I don’t recall where I first heard this idea, but I remember it challenging me to think. The idea is that we often gravitate towards unhealthy emotions. These are emotions that we don’t want yet we often go back to them like an addiction. Deep down we have become comfortable with these unhealthy emotions and often times gravitate towards them even when we shouldn’t.
There is much more to this idea and why people may find meaning and comfort from unhealthy actions or emotions, but I’ll share how it impacted me.
Stress. This is really a feeling or an emotion. We all experience stress in life. Sometimes it is even good. Stress can make us focus with great intent to make a deadline or study for that big test. Stress also weighs heavy on us. Some of the most healthy foods on earth are under so much stress from the environment parts of the year that they develop antioxidants which turns them in to the healthy plants. So stress is not always bad, but even the super plants of the world can’t live under constant stress. They need a break.
This idea of returning to unhealthy emotions even when maybe life didn’t call for it impacted me as it relates to stress. What I begin to realize about myself is I hadn’t gotten too comfortable with stress. Maybe deep down I associated stress with productivity. Stress meant that I was achieving or doing what I was supposed to do. Maybe the stress emotion blocked out something else. I’m not certain for all the reasons, but all I know when I reflected honestly I realized I returned to stress too often.
The crazy thing is I hate the feeling of being stressed. But I have the ability to bring it on even when life isn’t always demanding it of me. I’m not saying I’ve figured this all out or that I never get stressed, but I have learned when I’m feeling stressed that I need to take a step back. Ask myself some simple questions like:
“What am I stressed about?”
“Is this real stress or am I returning to stress for no valid reason?”
“Why do I feel the need to be stressed right now?”
Simply asking the questions goes a long way towards lowering or even removing the stress. It no longer has the power when we identify that the monster in the closest isn’t even real.
Stress along with many of his emotional cousins are very real and often times need to be let out. Often times there is a very real underlying problem that needs to be fixed before the stress will go away. We all know this, but I’m talking about returning to it even when there isn’t an underlying problem. Knowing the difference requires us to reflect and be honest with ourselves.
What about you? If you are honest with yourself, have you gotten too comfortable with the wrong emotions?