In the previous chapter of the stress pill, I described some ways we make ourselves stressed. I call them “stress pills”. Other people call them Stressors.
Here are another 30 stressors that increase your daily dosage of stress. Of course, if you can avoid them, your stress level will go down and your happiness will go up.
Common Stressors (self inflicted)
- Think of the past as a great thing you have missed out on. Talk fondly about the past and remind yourself that life will never be the same again. This will make you miss all of the new opportunities coming your way.
- Use the past to justify every bad thing that ever happened to you. Even if it is not connected, do it anyway! This will help you justify the way your life is now and why you cannot possibly change it, even if you wanted to.
- Be negative! Positive people only cheat themselves and live in a La La Land of fairies and magicians. They are not prepared for disappointment. Do not ignore the empty half of the glass and constantly talk about what you don’t want, what you can’t do, what bad can happen! Because those who are more negative think they are being more “realistic”. In fact, they are simply being more negative.
- Doubt yourself! Whenever you want to make a decision, don’t! Doubt everything, Whatever you think, doubt it, whatever you do, doubt it. Doubting is a good way to prevent you from making the same mistakes again and again. It is better not to do anything than to do something wrong and bad. Or is it? Have you heard the saying, “nothing ventured, nothing gained”?
- Procrastinate! Do not do things on the spot. That is called rushing. Do not rush into things. Most of the things will be done by themselves if you just wait enough, if you just collect more information, if you just think about it millions of times before you take even the smallest step. Procrastination will prevent you from making mistakes! Right? Well, it will also prevent you from making anything good happen.
- Gossip! Gossiping keeps you in the loop. It helps you know everything about everything (i.e. all the things they don’t want you to know). You can use it to your advantage when the time comes. So, if people are not around, you can talk about them behind their back and say bad things about them. No one will tell them and they wouldn’t mind anyway. Actually, they probably do mind, and they will probably find out. And guess who will pay the price?
- Share others’ secrets! The more secrets you hold of others, the better it is for you. Use the secrets to your advantage. Secrets are not meant to be kept, they are meant to be used against the people who shared them with you. You can use every secret to your advantage. If you tell secrets you know, others will share with you secrets about others and it will increase your secret inventory and boost your ego. Or it will make everyone distrust you.
- Regret everything you did or didn’t do. Regrets keep you on your toes. They make you feel better about yourself and develop realistic points of view of yourself and the future. Or not. Actually, regret makes you focus on the past.
- Be a perfectionist! If things need to be done, you might as well do them perfectly. Just doing them “well” is not enough. Do everything perfectly and make sure others do the same too! Do not allow others to give you a job half done or to say that this is the best they can do. It is never true. If you can do it better, they must do it better too! Do not accept less than 100%. Unless you want to actually enjoy your life. Then, it might be a good idea to be realistic about your expectations, from yourself, and others.
- Resist change! What is the point of certainty if you change it constantly? Stick to your routine and resist any changes to your age, routine, schedule, food habits, relationships. Never try new things. Stick to the familiar. Which sounds great, except for it can make people think you are being very stubborn, and short-sighted, and annoying. So adapt!
- Catastrophize! Every tiny thing is the end of the world. Make sure you do not forget this, ever! If there is a horrible, doomed, disastrous possible future, it will surely happen. Prepare yourself for every possible bad option! Do not think lightly about things. They are all a matter of life and death. Except if they’re not. Because sometimes, they’re not. Knowing the difference can reduce a lot of stress in your life.
- Do not take risks! Why would you do something to hurt yourself? If there is a small risk that you might get hurt, be in pain or have to face changes, avoid them at all costs. If there is even a small possibility of change, it will happen and when it happens, it will be so painful and totally not worth it. Unless it pays off. What if it’s worth it?
- Be self centered! You are the only person that is important in the world and your interests come before everyone else. Whatever you do, do not be considerate and kind to others and do not collaborate. This is a sign of weakness! It is hard work being surrounded by stupid people, and being considerate of them only supports them in their stupidity! Or it shows high self-confidence and personal strength of character if you can be nice to someone else. Especially if that person is less fortunate than you.
- Compare yourself to others and be jealous! Jealousy is the best way to motivate yourself to do things. It will give you a good sense of inadequacy. When you are jealous, you are better and deciding what is right and wrong. Criticizing and negativity go very well with jealousy. If you add a dose of them it will be most satisfying. Or depressing! The only person you should compare yourself to is you!
- Do not forgive! Never let go and stay resentful as long as you can. If you forgive, it gives others permission to hurt you all over again. Do not be fooled into thinking that if you forgive others you are in fact forgiving yourself or freeing yourself from this pain. This is what weak people say just to make you give up on your principals. Resentment is your best defense! Your best defense from … happiness. Being resentful will make you very good at worrying about things that are long gone and utterly useless. Why waste your time on that?
- Worship luck! Luck is the difference between success and failure and you have to count on luck as much as you can. People who leave their fate to luck are better off. They let go of working hard to achieve their goals and they let the universe do it for them. If you are the jealous sort, make sure to say that all those people you are jealous of just had good luck! Unless you actually understand that luck can come and go, but persistence and determination are two things that you can always rely on in yourself.
- Have no goals! Who needs goals? They are just a wish list for dreamy people who think that if they say what they want, it will make it so. Goals are for soccer or football. They are useless. Do not waste your energy on them. Except if you understand that wishing for something means you recognize the opportunities that arise that support your goals. Without knowing what you wish for, how will you find it?
- If you have goals, a second before reaching your goal, move the post. You can never reach you goal. You need to constantly move it further and higher. This is what makes you grow and evolve. Or you could celebrate when you achieve your goal. Encourage yourself to keep trying.
- Do not fuss about time! Come late, take your time and do not plan ahead. Go with the flow. People who do not plan and don’t manage time properly are much more flexible and spontaneous. If others complain about you being late or not being organized with your time, tell them not to stress out! Unless you actually want to do anything today. Having a plan helps you review what you’ve done today and get a sense of achievement and success.
- Please everyone! If you want a smooth life, please everyone around you. If they tell you to jump off the roof, do it! They know everything better than you do and they know what is best for you. Seek their approval at all costs. Without their approval, you are nothing anyway! Or you could listen to your mother when she tells you “you can’t please everyone”. Sadly, it’s true. Prioritize and make your choices wisely.
- Dream big and then say “I will do it one day. It is good to have dreams and it is good to be realistic about them and postpone them to the latest possible future. If you don’t ever make it, you’ll be able to prove to yourself that you lived your life without fulfilling your dreams. Now you have lots of regrets. Realistically, this happens to everyone so prepare yourself. Or be different. Have dreams and go for them. There is nothing worse than looking back and saying “I wish I’d done…”
- If you are happy, sit and give it time to pass. Happiness is an illusion. Do not linger on being happy for too long, it will make you lazy and you will not able to move forward. Happy people lose sight of what is important. Which is? Happiness. We all want to be happy. Enjoy it while it lasts. The in between times are not “real life”. They are just for comparison, so we learn to appreciate when happiness comes our way.
- Do not trust people! Trusting people will get you hurt. They will leave you off guard and bring you lots of pain. People only think of themselves and they don’t care about you. Don’t share your thoughts, feelings and secrets with anyone in the world. People are cruel. If they can hurt you, they will! Or take a deep breath, relax, and dive into the relationship. A relationship based on distrust will drive you nuts. And it will make you tired! Cherish your relationships.
- Never fall in love! Love is dangerous. Love is painful. Love makes people crazy and not worth the effort. You don’t need this. It is overrated anyway. Unless you find it. When you find it, it’s totally worth it. So don’t give up on it until you try it for yourself.
- Measure your worth with how much money you have! Face it, the only way to evaluate your self worth is through how much money you earn. It is a very easy way to measure your value. Here is a simple formula: If you have lots of money, you are of value. If you don’t have lots of money, you are not valued. Which you would know. Unless you actually have real friends and family in your life, who show you how much they care about you regardless of how much money you have. Or unless you remember being a baby, and your parents thinking you were the greatest thing since sliced bread, even though you were barely worth any money back then. There are better ways to see what you are worth.
- Give a high priority to what others think about you! If you want to get along with people you have to pay attention to what they think about you and try to change what you do to be perceived better in their eyes. Pay attention to your look, cleanness, ability and skills and adjust yourself based on what others think about you. Or you could be yourself. You have better things to think about than other people and what they think of you. And most likely, they thought about you for split second, and moved on with their lives, while you agonize over whether your pink polka dot bow is too tilted to the left.
- Count your failures! It is better to be realistic than in denial. You have to keep a close stock take of everything that went bad in your life. Make a list, turn it into a poster and make sure it is hanging in a visible place. Remembering the bad will prevent them from happening again. Or it will make you dwell on it. It will fester and grow and make you miserable. Focusing on your successes will help you move towards them.
- Pain is the enemy, avoid it at all costs! We are not supposed to feel pain and discomfort. If we do, it means something is wrong with us. Avoid hunger and eat anything to avoid this feeling. Avoid relationships. If you go into a relationship, avoid the hard stuff and stay in the flirting, temporary and short-term stage. Use any substances to take the pain away. For example: junk food, sugary foods, alcohol, drugs, self medication, be a workaholic. Everything that seems like it will take the pain away, even for a short time, use it! Or make a change. Choose the things that are pleasant. When pain comes your way, remember that you are supported and that “this too shall pass”.
- Talk more than you listen! In every relationship, it is very important that you express yourself. It does not matter what other people think and in every conversation, your ratio needs to be talk 80% and listen 20%. You only need to give others the space to say two or three things in between your important ideas and thoughts, just enough to give you some ideas of how to take over the conversation. Your self-expression is the most important thing. Talking gives you lots of power over others. Do it often! You actually want to have any friends. It’s unpleasant being talked over. If you want people to listen to you, you need to listen to them.
- Be a hypochondriac! Any small thing you feel and see in your body is a sign of sickness. Every bloating is cancer, every pain is a heart attack and every freckle is melanoma. It is better to be safe than sorry! Go straight to the emergency room for every small thing. Take every medication you can and if necessary, self medicate. You can borrow medication from others if they are not using theirs. If you are not sure what it does, don’t worry, they have checked it in the best labs and given it the tick of approval. It won’t hurt you. Unless it does. Even if the drugs don’t, you’ll make yourself sick just by thinking about being sick. Stress can impact your immune system and make you physically ill. The more sensitive you are to physical sensations, the more you will notice, and the more you will panic.
Do you ever find yourself having thoughts like these? If you do, you are on the fast track to stressville. Join me next time on the stress pill series with even 30 more stressors.
Meanwhile, be happy!