Doing the work I do, I reflect a lot about stress and about time. I recently read an interesting study about time.
The article is based on a survey done in Switzerland, where Swiss were asked to name activities they love, and they feel they get lost in time while doing. One of the questions was also, "what do you think makes you waste your time?" And many people were answering "work."
The study shows the usual discrepancy between what people genuinely want to do and what they do in reality. And how this is creating stress in their lives, and their wish to retire earlier. As a paradox, it's the younger generation (25 to 37) who fantasizes about early retirement and having more flexible working time, rather than the older generation who seems to accept fixed working times more.
Furthermore, people who are unhappy at work and have stress, they see their time and life as shorter, according to the article.
While reading, I was really thinking: wow.. things are changing, and this is just the tip of the iceberg. More and more people are doing things they don't value, and this is not only giving them the perception that time is wasted, that their life is shorter, but it's giving them also stress and anxiety. I thought of a time when I had stress. I believe that in my work, sometimes I feel some anxiety and overwhelm, but it has been a long time since I felt that feeling of unbearable chest suffocation that stress represents for me.
People have different ways of experiencing stress, and for me, I even get stressed by seeing others stressed. It is like a contagious thing that takes you into his/her arms and does not want to let you go. But do you know what strikes me more about stress? That it is considered normal. I have heard so many times: "but you have to be stressed to function, "but it is what it is." People are used to living with stress, so much so that they miss it when it's not there. And then the usual link happens: if you don't have pressure, you have boredom instead. Or, if you are not stressed, you are considered "laid back" or lazy. When did we start making these assumptions? When did rest become something so horrible?
I have a principle. Even if I'm slightly late for an appointment, I don't run to catch the bus or the train, because it gives me too much stress. I start sweating; I drop stuff on the floor, I lose concentration while running and maybe a car or two honks and I cross the street dangerously. This is why I love being punctual, or just call and say "I'm 2 minutes late!"
It is too important for me to start the day without stress. How does your day look like? Are you make stress entering your door as soon as you wake up?
I'd be so happy to know your story and how you live stress, and what is the feeling you have when you experience it.
What if you slow down and realize that the world around you is smiling at you? What if you hold the door for somebody instead of running everywhere? What if you tell your manager you have stress, and this is causing you health issues?