Blog 038 What Does Stress Do?

By Mana Williams. 20 Minutes

In contrast to limbic interruptions comes the opposing frustration, rushing. Among the ranks of corporations, schools, airports and train stations, exists a process of rushing. Something that looks like stress and messes with everything we do even if we don’t want it too. Today’s little chat is in regards to the concept of rushing and the wider impacts rushing can have on really important systems that live actually depend on. The price of stress at a people level within governmental agencies and takes a lens on the mismanagement within making public policy and what the effects of this could be.

What is stress?

It’s the brother emotion to shame. It’s the dragon under the mountain. It’s our brains nitrous oxide that can be confused with positive reinforcement and if not managed properly can be really irrational. Stress is physically defined as the exaggeration of pressure onto a system or load bearing network. It is a home made brain fart that can be defined as a cognitive coffee. Stress is initially helpful but gradually loses its touch and creates more damage than good. When we feel anxious about a result, stress is the first feeling out the door to address the problem. It’s like having a noisy chihuahua yapping in your head. Nobody needs it, it’s novel for a while, but the novelty wears off. Stress is not your friend. When we perceive that we are running out of time our brain works harder to find a resolve that we can rest on. The act of rushing is a physical translation of the feeling of stress.

So what can be done about it?

Government systems, corporate expectations, school assignments, parental rules all operate in routines. Terms used like deadlines, due dates, time frames all designed for general reinforcement. But since when have we ever perceived a deadline as being a good thing? You could argue that it’s a great thing to see that once that deadline arrives you are free from the grasp of whatever is due. But this is where elements like stress and the anxiety of failure come into play and that irrational stress Chihuahua come to answer the door. It’s never ending. Or so it seems. Meditation is key. I know it’s a bit soppy. But when people ask me why I am able to produce so much writing in my blogs without being concerned by the constraints of my work I say because I am able to disconnect from the urgency and create boundaries to achieve what I need to do.

So how is stress dangerous?

Within the wraps of bureaucracy, within governmental agencies and structures exists thousands of hard working individuals who all have to get to work in the morning, who are scrupulously moderated and multiple different amplitudes. Where there are deadlines and agencies that say you can and you can’t. Within government agencies work people, it is at a people level that we can all relate to. We could create any issue or visualise any situation that relates to us and imagine how that might cause a person in a powerful position to make a mistake that might affect thousands of people. The likes of an economic development minister who comes into work and creates a policy on how businesses in New Zealand must meet new criteria that small businesses can’t adhere to because it undermines their business and out-prices the consumer. Or when a Chief Executive of a new government-funded children’s ministry fails to take into consideration the opinions of children and creates a design around the voices and opinions of adults because they were bureaucratized by adults in an adults world to conform in a way that suits big money enterprises and creates a system that doesn’t work or is no different from the last faculty, un-ironed and mismanaged system that could damage the lives of thousands of children. It happens far too often where we get caught up in our daily race to be first to the lecture and we forget that our time should matter more than an assignment.

Stress is dependent on your sense of urgency, it feeds off of your need to do well, to accomplish as much as possible or to catch up on something missed. This in regards to a current essay that I’m supposed to be doing but instead am writing this blog to quantify the stress that’s going through my head. It’s crazy how easy our brains can become accustomed to feeling like shit when we are told to get to bed or to hurry up. It’s scary that even when someone encourages us to get the work done, whether it be in school or at work, that we can assume that it’s negative enforcement. If we are tooted at by a car it’s quite rattling and disgruntling, it’s easy to feel stressed out by it. If we are given an assignment and a lecturer reminds us that our essay is due in two days and you realise you’ve done zero of the readings. When a chief executive of a child-focused ministry is stressed out by her boss to discourage the use of multi-cultural involvement in future child based ministries because certain cultural aspects are being taken out of legislation because it is “too difficult to define” in a formulated and westernized legal way without recognizing that the needs of all people should be considered rather than just the majority. (We will talk about this in another chat) Then it’s easy to show why stress can be so volatile and ill-informed. When people wonder why something didn’t work even if every operational flaw is ironed out, it’s stuff like human error that provokes a miscarriage. Small human misjudgements like stress which leads to a rushed patch job that merely bandages the problem instead of actually solving it. The concern of not spending enough time necessary to see things through a different lens and notice the humongous effect it has on our lives.

What are some tangible ways of dealing with stress? 

These are the two angles that I use to tackle two different situations. The first is time dependent stress. The pressure on a load bearing system which is my brain’s ability to actually operate without fizzing out and realising how screwed I am. This stress can be managed by realising that it’s going to be hard work getting to where I need to be. Not telling myself that it’s going to be okay no matter what because that’s a false belief. Knowing in myself that it’s really a case of stringing out everything that needs doing or has happened and giving myself enough time to appropriately deal with that. Without proper conditioning to stress and learning how to support yourself when times are tough is like never sailing your boat out of a harbour. Growing the support of your loved one’s constantly and building up a relationship with those closest to you will give you little boosts here and there that will take off some of the load, things like doing the washing for your flatmates might, in turn, provide that extra support when you need it. Maybe helping out at church when there is a barbeque might bring back good karma and someone from church might drop you off at home when your mid-week life group finishes and you need to get home because your essay is due tomorrow. Solid foundations will be able to bare heavier loads in the long term and provide the rigidity needed in tough situations.

The second situation is unexpected stress or relinquished faith that happens faster than anticipated or when everything is super sudden without deadlines, like a boss asking you to do something that goes against your beliefs.

Similar to the first situation, know that you are supported and that in yourself you are loved first. Then take the time to reflect on how your beliefs or your routine is compromised by what they have said. Think from their perspective and compare it to your process of thinking. Find a common medium that allows you to stress less and not make stupid decisions.

So that’s today’s chat, they don’t always end with a long winded cello strum but as long as the point has taken flight that’s all I care about.

I think it’s really important that I say I’m not a qualified counsellor and I don’t claim to know more than anyone else. I guess from my perspective this work is just relevant to my emotions and experiences. So by my sharing, I hope to provide a different insight because no two points of views are ever completely the same. So I guess from my perspective this work is just to help someone through their tough patch of work, I know for me it’s certainly fresh in my head.

But again, I am really grateful to any readers out there still reading this stuff! It’s massively appreciated. Tomorrow’s blog will be delayed due to my essay being due. So wish me luck I get those readings done prior. And as always!

Thanks for checking in…

Daily Blogs: 10:00 pm NZT (Adjusted from 11:00 am NZT)

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