This is a philosophical statement. It is intended to spark thinking and examining.
I recently overheard a conversation about a trip to the doctor’s office that included a “stress test”. The conversation grew, until there were a gaggle of people all speaking about their respective stress tests. And from these conversations, they usually didn’t go well.
The conversation quickly turned to tips and strategies for faking out the test and how to lower their blood pressure before going into the doctor’s office.
What I find fascinating about this conversation was that it veered quickly away from anything to do about stress (nor did it talk about the impact on their body/health) it was only about how not to look bad in front of the doctors.
The view and reality that would give rise to that kind of conversation is:
“Stress is expected and unavoidable.”
“I feel fine telling you about my stress, because it looks good to be stressed because it means I’m leading a successful life and I’m like you.”
“I don’t want my doctor to know about my stress, because that looks bad, like I’m not taking care of my health.”
Inside those views, there’s no room for action to alter stress levels. On the most basic level, there’s no way to manage the circumstances to reduce or manage stress. It is automatic and eternal. And the only way to manage it would be to stop being successful in some way.
On a higher level, stress is external (“it’s life”), not internal (“it’s how I relate and respond to life”). There’s no opportunity or even realm of possibility to eliminate stress without having to manage circumstances.
In other words, there was nothing to be done but be trapped. And I don’t think their view is all that unique; I’d wager they were espousing what’s prevalent in our area.