Is Your Stress Just An Illusion?

24 Feb

There are innumerable sources of stress stemming from events that we cannot control. But we do have control over our reactions to these events.

Unfortunately, we spend more time worrying than we do trying to gain understanding and perspective.The self-relaxation and stress-reduction audio exercises included in my new book Eliminating Stress, Finding Inner Peace, approach the alleviation of stress in three ways, physical, psychological, and spiritual.

The psychological aspect is one that is easily acheived once we realize that what we are stressed about is often nothing more than an illusion.

For example, we worry about money, yet we know that money is only a tool, a means to an end. What we really want is happiness, a bit of security in our lives, some modicum of joy. Happiness, security, and joy are inner states. They are free; money cannot purchase them. Worry is merely a habit—and a negative, unpleasant habit at that. Worry will not change anything, nor will it bring you those things that you really need and desire. And money will not bring you happiness.

I have treated many extremely wealthy people in my psychotherapy practice, and many of them have been miserable and unhappy. Money is a neutral thing, neither good nor bad. What you do with money creates its value.

We worry about success and failure, yet we cannot really define these concepts. Is a poor person who is happy and who has wonderful, loving relationships a failure? Is a rich person who has terrible relationships and no love in his life a success? Our cultures have defined success and failure for us, and the definitions have been deficient. So what is the point in worrying about success?

We worry too much about what other people think of us—about their opinions, judgments, and criticisms. Yet their opinions are based on the same cultural values as those measuring money and defining success. Once again, we are worrying about nothing.

All other apprehensions fall into the same paradigm. Worrying cannot effect positive change or growth. It will not change the future. Planning for the future is useful, but worrying is not. This is a useless habit, a conditioned response we have acquired from our parents, our teachers, and our communities. Intellectually we all know this, but old habits are difficult to break. If we could only stop worrying so much, how much happier we all would be! We would experience much less stress in our lives.

The irony is that, when observed from a more detached perspective, this type of stress is an illusion. It is not real. We create it ourselves. And we all know this.

Events or perceptions that have the capacity to induce stress reactions in us are subjective and relative. An occurrence that traumatizes you may not affect me at all, or vice versa. An event that caused you considerable stress last year may hardly register this year, because your attitude or perspective may have changed in that period of time. You may even enjoy the experience this time around or perceive it as an exciting challenge rather than a threat, trauma, or stressor.

It is quite simply all in the eye of the beholder. Our free will determines our reaction to these events. Will we react with fear, or with confidence and optimism? The choice is ours to make: stress or confidence, fear or love, anxiety or inner peace.

Brian L. Weiss, M.D., is a psychiatrist who lives and practices in Miami, Florida. He’s a graduate of Columbia University and Yale Medical School, and is the former Chairman of Psychiatry at the Mt. Sinai Medical Center in Miami. Dr. Weiss is the author of Many Lives, Many Masters; Only Love Is Real; Messages from the Masters; Through Time into Healing; Mirrors of Time; and Meditation. Dr. Weiss conducts seminars nationally and internationally.

 

eliminating-stress-finding-inner-peace

Brian L. Weiss
Stress is a major cause of ill-health in this country. The 2001/2 survey of self reported work-related illness indicated that over half a million individuals in Britain believed in 2001/2 they were experiencing work-related stress at a level that was making them ill. The Stress and Health at Work Study indicated that nearly one in five of all working individuals thought their job was very or extremely stressful. Stress is a mental state that can cause both emotional and physical illness. The good news is it can be eliminated, or at least greatly lessened by learning simple relaxation techniques. This book and CD will help you learn these techniques and in so-doing help prevent and heal stress-related illness and disease.

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