Addicted to Being Stressed

by Gabriele Conrad, Goonellabah, Australia

I am one of these people who will readily say that I hate feeling stressed. Thus, I will put things and rhythms in place to not let it happen and generally be of the opinion that I don’t want it in my life so much that I will do just about anything to prevent it from happening and running myself ragged. But then last Friday happened.

So what happened last Friday? I had four jobs lined up; starting early with a healing session at my home, then a few hours in ‘my day job’, after that a training session at a new workplace and then finishing off with another healing session at home. The two jobs in the middle required some driving – I also wanted a lunch break and the day was pretty full and rounded, by all accounts.

So what is the big deal, you might ask? Well, after returning from my morning walk I could feel how I had this urge to pack more things into this well structured day, how I wanted to make me more efficient and get more done, seeing I was ‘on a roll’. One thing I really wanted to get done was my washing and so I began plotting how to squeeze it into the gaps (including keeping an eye on it as showers were predicted for the day). But hey, I was going to be home between jobs, right? The other thing I decided I wanted and needed to do in order to feel really good about my day and me, was to do my grocery shopping, because hey, I had some gaps between jobs, right?

But somehow it didn’t feel right. I just knew it wasn’t a supportive and loving thing to do. But I could also feel how hard it was to let go of the idea of doing the washing and the shopping on top of everything else. On one hand I was very clear that it was crazy to pack more things into the day, on the other hand my mind was like a dog with a bone and didn’t want to let these potentially tantalising achievements go. What was going on? And why was it so hard to just do what I knew felt so right?

And then it hit me: there is a part of me that enjoys running myself ragged, no matter how strongly I might verbally state the opposite. There is a part of me that gets off on being a super achiever and being super organised, a part of me that gets off on doing more than is necessary in any one day.

This now takes me back to the beginning of the story: last Friday taught me that no matter how strongly I had always believed and verbally stated that I hated being rushed, stressed and hassled, I had been my own worst stressor by the impositions I have always put on myself in order to achieve ever more and be super efficient. Last Friday made me realise that I had always been addicted to being on a roll, addicted to being stressed, never mind the words to the contrary that I had been spouting.

So what happened last Friday? I chucked the bone (after wrapping it in cast iron) and just did what I needed to do – the sessions and my work assignments. I also had a lunch break. I enjoyed what I was doing and I was physically tired when it was all done. I also skipped the exercise class I had planned to attend that evening and just let myself rest.

So what happened Saturday? The weather was fine, I did my washing and there was no need to keep an eye on it or bring it back in and under cover. I went shopping really early and it was a breeze. Time expanded… it felt great and I felt great.

584 thoughts on “Addicted to Being Stressed

  1. I could oh see myself in you Gabriele, trying to pack so much into the day forgetting about how exhausted my body felt but congratulated myself on just how much I had ‘achieved’. But for what? It is such an ingrained belief that to be seen as a ‘real’ women we have to do everything and be everything to everyone when the reality is, WE are the most important person in our lives and we have nothing to prove to ourselves or others whatsoever. I believe we are beginning to change the consciousness of why women behave the way they do thanks to Esoteric Women’s Health, and we will begin see the return of what a true women looks like in this world, and for me Natalie Benhayon is just that.

  2. Gabriele that is a very inspiring blog for me as I was a person who had the same addiction: “… there is a part of me that enjoys running myself ragged, no matter how strongly I might verbally state the opposite.” It took me a while to understand what I was doing but since I got a deeper understanding that this way of living was there to not take the responsibility for myself – I was able to change this behavior.

  3. That sense of achievement of getting things done is a huge trap for me and one I use stress to propel me for. I know deep down that it is bad for me, but also deep down I feel a sense of achievement and identification that are still hanging in there. It is time to eject them from my psyche and to give away this need for individual glory even if it only comes from me, and to truly love myself. It’s time to dig out those pockets of belief that hold me in stress and motion.

  4. I had to smile when I was reading your blog Gabriele because my husband said to me recently “whenever you have a gap in your week you just have to fill it” I have been much more aware of giving my self time to not rush or become anxious, but I have always loved the doing, and like you doing as much as possible, I am much easier on myself these days, but still slip up now and again.

    1. How amazing that your husband is there to remind you that you might not be honouring the rhythm your week has laid out for you.

  5. It is an interesting idea isn’t it… that time can be ‘flexible’ so to speak, that things are not as fixed as they seem, that we can literally free ourselves from an embedded paradigm of awareness and experience a different reality, just by connecting to our inner selves.

  6. This is gold Gabriele. I am reading this blog in between doing a whole bunch of other tasks and it takes all the joy out of life to be cramming every moment full of doing. I am inspired to take my time, feel what is needed and enjoy.

  7. This is an addiction I know very well, but also did not recognize it in full, until I read your article. The super achiever, who always wants to do more. And with what result? Getting exhausted, making me lose my precious connection. Absolutely not worth it, but yes indeed very addictive.

    1. I second that – it takes a while and a good dose of honesty and self-awareness to realise that what we say we don’t like, we might actually be addicted to. And especially when there is a pay off, as in being recognised and applauded for being super busy and apparently, oh so efficient.

  8. I know exactly what you mean and I am sure many people recognize this adictional behavior.
    We use this pattern to feel good about ourselves, we identify with what we are doing. Now I learn to check myself on this during my day. If I want to start to do something I check from which place this comes to do. Is it a true impulse for that moment or does it comes from this drivingness to do all. Just being aware of that gives me the possibility to choose lovingly and that naturally gives the space in every moment.

    1. Checking where the need to be doing something comes from is a great technique – does it come from being driven, a need for recognition or a feeling of emptiness or is it a true impulse? The body always knows, the mind will come up with all sorts of excuses and reasons, is my experience.

  9. I can so relate to this and I have had two injuries recently that have made me slow down and allow myself to feel the tiredness I have been hiding. I have also had more pondering into the seeds of these injuries and what I have been doing to myself. It all boils down to disregard and not following my inner knowing. I am allowing much more space in my day now and not thinking or feeling that I have to do everything or it won’t get done or that it has to be done now.

  10. Such a great reminder Gabrielle, to discern if I am filling my day so I feel fulfilled, as I have always been a practical person that loves to create, garden, paint, the list goes on, and being so inclined I am often asked to assist people and their projects be it de-cluttering, wardrobes deceased estates, organising spaces…. I have to say I love it and do it naturally but the awareness for me is to feel my body, take the breaks and note the voice that says ‘just finish that last bit’ as that can be the temptation to override.

  11. I love having a productive day, and I know how enticing that little push to try and do more is. I sometimes get that towards the end of the day, just try and do one more little thing before going to bed – then again, reading your blog makes me wonder if I was actually left feeling empty at the end of the day despite having a ‘productive’ day, in what energy was I moving during the day for it not to be enough?

  12. It is great when our awareness deepens so that we are able to catch when we hold expectations that feed the anxiety and tension in which we are holding ourselves. In listening to our body and feeling the impact of what we are choosing we are able to let go of what does not support us in connecting with our natural rhythm.

    1. Thank you Linda, that was a reminder at just the right time – it feels like many doses of this medicine are needed, i.e. not buying into expectations, images and ideals of how things should be and how much we need to get done but instead listening to the body and its messages. And our body has much to share in its wisdom.

  13. I was also addicted to ‘filling the gaps” in my day, especially when I was driving from A to B and could suddenly see all the things I could do that would ensure I didn’t need to go out another day. Oh what an exhausting addiction, which naturally upped my stress levels when I found myself running out of time. This old habit tries to sneak in every now and then, but today I catch it and ask myself what the impact will be on me if I fall back into this destructive pattern; if there is any chance that I will invite stress into my day by doing so, the answer is a resounding no!

    1. I can remember that habit as well; cramming as much as possible into a trip to town and making things very complicated and cumbersome; no joy at all, just rushing and stress and getting off on doing lots of things.

  14. A classic example Gabriele of how self love can include saying no to taking on things that do not feel right. Actually I was once when young praised for having the honesty to say no rather than saying yes incessantly but never getting the jobs done, which was a trait of a friend of mine. But that was rare and I recall many instances where saying yes got immediate feedback of being good, so it is very much ingrained in our culture.

    1. That would be rare and an amazing confirmation of an early developed steadiness and maturity: not saying yes to things we can’t possibly attend to or complete.

  15. Wow Gabriele, I can so relate to the title along ‘Addicted to being Stressed’, I have been swept up in that addiction for a long time, to feelings of being in overwhelm, being in reaction to what life throws at me and what life has to offer. Not being able to observe and not absorb it. These days it is different, but can still step into that head space at times, and when I do, those feelings of being the addict can come back very quickly. I can move them on as quickly as they come, but shows me that it is in my daily choices, movements and how I live, that allows for what may present.

  16. “And then it hit me: there is a part of me that enjoys running myself ragged, no matter how strongly I might verbally state the opposite.” I so know this behaviour pattern in myself. Lately I have made a stance where I am saying no to running myself ragged, putting everyone else before myself and I am noticing a big difference in my body. It is as if my body can finally settle and I can settle into my own skin so to speak.

  17. Being like this with our to do lists certainly can leave us run down and ragged! It seems crazy though that we load our day with so much pressure when there so much there to enjoy in the day!

  18. This is me all over, addicted to stress. It’s a work in progress for me, feeling when I am creating stress and learning to have a stop moment to see what I’m just about to play out.
    What’s coming up for me is the lack of self love I have within that then keeps me in motion to do and not just be.

  19. I so needed to read this article today, thank you Gabriele. I am moving house and trying to fit it all the little jobs that needed completing in my business, as well as running errands, as well as sorting, packing clearing and cleaning so as you see my list for today is huge. I will do one thing at a time and not allow my mind to run me ragged.

  20. Sometimes we become obsessed about something that has to be done as if this will really makes our life much better even if we have to make our life worst to carry it out. So, what are we really doing?

    1. Feels like we are then living to the beat of an imagined future or more precisely, in the fear of it and how much work it will bring. Must be a case of overwhelm, would you say?

  21. It’s crazy in what kind of manoeuvres we can shape ourself to get some kind of high or achievement, while we know what is truly serving us. It is about getting the grips on this and catch ourselves every time we slip into this. Every habit is a choice.

  22. I started some home work yesterday on my stress levels and how I keep setting up situations to create more stress. The home work was to give myself an extra 10min on everything I do. Day one yesterday and I could feel the momentum of how I have lived for so very long. There was such resistance to allowing space in my day. I could feel how nervous I was to feel how much space I actually am, and at the same time feel the beauty of what this space offers. I am looking forward to this discovery of time and space.

    1. That’s an amazing undertaking and yes, I have also found that one of the first things we tend to find is that we are actually so used to the denseness and rush that space and lightness seem strange, alien even and we can find ourselves in a situation where we sort of don’t know what to do with it and ourselves, such is the momentum.

  23. Thank you Gabriele. What a sneaky trick we play on ourselves when we conclude that the outside world is responsible for our stress. It is far more empowering to recognise that stress is a choice.

  24. I find it’s so easy to get on a roll in the day and it’s more difficult to stop that roll at the end of the day when it comes to go to bed or rest. It’s almost like an attachment to life or an addiction to stimulation, there’s a seeking in it, rather than a connection to ourselves, that is absolutely exhausting.

    1. So true – it’s the seeking and striving and being ahead of ourselves that drains our energy and exhausts us; and it usually makes us racy and and incapable of jumping off and settling into ourselves, especially at the end of the day.

      1. Yes – spot on. There’s no settlement or settling into life and finding our feet when we are constantly seeking and trying to be ahead of ourselves. It’s like we are opposing the natural flow of life.

  25. I relished in being super-efficient, priding myself in how much I could pack into a day, buzzing on the thrill of drive and raciness regardless of how it left me feeling exhausted at the end of the day. I even had myself believing that the exhaustion was a ‘good’ sign that I had achieved well that day. All the while my connection to me, who I already am was absent and the purpose of all this achieving started to feel pointless. I have since discovered that moving through my day in connection and in honor of me is far more fulfilling and rewarding, through which the space to feel what needs to be done is clear and what needs to be done is then done with a quality of presence that honors me and my body.

  26. We use addictions to fill out the void of not living connected to the love and truth that we are, once we start to honor and reconnect to that we realise there is nothing that compares to the grandness, ease and flow of what life is all about without the complications we normally create.

    1. Busyness = complication and distraction. Simplicity and flow is when we’re 100% with the body, listening and honouring to what it can do, and not what we want to do.

  27. Letting go of the need to do everything, and simply doing the next thing creates a freedom to be fully present with whatever the task is now. Otherwise we live hanging off our to do list, constantly worrying if there is going to be enough time.

  28. I can relate to liking the feeling of driving my body when stressed thinking I was achieving far more but with no awareness of how my body was truly feeling.

    1. It sounds like that is a common pattern – driving the body from the mind, from ideals and beliefs, without truly being aware of how it affects what we can’t but live without.

  29. I love it when it feels like time expands when we connect with our natural rhythm and listen to how the body is communicating and honour that feeling. There is a beautiful quality and flow to everything we do when we deepen our awareness and connection with ourselves.

  30. A great reminder of trusting in the flow of life and allowing space for things rather than cramming things in and juggling life and the stress that comes with that. In this way whatever you do will hold the quality of you and not of the pressure you are under.

  31. Brilliant Gabriele, it is so well worth repeating that who we are is nothing to do with the chores or tasks we do. But there is this part of us that likes ‘complete’ you could say and places emphasis on the end part. It is like constantly pushing to the end of life, and ruining your enjoyment of the rest of it. Crazy. But these are the absurd things we do when we lose our connection to truth. I love your example here of seeing through these distractions to the harmony that appears.

  32. Brilliant to uncover the hidden aggendas that secretly run our lives.

    They are quite insidious because a common theme to combat us not being honest about situations as explained in the above blog, is to blame anything and everything else. The world expects too much, people expect too much or I expect too much of myself and I don’t believe there is any other way to be.

    1. Blaming is such a handy escape; only thing is that blaming leaves us be the impotent and helpless onlooker of our own fate, our very life.

  33. This is such a great blog Gabriele. I know I too try to pack more and more in to my day when I am on a roll. I did the opposite of what you did recently and piled jobs on top of one another. I was observing the reasons that drove me as I cleaned and did chores around the house, I knew I was seeking approval and recognition from my partner and a ‘break’ the following day. As it turns out the following day for me was anything but smooth and flowing, in fact I spent a lot of it in bed because I was so exhausted! When we push our bodies beyond what they want to do there is a price to pay.

    1. Exactly – I have also found that there is a price to pay when I push myself and get off on how much I can achieve and tick off my list. Give me two days in rhythm and order anytime rather than one day in a frenzy and the next in exhaustion.

  34. I hold tension in my body if I don’t check in with myself regularly to feel what agenda is running; what beliefs are driving me. My body is such a a true amazing partner in my life!

  35. I could so relate to this Gabriele, being addicted to stress, a very common thing for many people, but i did it very well. Always in drive, needing to be a part of everything all the time. It is a different story now, but it has taken a long time to learn to slow down and be more in my body.

  36. I experience the overriding my inner rhythm with stress, overwhelm, pressure, achieving etc as a form of distraction, numbing and at the same time filling the self-produced emptiness with some form of imaginary recognition – maybe I can become the next life achievement award winner.

  37. I can see here as well how we see ‘efficiency’ and ‘get more things done’ in a linear way. We think ‘more’ is quantity. Thereby ‘more’ should be (and is in truth only): expanded quality.

    1. yes, indeed – ‘more’ can really only be a deeper level of quality that is not at the expense of our body and true wellbeing.

  38. Looking through the comments, I don’t think you are alone on this one! (and I can include myself on this list as well!). It is such a trap what your write about here Gabrielle, the ‘i’ll just do this XX”. On Sunday I caught myself doing it and said NO and I came home and slept for a couple of hours as it was exactly what I needed to do. Great blog.

  39. I am feeling a bit of an ouch here. When I know I am going to have a period of being busier than usual, what I have been calling ‘preparation’ is already laced with nervous energy; I am already bracing myself for an oncoming impact. I may appear to be very organised and in control, but there’s lots of tension in my body already. And in fact, most of the time, it ends up being not as bad as I had anticipated, but my body cops it big time and it takes a lot to recover from that place.

    1. Good point – I know this one as well and my preparation is super efficient, a bit like going into battle. And my body hardens well before the event/occasion as I try to control everything; moreover, there is absolutely no joy in sight.

  40. It’s so interesting to clock the games we play with ourselves. We say we don’t like doing something but keep our movements the same, leading us to make the same self-abusive choices. Then we bash ourselves for going against our “word”. Crazy!

  41. Beautiful really gorgeous thank you for sharing. This totally rocked up my world and exposed the exact same addiction i have had until this very moment. This then made sense to why even though i knew what brought me this stress and i said i did not like it and wanted it to go, it still stayed (as I kept it).. Very very clever indeed. But now that game is over, time for some work, letting go and exposing my need to define myself through ‘being stressed’. Obviously there is a game to it and we better break it before things get irreversiblely bad.

    1. We get very habitual with our unwanted patterns and behaviours, as though they define us and make us stand out – it’s called individuality at any price and even to our detriment.

  42. It is what I became aware of too. During my daily job I found myself going into stress on daily base as it was my new job and I wanted to get to understand all and do all what was asked which was very much. I recognize how I know this pattern in life. It is a way also that I make myself important. I start to let go all this pattern as I know I don’t serve the world by that ill rhythm. It is to bring me in a loving way during all my movements. And what I noticed is that I have my clear thoughts and more easily ordered to do all my task is asking from me.

    1. Ah yes, making ourselves important, huffing and puffing and gleefully overburdening ourselves for the sake of recognition – now that’s a familiar pattern.

  43. This one is a huge one for me too Gabriele. The minute I see a gap in the calender, I feel a need to fill it up, always feeling guilty if I’m not doing something productive, because of this fear of ‘wasting time’. It’s actually debilitating. The obsession with time is very real, and it’s been a very very difficult one to break. But, thanks to my awareness of what I’m putting into play, I can give myself the choice to play along, or to say no to it when it comes up. It’s just practice from here on in.

  44. I had this most beautiful morning yesterday where I realised my use of time was actually not allowing me space to enjoy what the day was offering in full. I was about to do some project work which was not a priority at all but I loved doing it, but I felt and honoured that in truth there was writing, photography and time for me that I had been putting off for ages. This made the quality of the day so delicious and spacious.. far less stress than if I had done it differently.

    1. Magic happens when we stop thinking and controlling and attend to what a particular time/space is there for and offering us.

      1. Well said and equally it is important to be doing what needs to be done when it needs to be done. When we indulge in tasks by doing those that don’t need to be done in that moment or by choosing to take more time on them when there are other things that are calling to be done at that time, we are playing ball with time so to speak and I often find this is when time contracts and we feel like we have less space in the day. It is essentially a game we play with ourselves.

  45. The choices we make of our own accord have a huge impact on the level of stress that we feel! I love how you show Gabriele that not being stressed isn’t about just switching off so to speak and not caring but about feeling into what is truly there for us to do and not letting in complications.

  46. I keep stumbling across this blog post, and I know exactly why. Because without really wanting to admit it, I too am addicted to being…perhaps not stressed (although I certainly used to be), but just a shade or two lighter than that….busy. And, to be honest, it’s not actually too different. Because whilst I don’t feel the mania as much, I feel the racyness of trying to fit everything in…the only difference is I’m aware of it, and at times can catch myself and just simply stop it…but other times it feels the momentum is too far gone and I’m like a mouse on a wheel. Feeling this right now as I write!

  47. Just to challenge myself to so many ingrained behaviors recently, instead of fitting in just one more thing to do in my day, just because I am used to it and can, I chose to go through my day with more spaciousness, and I said No to rush. I may have one less thing completed in that day, but what I have gained is a deep steady feeling of foundation that will now be a marker in my body to come back to always.

  48. Trying to fit in ‘just one more thing’ into our day because we get a sense of achievement from doing this – what I’m starting to feel is that the sense of achievement isn’t worth the pressure I feel in my body from squeezing everything in. When I try to fit everything into the smallest amount of time and fill all the gaps, I feel squashed and there isn’t the spaciousness in my body, and then I feel squashed in my life, like there is never enough time – because I haven’t allowed any gaps or breathing space.

  49. “Addicted to Stress” is such a great title. How many of us can relate to this, I know I certainly can. I used to live life from one crisis to another, full of emotion, so much distraction, not even being able to focus on anything for more that 20 mins. I couldn’t keep still, I was in my nervous system all the time. That is not how I live now, but stress still does present, I can feel the pull to go back into an emotive old way of being, but i am so much more loving with myself if that happens and not stay in that space for very long.

  50. I know I’m addicted to stress, to being ever more efficient when I get irritated or down right frustrated when each segment of time isn’t used to the best of its ability (according to me!). So some people arrive 20 mins late and I start thinking how I could have used that time for writing x report, or there’s a very slow que in the supermarket and my phone hasn’t got connection (and nor have I) so I can’t google what I would like to and the queing becomes a ‘waste of time.’

    What’s beneath this doing? An unwillingness to feel I’m ok as I am. I don’t have to prove myself. The doing takes me away from feeling what’s running my need to avoid criticizing myself – but I am constantly criticizing myself as I do all these things. I’m not doing these things in a quality of acceptance and appreciation of myself or the people or God’s love. This I can choose to look at and change.

  51. I super-love this article! It has just shone more of a light on my own behaviour, and own lack of self-worth. Thank you Gabriele for your honest take on a long and commonly-held pattern.

  52. I have been shown quite clearly lately where there is a part of me that likes creating stress. When everything is going well I can make myself late sometimes, which of course then creates stress, I can also leave things to the last minute. It seems there is a part of me that still gets off on nervous energy, though with more awareness of this I am slowly starting to change these ingrained behaviours that have been there for quite some time.

  53. Beautiful observations Gabriele. This helps me understand why, when I have a day off, I often feel that sense of having to rush, of feeling that I need to do so much with the day and often overestimating what can be done. Like you, I am very committed to not being stressed…but can feel how subtly, I still choose to engage with the energy of stress. Thank you for sharing your awareness here, it is a powerful reflection for me to ponder.

    1. Ooh, I know that one – having a day off and packing it full with all sorts of things to do, totally overestimating how much can realistically be done. It usually ends up with me feeling very flat if not guilty or remorseful for apparently not having achieved enough – what a waste! And the linear and boxed in way of going into such a day feels terrible in my body to boot.

  54. “There is a part of me that gets off on being a super achiever and being super organised, a part of me that gets off on doing more than is necessary in any one day”. Gabriele thank you, this sums me up to a T and I was totally unaware of this fact, it is great having this reflected to me as now I know I have a choice to choose differently.

  55. The attachement of rush is an important subject as we seemingly and knowingly use stress to keep us busy and on the road (drive). We can say that we might feel more comfortable in this sphere, as we know it best, it is familiar, than actually doing things without rush.. Being a person myself who used rush and at times still does, to not feel and or keep myself small in a certain order, can say that it is quiet comfortable, even though at the end of the yourney my body feels tired and exhaused.. And I have to build my energy back up again.. So not really comfortable is it? Is it actually worth it?

  56. This is me all over, the creator of my own demise. A brilliant expose of a way that we can keep ourselves in perpetual motion to avoid our incredible stillness within.

  57. I can plan all the things I’d like to do in a day in my mind but that doesn’t always correlate with reality! I’m learning more to put the energetic quality in the way I do things first and foremost – maintaining a connection with my whole body and being and feeling what is needed next rather than rigidly sticking to a pre-plan…

  58. I recognise that part of me that wants to be a super achiever and it has the energy of a little bully, pushing me to do more. When I feel this it feels horrible in my body. As I honour my body more I become more aware of these self sabotaging behaviours.

  59. I wonder if feeling stressed is for some a way of feeling alive. I observe people who seem to live constantly in ‘fight or flight’, running on adrenalin until they crash onto their beds at night exhausted. In fact I probably used to live this way myself until I became aware of the fact and chose to live differently. These days I am much more aware of my body’s need for balance and for periods of activity and then rest throughout the day. In this way I find I am much more productive and sleep better too.

    1. I feel you are on the right track here – for many and that includes me in the past as well, the fight and flight mode is what keeps them going; it acts a bit like caffeine or a sugar hit and we can use it to push us over the line, the deadline that is; and likely into exhaustion and burnout at the end?

      1. ‘Deadline’ is an interesting and revealing word isn’t it. How far are we willing to push ourselves and neglect our wellbeing to meet a deadline and at what cost to ourselves? We champion people who do so too, fuelling the attitude that we don’t matter but what we do and the recognition we get is what is important. It is a slippery slope in my experience that can lead to health problems if we are not careful and very aware.

      2. It is as though we take our body to market like a chunk of meat that better deliver or else, to put it very crassly. And all in the pursuit of some arbitrary dead lines and to our own detriment. That strikes me as insanity but it seems to be widely accepted as the way to go.

  60. Thank you Gabriele for sharing this wonderful observation. It exposes well the huge belief that in order to be efficient in life we have to focus on ways of forcing what we think needs to be done and ‘defeating’ time and circumstance. Yet what is clearly revealed here is how much wiser it would be to instead focus on being present in the moment, feeling what is in true harmony with our body and flow, and honouring that. Another benefit would be that as well as life being simpler and smoother, on the bigger scale instead of each of us imposing and forging our own way, everything each of us chooses will work in harmony with the All.

  61. Two of my favourite words at the moment are rhythmic flow . These words are so handy because when we allow ourselves to surrender to being present in our bodies and in each moment then we don’t feel tension or stress and the space expands and everything that is needed to be done will get done in due time and space.

  62. An interesting and astute observation …. Addicted to being stressed…. How many of us ONLY get things done when the deadline is right upon us, we are under the hammer and this is what we need to get motivated….. imagine turning this around, as Gabrielle suggests, in all aspects of our lives …. What a flow there would be!

    1. … and how many keyboards, engines, TVs, locks and many other devices would breathe a deep sigh of relief because they are not being hammered, hit, mishandled or otherwise assaulted any longer.

  63. For a society that claims to dislike stress and has industries built on educating about stress and offering stress relief, we sure seem to be masters at creating stress for ourselves. I have noticed at times even the tendency there is for engaging in entertainment, recreational actives and games that crank up the stress factor.
    This is a great article inviting us to take an honest look to see if we are in fact addicted to stress. And if so ask ourself what is in it for us?

  64. Actually getting to the point of the honest admission with ourselves is everything, isn’t it Gabriele. Thank-you for sharing so openly and honestly here… I am finding myself reflecting on deeper levels of late about how much I ask of myself in a day, and becoming far more realistic and then purposeful as a result.

  65. It’s really in the last few years in the main, that I’ve found myself taking on work and projects, to the point that one could say that my days are very, very full. What I’m continuing to learn through this time, is that without a foundation of true worth and value within myself – way before anything I may ‘do’ – I essentially ask and expect too much. Thereby leaving me in a certain level of anxiousness (i.e. self-abuse) at times, with the attendant stressors and expectations I have fallen into. Knowing our true worth is everything, and in exploring this more deeply, what I am discovering, is that I can indeed ‘do’ a lot, and yet also, that I haven’t truly valued what it is that I do ‘do’ (and have done amazingly, oftentimes for years…) nearly enough… The balance is most definitely shifting in all of this, and with it, a deeper tone of the power of what I bring is being brought to all expressions – most definitely still a ‘work in progress’, yet worth the awareness, self-assessment and most importantly, deep recognition and appreciation of all that it is I am and all that I bring along the way. We are so, so much more than we have given ourselves credit for.

    1. You make an important point here – when we rush through things we don’t get to appreciate ourselves for our contribution to the whole.

      1. So true, we get caught in the self and forget to appreciate ourselves and all that we bring and contribute to everything and everyone. It is a moment to stop and appreciate and allow that true foundation to build.

  66. I could definitely say that I was addicted to stress in the past. It took a very long time to even create the space for me to realise that I was in fact the creator of a lot of the stress, in how I left things to the last minute, I’d leave the house too late to get somewhere, so arriving stressed, or leave for a meeting with just a couple of minutes to spare, so I had to rush to get there, so setting myself up to arrive in anxiousness. I realised that I was in fact doing all of these things, therefore contributing to how I was in my body. This has changed dramatically these days, but still a work in progress.

  67. Stress is definitely addictive. It gives us energy when we have none, but it has its price, and that is generally long term depletion. Like many emotional states of being, it offers much in the short term, but has longer term consequences that take a little bit longer to get over.

  68. Thank you for this honest sharing Gabrielle, we definitely use and abuse our bodies to such levels in order to not feel the emptiness in our bodies as a result of not appreciating and loving ourselves. Being addicted to this way of living offers us a false sense of security but always with a hefty price at the expense of our bodies.

    1. This false sense of security is nothing but a momentary comfort provided by the way we have always done it, whether it truly works and supports us or not.

  69. I should read this blog every day Gabriele. It certainly answers the question of why it is hard to just do what we feel is true for us. This need to always do more is one I know well and for me it is related to a lack of self worth. Your words remind me that no box ticking to do list exercise can bring me the contentment I seek.

  70. Thank you for sharing this. Reflecting back I use to live like this as well, I would love packing my day trying to be efficient and then leaving my self stressed and tired. Now I too have the awareness to plan just enough and allow some time for me. This has really supported me as time too has expanded for me.

  71. Ultimately, stress, and anxiety is a choice. Whilst we can so we don’t like it, often it is done to either firstly mask something else that we don’t want to feel. Quite often it gives us a source of energy that assists us to mask our actual level of exhaustion.

  72. There is a real comfort in being stressed and there are levels of recognition that we can slip into in order not to look closely at our foundation and how this is supporting us to live. Often stress or any levels of hardship will bring with it a level of sympathy from others that don’t truly support but leaves us in the same cycle to repeat the patterns time and time again

  73. I usually write to do lists that are based on time. They’re unrealistic and I know this as I write them! So last week I did reminder lists, short and essential couple of tasks for the day and let the day unfold with all the regular work and it was amazing. I wasn’t stressed and all the things that needed doing were done even when the usual extra tasks came in. I didn’t resent or give any less to those extra tasks or the usual ones. I did’t check out thinking about ‘all the things I have to do’ so had some amazing moments with people that I felt they felt supported.

  74. When I commit to staying connected and present in what I am doing spaciousness opens up and frees the body to flow in its natural rhythm. It allows us to naturally bring a quality to everything we do that we lose when we disconnect from ourselves to push and race our body which then starts to deplete our energy.

  75. Multi tasking is another one. I do this because I don’t trust myself to get everything done in a time frame I have set myself. I can be choosing to ignore something that really needs addressing and distract myself with a second activity or I can simply not be comfortable in the first activity and seek comfort in the second. The body tenses up to cope with whatever it is being asked to do and our mind is being asked to be more than one place at once. This causes fragmentation and potential chaos.

    1. Great insights into why we pick up a second or third activity instead of attending to the one at hand – we seek comfort or to distract ourselves and we are then not present with what is really going on.

  76. I agree I have called it like a turbo boost button I put on and then I get things done of fast speed and exhaust myself, and when I am exhausted, I eat what I want, and lie around like I deserve it….it is a very up and down sort of existence….but one that had a certain appeal because of the nervous energy stimulation that I felt. I now choose to be more steady and caring for myself, more consistently and this in truth feels more amazing and more self-loving. But it does not have the peaks….nervous excitement…it is more humble and supportive and I now love it, so much more deeply than suffering the ups and downs.

  77. Some great insights and points being made here Gabriele, we are far more invested in the cycle of stress we find ourselves in than most of us realise, or so I have discovered for myself. I recently found myself running late with preparation for a presentation so I arrived feeling slightly unprepared and rushed. I could feel the impact of this, and the choice to do so, when in fact I had ample space and time to do everything that was needed.

    1. I have noticed this phenomenon as well, dipping back into an old pattern lest we forget what used to be ‘normal’. It doesn’t make sense.

      1. Ha yes, it seems we dislike the responsibility of standing out more than the discomfort of dipping back into sabotaging familiar patterns that leave us feeling lousy!

  78. There are a lot of things that people say they are addicted to, but i have no doubt that they may not admit to saying they are addicted to stress. Mostly because they feel that stress ‘happens’ to them, not that the stress is developed through their own choices, then to admit that one actually craves that stress, as it fosters not having to feel what is truly going on.

  79. Fascinating Gabriele, I am sure so many people can relate to the ‘packing it all in’ lifestyle! Especially around those jobs like shopping and washing, I am in the process of developing more of a rhythm with those aspects of my life including housework and looking at bringing more consistency to them. But not by adding more stress! Amazing what we do to avoid our stillness and simplicity.

  80. It is amazing how much time stretches and I naturally get so much more done when I am with my body and not moving ahead of myself in rush and nervous tension. Life becomes about the quality of movement, and not about the amount achieved.

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