Life can be stressful. That’s obvious. The cause of the stress can also look quite obvious. However, that isn’t always the case. I’ve seen enough stress and got very very (20 more verys) tired of it. I wanted to know where some of the stress was coming from. In fact, I really really (another 20 reallys) wanted to know! What I found amazed me.
I’ve heard of the new age ideas on how stress is all in your head. I got really annoyed at this idealistic rose colored glasses approach. (and still do) There’s a lot more to it than that. It can be more like ‘the chicken and the egg’ problem. What came first? In the same way, many problems are circular arguments. The problems aren’t simple and neither are the answers. This is the part where most people drop off.
As stress goes higher, the demand for simple answers gets stronger and our patience gets shorter. If we’re in pain, we want it to stop ASAP. We don’t have the patients to listen to long drawn out answers. After all, this is the age of 2 minute noodles. Who’s got time for that crap? However, to disregard any answers that require deep thought is to continue with the bombardment of stress.
The brain is in a sense, an answer tree. That’s not to say that all of the answers are correct. I’m using an analogy of a tree because some of the leaves are closer to the person than others. As he gets stressed, the faster he wants answers. Therefore the more likely he will grab the leaves (answers) that are closer even though they aren’t the best ones. This in turn creates more stress. (And gives him a stronger urge to grab the closer leaves)
Of course it’s more complicated than that. I simplified it so that you can determine if this page is worth reading. I got the answer tree idea after reading Thinking, Fast and Slow by the author Daniel Kahneman. He’s done a couple other things as well. In 2002 he won a Nobel prize for his pioneering work on how human judgement sometimes defies logic or probability.
All of us can think back to a bad decision that we made which resulted in more stress in our life. As we feel more stress this could affect our ability to make rational decisions. This can spiral out of control.
People sometimes get in the state of;
“I’M DESPERATE! I’LL DO ANYTHING TO FIX THIS PROBLEM!”
However what they actually mean is;
“I’LL CONTINUE TO TRY THE SAME THING THAT HASN’T WORKED! I’LL JUST BE MORE INTENSE AT THIS EFFORT!” (then they wonder why it still doesn’t work and become even more frustrated)