Where Stress Comes From

Remember those tests that attached an amount of “stress points” to moving, to grieving, to retiring, to divorcing, to getting married?   As if each and every item on the list had a certain amount of stress attached to it and you just needed to accept it and manage it?

If that were true, then all of us would be impacted in the same way by the same circumstances.

One of the gifts that a lifetime of PTSD gave me was recognizing that stress — and all of my other emotional responses to my perception of life — was not an outside-in experience.

We make our own stressful feelings.  We manufacture them in our own bodies based on what we think, consciously or unconsciously, is happening to us.   And once we turn the corner and truly grok this truth about stress and our other feelings, once we know they flow inside-out in direction, it changes our relationship with them.  As this has settled in more, I’ve seen not only my PTSD symptoms largely evaporate but also the other stressful feelings that I used to think were inherent to certain circumstances or events like moving, buying a house, driving to work.

My favorite psychologist, Dr. George Pransky, has a really wonderful (and short) three part video on all of this that really helped me get it.

Check it out.  It might just lead to a nicer life.