I have read that my thoughts about a certain subject will create my reality. Now, I have also read that thoughts do not create reality. Apparently thought does nothing, action does. Do something to change something. So I have decided to reflect on thoughts, action and stress.
Stress – a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.
In life there seem to be many things that can cause stress. A few of them, and not in any order of importance, are work, money, politics, traffic, war, racism, deadlines, illness, family members, children (yes, I know they are also family), co-workers, meetings, projects, competitions, giving birth, moving, travelling, traffic, holidays, meeting new people, etc…………it seems the list can go on and on. It would appear then, that life in general causes stress, unless one is sitting alone in a room. The above list includes many elements I experience on a daily basis. I think many other people do as well, to a certain degree. Thoughts have nothing to do with this.
It would appear, then, that stress cannot be avoided, but I feel a lot of resistance to stress. I do not enjoy how it feels. Researchers on the subject of stress have proven that stress can cause physical ailments, conditions, disease or illness. Whatever word suits you best. Stress can even cause death. I have done many things in the past to reduce stress. I have done many things to avoid how stress feels. I have many things to avoid feelings I consider negative, because I did not enjoy them. None of my approaches were healthy back then, and some still are not today. These actions I took/take to avoid stress were/are self-destructive and impact/ed me mentally, physically and spiritually.
Why do all these elements exists in our life if they all cause stress? That is one question I often asked myself. Why on earth would we come here just to be stressed? I resisted the whole thing. I looked out there at life with great dislike for stress causers. If it caused stress, I wanted nothing to do with it. However, because of the “no choice” expression, I felt stress a lot. For example, work causes me stress, so I should not work, but I have no choice because I have to pay bills. Bills, a stress I forgot to add in my above list. Getting to work is stressful, because of traffic and /or crowded metros or late buses. Stress is everywhere.
Thoughts. Well in reflecting on all of this, I have just succeeded in depressing and stressing myself. This is not the best thing to do because I do not like feeling this way either. Wait, did I just cause my own stress?
Action. There are ways to manage stress. Leading experts suggest meditation, nature, walking, hiking, warm baths, scented candles, scented oils, writing, exercise, finding fun things to do, relaxation, taking time to be alone and breathing, creating, or do something you love. All of these have been suggested as ways to reduce stress. Score one for action.
Excellent. Article over. Let me go and do all those things – because I actually have done them all. Who needs to debate thoughts create reality and/or stress when there are solid proven ways to manage stress? Debates are stressful too!
Well, with the exception of all the above suggestions which require being alone, some of these things will stress people out. Getting to a dance class involves the traffic and/ public transit. There is a perception about having enough time, or money, oh boy, I have no time, not enough money and there we go……..more stress………….loopy circle of stress. Create? What if what I create is no good? War and racism and inequality will not be solved by meditation alone. This is a mind fuck. Thoughts, it would appear, do not create reality, but maybe they create stress?
And if thoughts create stress and that is reality, then maybe, just maybe, my thoughts actually DO create reality.
How on earth can my thoughts create stress if the stress is out there? I am being affected by the out there elements! Those things are causing me stress! If those things did not exist, I would not feel stress. Crap. Back to my alone room for meditation.
Perhaps avoiding what is, is not the way to go. Maybe, just maybe, I can take a look at my thoughts around those things that apparently cause the stress? I can start with something simple like traffic. I hate traffic, we are not moving, and we look like a bunch of sheep herding off to work. Geez, I feel a lot of stress here. I have places to go, meetings to be at, stress, stress, stress………….oh wait. I have time to listen to music. I have time to listen to an audio book. I have time to appreciate my car. If I am in a bus or metro, the same applies except the car. About that crowded metro – it gets me from home to work in 20 minutes flat! How cool is that? Wow. So either way, I win. OK, I think I can manage to choose more positive thoughts, or at least less stressful thoughts about traffic. Score one for thought.
Thoughts about work – I wrote about that last week, my little experiment I am ok with work now or at least more than before. Oh wait, did I affect my reality about work – yes, I did. So then thoughts about work did impact my reality. Another win for thought.
OK money! This is a big one for many people. But I cannot speak for others, only myself. Now is that a thought or reality? Not the point right now. Back to money. Money. This week I learned that more deductions than usual would be taken on my salary because of a bonus. Ok, what money problems do I have if I have a bonus? Good question! Depends on how I think? Well less money is a hard fact, no thought involved. Not cool. Now after a week, I can say that I did not lack anything, the world did not end. I was happy and ate and paid my bills and have figured out how to manage because I decided to focus on what I have rather than what was deducted. I decided to take this in stride and accept the fact that I have always had what I need. Not what other people think I should have, not what marketing companies think I should buy, but what I actually need. As a result of this reflection and thought, I feel a lot less stress about money. Thinking of the future? Wait, that qualifies as thought and those thoughts will impact my now. Another one for thought.
What about other people who lack money? That is not fair! Inequality is everywhere!!!! How are my thoughts going to fix that? Hmmm? Hmmm? Action. OK score one for action. But what action? Who decides what is equal and what is fair? Who decides who gets what? Who decides? Who knows best? Do I really know if the people in the poorer countries are unhappy? I have seen people in poor areas who are much happier than many people in the so called Western developed world. They live inclusively, they do not understand many of our issues. They are happy to share what they have because they think sharing and community is the key – Oh? A thought? My action is to give to charities I think benefit causes I think are good and worthwhile. There are those thoughts again, inspiring action and thus creating reality. But what if I think I have nothing to give? That is a thought too. Money is not everything. Maybe time is also of value. Maybe a smile is of value too. Maybe it depends on how I think?
OK, here is a biggie – politics, racism and religion. Unless you live in another country that does not believe the U.S.A. is the center of the universe, politics, racism and religion appear to be causing a lot of stress in addition to hate, racism and violence. All stressful one would agree because of people’s actions. Well, on that one, I say bullshit. People’s actions are the result but the cause is their thoughts. They believe in something to such a degree that they act on these beliefs. Their actions are, for sure, not something I would choose or prefer, but I will propose that thoughts are at the root. Why? Because there are actually some people that are not afraid, they are not racists, they are not violent or stressed out, they do not hate and are not resorting to violence. So how is thought involved if I am talking about reality and apparent actions of others?
Well I can only think for myself. Ergo, I can only give myself as an example. I do not hate people for thinking differently than I do. I do not believe that either side is all right nor all wrong. I do not believe that exclusion is a solution. I do not engage in hate to the best of my ability because when I think thoughts of hate or judgment, I do not feel good inside. I do believe that people have a right to exist and choose their faith and political party. I do not agree with racism. I am human and because of that race matters not. We all bleed red. I do not care what country you are from. Chances are you have a skeleton and bleed red blood. Voila. I believe that trying to understand someone, instead of judging them for their beliefs, leads to communication, which leads to tolerance and even resolution. Those are my “believees” (Louis C.K.) which is thought that is practiced over and over again. So thought is at the root of beliefs and my beliefs lead to action.
Maybe, just maybe, thoughts actually do create reality. Another simple experiment I did was to actively look at the news and read peoples posts about all the nonsense going on. Then I measured my energy, level of stress and how I felt. Well, I felt bad, the energy was horrible and I felt stressed out. But I was doing all this form the comfort of my couch and nobody was forcing me to do this. It was all in what I was reading, how I was reacting, being told to feel etc…….all thought based. My reactions confused me because I started to feel hate myself? Wait what? Well if I read stuff over and over and over again, it will impact my brain and my belief system because those thoughts are being actively practiced. To summarize it in one word, I would say FOCUS. So what I think and focus on do create my reality. My little experiments have proven that to me in the last week. What action was I going to take in this state? I would guess nothing good, except engage in the same negativity, perpetuate more of it and that did not feel good to me and increased stress. There it is again, that loopy circle of stress.
OK, so how do I apply my thoughts to manage stress? Well what do I believe? Do I believe that deadlines are really such an emergency? Really? Are they? Will somebody die if I do not meet the deadline? What have I bought into – i.e. led to believe? Maybe questioning my beliefs is the first step to managing stress. In addition to all the wonderful suggestions from the experts, I will throw my two cents in and add to question beliefs about anything that causes me stress.
What have I been told to think or believe? Does it make any sense? What have I bought into?
I have found that my stress levels increase when I find myself believing in what other people think is true, my doubts, what I am supposed to look like, what box I should fit in, that there is something wrong me or something wrong with everything. I have found that when I look at what is right, what could go right, what is right with me and other people, the world looks and feels different. I can take action based on that instead of fear, hate and judgment and that feels better and a lot less stressful. So it ends up being my choice and my thoughts that I can choose to think.
Therefore perhaps it is not a good idea to focus on things I do not enjoy, or perhaps I can try to turn it around. If I cannot find anything in it, then I could change my focus. The action is nothing but a result. Maybe, just maybe, action inspired by hate , fear, or stress will never yield a reality as beautiful as action inspired by love. Maybe I should try that experiment next. Start with me, my surroundings, my network, and maybe create a ripple effect. Try to the best of my ability to put out there what I would like to see and feel. Sounds pretty stress free to me. I will not solve all of the world stresses, but I can start with me.
I hope everyone, and I mean everyone, has a stress free day, or day with less stress in it than yesterday. And maybe look for something to love, or appreciate, or at least like. Just me trying to practice those principles to which I aspire in daily measurable life.
And just because I love trees and I feel they are solid no matter what stress they are under, pictures of trees for my enjoyment and hopefully yours. No stress in looking at pretty trees.