’t stressful, but the intensity of suffering one experiences is person-specific, no?

I think the amount of stress one manufactures for oneself is a function of one’s perceived control over situations and the degree with which one expects to have control. Control freaks who are in environments where they can’t or aren’t allowed to exercise control create more stress for themselves than non-control freaks. Control freak or not, environments where an individual can control his/her activities and influence the environment are perceived as less stressful.

As can be inferred from the diagram, there are at least two ways to increase one’s “unstressful” region while decreasing one’s “stressful” region. Reduce expectations or increase perceived controllability. A better way is to realize the truth of the matter – there is no controllability, there’s only the ability to influence.

  1. finding neo fish
    September 18, 2011 at 9:56 am

    You mean there is no spoon?

  1. January 9, 2013 at 1:00 am

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