What Mental Stress Can Do To Your Life
Most people are unable to correctly identify the causes of stress. This is despite the fact that many of us voraciously read personal development books and self help for stress management. Most people think it’s work, family pressures, money problems, that cause them anxiety and stress. In truth, these things are only triggers, not causes. This is an important distinction to make.
In truth, mental stress is mostly an inside job. We each have a personal threshold for stressful stimulus we can handle from our environment. This threshold is based on our self-concepts, or what is known as the “internal map of reality”. When your map isn’t able to handle the environment you are in, stress is created.
Another way of understanding this is to to consider that you have created your current reality from your deeply held beliefs (many of which are unconscious). All of your problems stem from having destructive beliefs (that you are most likely unaware you have). When you believe something, you create your world to prove its truth. Psychologists have long known this and that is why the fundamental aim of psychological intervention is to uncover and change peoples’ negative, out-dated beliefs about themselves and their worlds. Meaningful change is impossible without first changing beliefs.
Breaking Down the Causes of Stress
The causes of stress are this: on a conscious level you may want to create a certain outcome, for example, you may want to succeed in your career. But if on an unconscious level you have beliefs that you’re unintelligent and undeserving of success, then they will stop you from manifesting achievement in your career.
Your world is always a reflection of your deepest beliefs. So, no matter what you do, you will be unable to have the level of success you desire because it’s actually not part of your unconscious story of yourself.
It is your resistance to your dysfunctional unconscious beliefs then that are the causes of stress. To survive, you will find yourself working extra hard, all because you need to counteract and work against the deep belief you have about yourself that you’re not good enough. Life will feel like a chore. You will wonder how it is that life became so tiring and burdensome. You will feel exhausted from a day’s work. You will marvel at your co-workers and friends who seem to find success so easy when you find it impossible. The good news is, by surmounting these beliefs, you will free yourself. As Maxwell Maltz said:
“Within you right now is the power to do things you never dreamed possible. This power becomes available to you just as soon as you can change your beliefs.”
The only way to overcome mental stress is by aligning your expectations in life with your inner beliefs. Something then needs to change to eradicate your stress – either your inner beliefs or your outer expectations. In the short-term, the first thing to do is stop resisting the way things are. Just observe the feelings and emotions associated with your current desires being unfulfilled. Next you can go about understanding and changing your deeper beliefs that are prohibiting you from having what you want in life. This requires contemplation (often in the form of meditation or journaling) and affirmations to cultivate awareness.
You might also opt for the input of a therapist. I did and I think it’s really helped the process along.
Many people have changed their deep-set beliefs to more productive ones. With a little dedication, you can too. You will know when you have changed your beliefs because life will miraculously seem different. You will be seeing with new eyes.