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.

842 thoughts on “Addicted to Being Stressed

  1. Feeling what you have shared Gabrielle, is very inspiring as it opens many doors for us to feast on, so we can understand how we can be deceived by the forces that makes us rush and delay to put stress on a body that thrives on Still-ness.

  2. I’m observenig recently that it is not the doing in itself what stresses me, but not being present in what I do. This is paramount to keep myself feeling all the time and know what needs to be done or not, based on the level of love that I choose to be in and expand. Being with my body all the time simplifies the activity choices and then whatever I do nourishes and energises me instead of draining me.

    1. Yes, there is a finer point here which you have put your finger on – when we are with ourselves and connected with the body, whatever we do does not drain us but the energy keeps being available for whatever is next to bring ouselves to.

  3. This is so apt for me right now, we have to start admitting we often create our own stress in order to not feel our own stillness and within that our own power.

    1. Absolutely amazing is that the teaching presents when we are ready to understand and start to heal. Even when we read or hear the same lines many times it is only when we are ready the penny drops.

  4. Yes, I recognise this one, as I know many people equally do; I have been choosing to not let this be in my life anymore, ‘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.’

  5. Around the ragged rocks the ragged rascal ran and is it any wonder that being in ragged-ness has a lot to do with being in an ill energy of rushing or running around to get things done rather than taking our time and smelling the rose, which allows us more space and thus be open to our own evolution as we honour what our body is sharing. Then when going into our next day, we are as you have shared Gabriele, not full of raged-ness only the joy-fully full-bodied experience the very next day because we have honoured our bodies wisdom and not over-ridden it, or as another saying goes, fools rush in where angels fear to tread. So maybe being angelic is treading lightly as we walk around honouring what our body is sharing and thus a full bodied experience and this quality can be equally shared if we let go of the driving rushed-ness to get more done.

  6. I’m learning not to push myself, so do jobs when I feel I am fully present and able. There is much that doesn’t get done or at the time I planned. The world hasn’t fallen on its head so far.

    1. True, the world doesn’t end nor fall on its head because we haven’t ticked off our to-do-list. After all, there are other forces at play that pull the strings and play havoc with humanity.

  7. Step by step and with awareness we can like you learn to deal with stress and see it for the self created monster it is.

  8. Thinking ahead and trying to be organized can make us feel as though we are ahead of the game and in control but it often traps us in a time constrain and that illusion of ‘being in control’ is such a stressor because everything around us practically proves it otherwise.

    1. Second-guessing, planning miles ahead and trying to corral all possible scenarios is super stressful, very taxing on our nervous system and often leads to a lot of extra turmoil if not outright chaos, a battle of wills, commands and for control.

      1. Absolutely a game not worthy of our energy or movements as our movements sets or pave the way for what is ahead and thus places us back in our bodies and free to choose a way of living that can free us from our anxious ways of living.

  9. Oh yes I know this one, being addicted to stress, many of us pretend that stress is the last thing we want, yet we refuse to take control and get over it.

  10. Hah yes that ‘on a roll’ feeling, yet it is the time to appreciate the roll rather than squeeze in a few extra things because your’e on the roll. Realising here that the ‘squeezing in of extras’ is just a way of avoiding completing what’s needed in that dedicated quality and feeling the expansion, appreciation and beauty of beginning the next thing.

    1. Yes, it’s like we prefer the short term stimulation of the rush, drive and excitement of starting something new and fresh rather than the deep settlement, stillness and space that comes from completing something with quality- and the space that then naturally brings the next thing towards us.

      1. We choose what is to our detriment, over and over and over again. What is it about us humans that consents to this, despite our better knowledge and despite the repeated experience of how terrible it feels? Are recognition and identification just too strong and addictive to forego the damaging repetition of old behaviours?

  11. It’s so important to look at the part of ourselves that finds a high in the stress or is addicted to stress and then deconstruct why. I’m in the process of looking at it myself right now and it’s shakes out all the victim mentality and offers me a choice to take more responsibility for myself in a very self empowering way.

  12. Making ourselves busy is very often just a way of avoiding taking care of the way that we are doing what we are doing and in not doing so we do not bring all of who we are to anything we do.

  13. I love this account Gabrielle, as it shows how we can try to pack in more individuality into our spaces between tasks, when in fact the space may provide all sorts of support that we need for the day.

    1. In the space there is observation, there are insights and new understandings and there is wonderment. The known pictures only offer staleness and the same old, same old.

  14. Gorgeous Gabriele! I can totally relate to this.
    I have the same temptation to ‘fill in the gaps’ to pack more into my day… but when I fall for this I squash myself; I end up fighting with time, over tired, out of my rhythm and discouraged.

    I love how you describe the space and harmony that opened up when you listened to that feeling of what was needed and not needed. I too find this to consistently happen when I don’t go for the temptation to add complication and stress.

    I have discovered one of the reasons I choose to run myself ragged is that when I’m exhausted my body doesn’t do the deep healing it can do when I’m rested… and the healing involves feeling which I tend to try to avoid!

  15. Very exposing again, as I have read your blog a couple of times over the years. Every day off of my very busy job I try to be super efficient and to do more than what my body is communicating, also I am disappointed when again it did not worked out the way I planned it, to less hours in one day. So thank you for the stop moment you have offered, to feel how actually I go into this game of being the super achiever.

      1. You mean it’s a bit like the inability to just let silence be and work its magic? We do indeed tend to clobber and rapidly fill any space that would otherwise allow for a pause in the momentum, the push and the shove, the race to the imagined front.

  16. Time expanded … a beautiful reminder that when we let go and honour ourselves, and our rhythm somehow we appear to ‘gain’ time, but it’s just that the space is there for what is needed next.

    1. And space being our great ally and bridging us into our multidimensionality and the awe of what is possible .. and then some.

  17. When we allow space to come in rather than time it is amazing how much our bodies say yes rather than feeling anxious and under pressure.

  18. Stress is often a root cause of many illnesses. Giving ourselves more time – and space – allows a more natural flow in life. The addiction to stress then becomes apparent.

    1. We become addicted to the strangest things and notions, especially the ones we might say we’d rather not have. Who’s in charge, I wonder?

  19. I can so relate to trying to squeeze ‘just one more thing’ into my day, which leaves me feeling tired. Letting go of that and listening to what my body needs has been changing recently – and my sleep is better – of course!

      1. I’d say there must be – doing good and better and getting ahead of time (impossible!), just in case tomorrow’s workload turns out to be even bigger.

  20. Thank you. I love what you have shared here because it exposes how we have these addictions which run in us that we can think are the world moving faster or life getting more intense.

  21. The acceptance of stress in our daily lives and the normality of it seems to be the way of society today and yet this is our man made illusion ,suffering and way of living in time and without the flow and support of the universe we are all part of and that is there to guide us beautifully everyday in the simplicity of listening to our bodies.

  22. I love this Gabriele as it really highlights how when we let go of wanting to get things done, we are given the space to do them with no stress. Its only when we try to control life that we run ourselves into the ground with complications.

  23. I find the more I let go of time the more I actually get done, on one hand it does not make sense but when I look at the times I do this my focus is entirely on what I am doing with no energy being given to the time or deadline and so with my full attention it gets done quicker and more completely so I am not making mistakes.

    1. Time can be a veritable tyrant if we let it and fall for what we have made it to be whereas presence opens the prison doors and allows for spaciousness.

      1. It sure does and is such a different feeling. When we give everything the space it requires and deserves then it all happens when the time is there without any of the pressure or need for it to be a certain way.

  24. That is amazing Doug, so often we can leave things to the last minute to get our blood pumping and get things done yet when we do them at the time it changes everything and no longer does it have to be about getting it done by the deadline rather having it done with plenty of time, leaving space for the next thing to come in.

  25. We learn to use stress to keep us going in the artificial elevation and get through things but it hurts us and the body suffers.

  26. It is so fascinating to observe what happens when we allow our mind to take precedent over our bodies as for me it always ends up in feeling stressed or overwhelmed what is there to be done or worse exhausted from following it all through and driving myself through the day. Thankfully this happens less and less. It is a great exposure of what we are seeking to be identified with as you have highlighted, and if we are honest with ourselves we then can feel how unloving and dishonouring it is in contrast to being led by the truth in our body.

    1. We create and live from a disconnection between our body and the demands of the mind and suffer the consequences.

  27. In my experience, I have found that the part of me that enjoys being run ragged is the part that actually likes to be delicately taken care of, and so it – I – create situations of stress so that I can fall apart so that I can spend the time putting myself back together again – and so the cycle continues…

    1. Some people get addicted to picking themselves up again, not ever realising that we do not need to fall and falter in the first place.

    2. That is an interesting point Shami and a great observation as then when we pick ourselves back up we get a sense of pride and achievement but what have we really done simply got ourselves back to square 1 and nothing has really changed. Oh how easily we fool ourselves!!

  28. 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. I have noticed this distinction of when something needs to be done and needs to be left as well. I am also discovering that we know, deep down, far more than we want to know we know because somewhere deep inside we know we are the ones who get ourselves out of the hole that we have dug.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s