If we actually reflect on it, we can see that stress has been a part of our lives all along. We came into this world writhing and screaming in stress and pain. What can be more stressful than taking birth! We have lived in some kind of stress all of our lives since then. The most important thing we need to understand about stress is that it is not a genetic defect, chemical imbalance or a result of some extraordinary trauma that we have experienced. Stress is a natural part of our lives. There is no need to treat stress as some extraordinary ailment. Having said this, we don’t have to live with stress for the rest of our lives.
The very functioning process of the mind causes us stress. Mind pushes us along the journey of life by constantly setting expectations and trying to attain to them. When the expectations are met, we experience a sense of happiness and relaxation, and when the expectations are not met, we experience stress and anxiety. This is the simple mechanism of stress.
All forms of stress are simply components of our expectations and the varying degrees to which they are not met. This is why anybody can get stressed; rich, poor, smart, dumb, beautiful, ugly, successful, unsuccessful – all kinds of people can get stressed because stress is a result of the expectations we set for ourselves.
This is the reason why it is so easy to get stressed about our finances. Unlike emotions and other experiences of life, numbers don’t have a grey area. With numbers, we always clearly know whether our expectations are met or not, hence it is extremely easy to get stressed about numbers. A drop in 10 rupees to 9 rupees can cause just about as much stress as a drop in 10,000 rupees to 9,000 rupees if we don’t know how to handle stress.
Learning how to deal with our expectations and our constantly expecting mind is the key to learning how to handle daily stress and anxiety. We know very well that we cannot stop expecting, otherwise there would be no reason for us to wake up in the morning and look forward to the new day. Expecting is a part of our reality and we don’t have to change it. What we can do instead is become aware of our expectations. This can be done only at the moment when an expectation is being set; neither before nor after. If we are fully alert and conscious to the process of expectation setting, we can detach ourselves from the impact of its results. This might sound like a very simplistic solution, but it works every time.