The Real Reasons You Hold on to Stress, Even Though it’s Killing You

furious businessman throws a punch into the computer

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Most people live fairly stress-filled lives, but did you know that you don’t have to? OK, so you can’t eliminate all stress, but you can get rid of probably 99 percent of it. Some stress is simply unavoidable: deadlines, rush hour traffic, and your kid falling off his bike and breaking his arm. But there are ways of changing your attitude and changing your life in order to reduce stress to the bare minimum. There is just one thing in the way; one thing that is holding you back.

That one thing is you.

Yep, that’s right. Stress has so many terrible consequences, both on the mind and the body. Over time, stress can literally kill you. So why don’t people just let it go? That’s what we are here to tell you.

Keep reading and find out the top 5 things that keep you holding onto stress even though it’s slowly killing you. Then, let’s look at the ways you can learn to deal with it.

 

1.  You Are Afraid of Being Happy

This is really much more common than you think. Although many people deny it with a sarcastic comment “Oh yes, I’m afraid to be happy that why I work my butt off because I’m afraid,” it really is true for some people. You will find many reasons to actually avoid being completely happy, but the bottom line is that most people fear that if they achieve happiness, that Murphy’s law will kick into full effect. They fear the let down when disappointment comes, or something goes wrong, or other people’s expectations are not met, etc. etc. Better to not expect happiness, than to be disappointed later on.

Listen, disappointments happen to everyone. You cannot avoid those either. Why not grab happiness when it comes along and enjoy the ride as long as it lasts? Find out how to be happy.

Photo credit: bigstock.com

Photo credit: bigstock.com

2.  You Love Playing the Martyr

For those of you who love the attention you get from being a martyr, then you might have the hardest time of anyone when it comes to getting rid of your stress. Why do people prefer being a martyr over ditching stress? The attention and innocence. Who could blame you for the messed up life you lead when you are working such as crappy job with such a terrible boss? Most martyrs are full of resentment towards the world because of what they see as their problems that no one else is qualified to deal with.

However, martyrs are always quick to refuse help that might lessen their burden. What most martyrs don’t know, however, is that almost everyone else gets really annoyed with their behavior. They get lots of pity at first, but after a while everyone sees through their act. If you are enjoying your life as a stressful martyr, we can’t make you change your mind, but if you would like to quit, then look for other ways to feel important and get attention.

Overworked and Busy Businessman

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3.  You Enjoy the Status

Some people love the status that being a super busy, super stressed out person gives them. Anyone who is as busy as you are must be an important person, right? You are far too busy to be bothered with having fun. In fact, if you have ever found yourself sneering at those who take a day off and have fun, then you are a status-loving stress seeker for sure!

Listen, you don’t have to run around being super busy all the time to impress people and feel important. Stop doing whatever it is that you are doing for a day or two and watch what happens. People will call you, text you, and drop by wondering what happened to you.

The word Everything on a To-Do list on a dry erase board

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4. You Feel Out of Control

Everyone handles life in their own way, but sometimes, when we feel like we are out of control, we try to control everything around us. Although being in control of your life is not a bad thing, however, it’s when you try to control every little thing, when you try to do everything, that it becomes a problem.

If you find yourself saying things like “Why do I have to do everything myself?!” or “If I don’t do it, it won’t get done,” or even  “I’m the only one who ever does this the right way,” then chances are that you feel as if your life is out of control. Try practicing meditation or yoga so that you can get control over your mind. Once you get some control over your own thoughts, then you can start to get control over your life.

Portrait of Happy Family In Park

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5.  You are Avoiding Intimacy

Being too busy and too stressed to do anything but give someone 5 minutes of your time or skipping parties and other social engagements because you are “swamped” or falling into bed every night too exhausted for even a few minutes of pillow talk, is a sure sign that what you are trying to avoid is intimacy on any level. It’s true that people will hurt you from time to time, and they will disappoint you eventually, but staying detached by being super busy and stressed out is not the answer. Who wants to live a life that is devoid of all human attachment?

You can actually learn to manage a great deal of the stress in your life by looking at each stressor and honestly ask yourself these three questions:

  • Can I control it?
  • Can I change it?
  • Should I let it go?

For example, if your commute absolutely drives you crazy every day, pose those questions to yourself. Can you control it? Nope. There is no way to control traffic. Can you change it? Possibly. Depending on your circumstances and city. Maybe you can change your route, change your hours, or even change your means of transportation (take the bus rather than drive). However, if for some reason you can’t change it, then should you let it go? Yep. You don’t have much choice. Learn ways to just ignore traffic and focus on something else. You might play your favorite music and sing in your car, listen to an audiobook on a CD or learn a new language.

 

SEE ALSO: Make Your Own Herbal Tinctures for Anxiety and Stress Relief

 

So pick out a few things in your life that really stress you out and to each of those things ask yourself the three questions above.

You can see life as a pain in the butt, as something frightening, or as an adventure waiting to happen. Take charge of your life. Control it, change it, or let it go. The choice is entirely yours.

References:

Apa.org

Hsph.harvard.edu

Mayoclinic.org