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.

821 thoughts on “Addicted to Being Stressed

  1. I’m having to do less in my day, one thing at a time and not overlapping doing one thing and another. I’ve wanted to pack so much into my day I’ve got myself ill. I’m realising I’ve wanted to work every request out for support and do a good job of looking after myself. Today I realised I how uncomfortable I felt when others had to feel the consequences of their choices and not have me come tidy things up for them. I was frightened by this tension when I was young and also it was a way of being ‘loved’ because I was needed and liked for this (but not me) when more often than not I felt unmet. I can feel my worth now and let go of needing to be needed. I can also feel how there is a difference between when something is to be done and when it is left or left until it is to be done.

    1. Yes, there is a time and place for everything and when that constellates, everything flows and happens with the utmost ease.

  2. “But somehow it didn’t feel right. I just knew it wasn’t a supportive and loving thing to do.” – I’m learning to listen to that kind of feeling more and not override it.

  3. I so understand this part of us that celebrates being very busy, we can show off our importance to others, we can feel we have filled the day with so much and go to bed exhausted, and we don’t buckle under the strain. But what do our bodies feel like living like this? I am becoming aware of the quality of my connection to my body can be very different when I allow myself some space in a day simply to take a mini break.

  4. I can so relate to this. I always say I want to sleep earlier but I cannot stop what I’m doing when I’m home and last night I just stopped and left everything to be done in the morning and went to bed. I had to back myself up I mean really do so with my movements.

    1. Great way of describing it – backing yourself up with your movements. That can at times feel as though I am taking myself by the hand, as one would a small child and point it in the right direction.

  5. Our addictions are now much more broad than we are used to. No longer is it only coffee, or alcohol, or drugs we have to contend with, but the addictions of the internal dramas and self-abuse that rule our days.

    1. Our addictions are many and they have indeed metamorphosed into addictions and, because the stakes are higher, they are no longer mere wayward behaviours.

    1. Not needing coffee but getting the same effect as though we’ve had a coffee is a lot cheaper and we never run out, don’t you think?

  6. The doing can be used as a distraction from feeling what is to be felt in our body.
    To disconnect from the truth, hurts and beauty we carry within.

  7. I used to be the consummate day filler and the fuller the day the more opportunity to feel good about my achievements. But then when I looked back over all the things I had done they would all fade into obscurity when I felt my very exhausted body, which would have me asking myself if it had been worth it. It has taken a while to break this destructive pattern but it has been so well worth the commitment and my body will agree.

    1. It’s easy to work ourselves into exhaustion one day and feel mentally elated by our achievements but I have found that the following day is then mainly one of devastation and lethargy as my body is trying to catch up with what my mind had orchestrated – cheap thrills, in other words and not at all worth it.

  8. I definitely enjoy at times the drama of running ragged what is otherwise a stupendously beautiful body of love, my body. Because when I am ragged with stress I know that I can let go of the responsibilities that come with loving people, in other words – it gives me a day off. But, there are no real days off with love, there is just delay and this always leads to trouble. So, perhaps it is wiser to just stay with what works and live dedicated to that, without going over or under what can be done, and just simply getting on with it.

    1. Sounds like a simple and straightforward recipe for success – no stress, no raciness, preservation of the body and our sanity.

  9. We may be able to do more, but we have to be careful how we frame this. It is not the same to say, I am not doing enough than saying I can add something else that will help me without creating any disruptions or hassles.

  10. I now realise that it is not just stress I am addicted to, it’s actually anything that pushes my body beyond what it is able to do and honouring that inner voice that says to say no.

  11. I clocked myself the other day literally creating tension and stress that wasn’t there simply because I’m addicted to running myself ragged and exhausting myself.

    1. Great observation – noticing what we are doing and not just brushing it under the carper is the first step towards changing what we don’t want to take with us as we move on in life and make it the life we deserve and want to have.

      1. Yes, that’s so true. I was quite shocked at myself for making a day all about stress when I the other choice was a day full of joy-filled work without meetings or needing to be anywhere.

      2. I’ve had that experience as well – we create our own stress and get tripped up by what we have wilfully created rather than surrender to the flow of the day.

  12. Reading your blog Gabriele has reminded me of how in the past I allowed my addiction to stress to rule and ruin my quality of life. If I had a minute or two to spare I would look around for something to fill the gap which allowed for stress to enter the equation. Now by taking these spare moments to check in with me and how I am feeling, allows me to move gracefully from one activity to the next.

    1. Can I take up this space to say to you Elizabeth that watching you walk across a room is a joy because you do move with such grace and effortlessness you are very inspirational to us all.

  13. We can really distract ourselves with stress, feel righteous and have a false sense of accomplishment by what we think we have to do. It is wise to ponder what we put in place of us being with ourselves and in the present moment.

  14. Often we throw ourselves in a ‘race against time’ in order to avoid the magnitude of space and all that is communicated to us through it from the Universe (Body of God) we live within.

    1. Trying to fill in every moment of life with some kind of doing is a recipe for disaster, in my experience. It might satisfy the mind, at best, but is in fact so far beneath us that it were laughable if not for the dire consequences it has on our physical and mental health.

      1. Yes it is avoidance of a balance of motion and repose in favour of constant motion. As you say a recipe for disaster, we are not designed for constant motion.

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