Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Keeping Your Cool In A Pressure Cooker World: Part I Of A 2 Part Series


“If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment ~Marcus Aurelius

This is part 1 of a 2 part series on the problems of overcoming stress, what happens when you let stress build, and how to deal with stress by maintaining a Positive Mental Attitude (PMA). Let’s face it, based on today’s economic climate, even I have to admit that we are living in a Pressure Cooker World. Today, even the smallest problem may spiral out of control until it seems like a nightmare. Well, yours truly has recently endured a chain of unexpected events with negative consequences which has resulted in severe financial hardship. I am embarrassed to say that these dilemmas infiltrated my positive outlook, freaking me out and making me cry more than once…

To be honest, an endless barrage of problems has plagued me, attacking me from all directions. My thirteen year-old car had mechanical issues which completely depleted my finances, with multiple towing and repair expenses. There was the stress of waiting for a tow truck and a taxi in the sweltering summer heat. I agonized over the spiraling costs associated with utilizing a taxi while the car was being repaired. Unable to continue to pay for the luxury of a taxi, I finally had to stop using them. I was not able to work because I was without transportation, it was a vicious circle, which stressed me out even more.

Naturally, as I’m an independent contractor and my customers are spread out over a wide area, I lost a couple of accounts for not showing up. If I didn’t work, I didn’t get paid, it’s that simple. So I sweated through anxiety attack after anxiety attack at bill time. I tried multiple affirmations to generate positive energy, but that didn’t work. I was wrapped too tightly in my anxieties. It seemed as though every new day would end up just like the day before. I even lost my inspiration to write for a while.You can’t find the inspiration to be creative or innovative when you’re constantly stressed. Of course, being later than usual on one credit card payment didn’t help matters because it screwed up my credit report, which reduced my credit limits, which barred me access to money when I needed it the most. What a dismal picture. To be truthful, I would have to say that my immediate emotional reaction to all of this was not good. Let me paint a picture for you, a visual image so you can easily read my state of mind during this time.


Get the picture? The stress was accompanied by frequent bouts of hysteria. Are you shocked? Me, a bastion of PMA, freaked out, frozen, and lacking inspiration? Well don’t be, I am human too. How is it possible that an Expert Author on Positive Thinking can lose her cool and react this way? Nonetheless, it regretfully happened.

Although I encourage having a positive outlook on life, and I do believe in the “Law of Attraction”, I must admit that we all experience, at one time or another, these dramatic and erratic displays of emotions. Due to circumstance and life itself, we “hit the roof” or “blow a fuse”. When the pressure cooker starts rattling menacingly, if left unattended, there is a very good possibility of it boiling over or exploding, dispersing its contents all over the walls and on the ceiling.

Isn’t that what it feels like during a serious crisis? If stress becomes part of our daily lives on a long-term basis, it will eventually shorten out lifespan by making our blood pressure rise, placing us at risk of hypertension. Hypertension can lead to life-threatening strokes, heart attacks and kidney damage. Stress will also weaken our immune systems, causing depression, insomnia, rashes and other physical and emotional symptoms and maladies.

My dear reader, just take a look at today’s economic times, they would make anyone shudder, even the wealthiest of people could blow their pressure cooker lid in this economic climate. Have you seen how the gas prices are sky rocketing, or how the electric bills and real estate taxes are rising? Let’s not forget the cost of baby formula, diapers milk and food. I bet you had to reach for the Maalox when you got the bills for your kid’s private school and college tuition. Sales have been dropping, so you get cheated out of your commission, which creates stress for you because it’s harder to meet your financial obligations. Let’s not forget that the holiday season is upon us too. It never stops. The almighty American Dollar is shrinking. It just can’t be stretched anymore. Now they tell us we’re at the fiscal cliff. You think??? Our wallets and bank accounts are dwindling to nothing. Prices keep going up but the salaries remain the same.

So how are we going to survive?

That was how I was thinking too. I have to admit it, this has been quite a humbling, painful experience for me. My life was moving along smoothly, I was on a roll, feeling good about everything, my bills were met on time, I had plans in regards to my writing career and other things, then everything came crashing down. Living in an area that was hard-hit by Super Hurricane Sandy at the end of October also affected my income, adding more to my dilemma for good measure. Not only do we have to contend with the usual expenses, now there is the possibility of unemployment. Or I could simply be hit with a devastating illness. Although some are fortunate to have a nest egg as a cushion to fall back on, some of us do live from hand to mouth, and it’s frightening. Of course what happens to each and every one of us does matter, but more important is: “How we react to it.” Many things in life are beyond our control, particularly unexpected calamities. Our perception of these events cause us to become stressed out.

Stressing out contributes to emotional agitations, such as fear and anxiety. So let’s explore each of these words individually.

ANXIETY: “... a tense emotional state characterized by fear and apprehension, regarding the future.”

FEAR: “a continuing state or attitude of fright, dread, or alarmed concern, an uneasy feeling that something may happen contrary to one’s desires.

HYSTERIA: “abnormal excitement; wild emotionalism; frenzy.” People who are hysterical often lose self-control due to their overwhelming fear and anxiety, allowing the pressure cooker to explode.

The thing is, we can’t let anxiety, fear and hysteria overwhelm us, because that just makes things worse. In my case, I didn’t even want to WRITE anymore. My entire world was turned upside down. Most people freeze up, or, the pressure builds until the top explodes. Either way, nothing good can come from the natural human reaction to stress. We have to train ourselves and work to beat stress, and the only way that we can do that is with a PMA. In the final part of this article, we’ll discuss ways to develop, maintain and take advantage of a Positive Mental Attitude.


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Old Comments

  • You’re right that we have to train ourselves to work to beat stress and that developing a positive mental attitude is the way to go.

    I just want to caution you from the start though…a lot of people who have seen the “Law of Attraction” movie or read a PMA book, think all they have to do is come up with a simple “I am all-powerful” sort of positive affirmation statement, say it once a day for a week or two and it will start raining gold on them.

    It’s actually a lot more complicated than that (which is what I talk about on my site) although there are plenty of tips and tools out there that can help you. Just take the time to set it up correctly, then take more time to get your affirmations to the point of being a habit (which can take longer than the 21 days most people claim) and you should be able to achieve your first goal.

    From there it’s just rinse and repeat until you are happy with the new you.

    Posted by SusanL  on  03/25  at  10:25 AM
  • Can you post a link to your site, Susan? Thanks.

    Posted by deminizer  on  03/26  at  12:31 PM
  • I wasn’t sure if the admin would let me, but my site is at: http://mindzoomaffirmationsreview.com.  I’m just getting started, so please feel free to comment and let me know what you’d like to see covered there.


    Posted by SusanL  on  03/26  at  07:13 PM
  • We’re all about freedom and interaction here at Litmocracy! BTW, I’m pretty sure the Admin will let you, as we share the same skin. People can get your website link by clicking on your name, but as not everyone knows that, I thought it might get you a few more visitors if you posted the link! I’ll check it out.

    Posted by deminizer  on  03/26  at  07:22 PM
  • I can very well relate to your situation. I would like to share my experience as well, if you allow.

    There was a time in life when I also had faced similar issues, where my life was turning to a pressure cooker. There were times when I used to feel so down that I used to sweat even during my sleep, thinking what would happen in the future (though it feels funny when I think about it now).

    And I think the best solution to the whole problem, and you have phrased that perfectly: “The thing is, we can’t let anxiety, fear and hysteria overwhelm us, because that just makes things worse”. I cannot agree more.

    I think the key to happiness & prosperity in life is to take full responsibility of our lives. We have to realize that it is us who needs to take control of our life, no one from ether would suddenly appear, wave a magic wand & take away all our stress and worries. We need to do whatever it takes to beat fear & stress, whether adopting positive outlook to life, PMA, reading books, meditation, whatever that helps.

    Another great thing that life has taught me is that every problem comes not to obstruct us, but rather to instruct. I think we all need to be more optimistic & look for the good in every bad. What do you think??

    PS: And sorry about your towing situation, my brother runs a small towing company, I can understand your pain smile

    Posted by Jack Smith  on  04/25  at  04:30 AM
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