Balance of stress...

Posted by Tandarin Nike Saturday, August 21, 2010 1:27 PM
The common view is that sometimes you have stress and sometimes you don't.

The Question is, where does the stress go when you don't have it?

My theory is that stress is a universal constant. If you have less of it at any given moment, then other people must be taking on more to balance things out. For example, let's say you go on vacation. While you're on the beach, your coworkers are trying to handle their own workload plus the projects you left behind. You haven't reduced stress; you've simply transferred it to your coworkers. And if you work alone, you can frontload your stress to get ahead of deadlines, but you can't reduce the total amount.

Suppose you have a non-injury accident in your car. You're all stressed out, and the universe is temporarily out of balance. Then the tow truck shows up. He's the happiest guy you've ever seen because he's making a good profit from your misfortune. Soon the stress level at a local auto repair shop will go down because they will have a new customer. And the suppliers for that body shop will get paid, and so on down the line.

All of our institutions are set up to ensure the efficient balancing of stress across humans. Consider capitalism. Every sale of stock creates one winner and one loser. Every promotion leaves someone behind who is jealous and resentful. Every bid you win means more work.

On a monetary level, capitalism isn't a zero sum game. In principle, while the rich get richer, the poor can be getting less poor. But with wealth comes extra stress. As soon as you shed the stress of starving, you take on the stress of a higher level of responsibility. You can get rid of certain causes of stress, but you can't get rid of stress itself. The universe makes sure that new stress always finds you.

Sports are designed to create as many losers as winners. The relief of victory is exactly matched by new stress in the losers. Think about it.

Entertainment, such as a movie or TV show, is generally designed to generate stress in the viewer and then release it at the end. The total amount of stress balances out.

You can see this continuous rebalancing of stress in your own life. Every time you put some huge, impossible, stressful problem behind you, another appears as if from nowhere. The new source of stress might be a "good" one, as in planning for a wedding, or wondering how you will perform in a new job. But stress it is, nonetheless.

Moreover, in times when chance alone does not provide you with enough stress to replace what you had, you'll do some dumbass thing to increase your own stress level. You'll sign up for skydiving lessons, walk through the bad part of town, or insult your boss. Stress must be served.

Conservation of stress is another clue that we live in a programmed existence, subject to certain rules and limits established by the author of our reality.
I say that because it is exactly how you would program such a world if you were the author. You wouldn't let the characters in your world rest, as that would be somewhat pointless. You would make sure the environment provided a steady flow of stress so the characters could feel alive, and could fully exercise their personalities.

4 Response to "Balance of stress..."

  1. Thought(s) of an old man Says:

    Yes, stress is a universal constant, but at the same time it is a created state of mind. A person with a majestic bungalo to live can equally be stressful as the one who is living in thatched hut!.... In my opinion, the starting point of stress is when humans stop to be satisfied with two square meals a day, a couple of dresses to wear and a shelter to rest, and start accumulating more! The more you accumulate, the more stress and the process once started goes on for ever finally culminating in the greatest ever stress to stop the process!

  2. shivani Says:

    Very clever indeed! the way you have talked about yet another vicious circle.
    Was wondering then if all this talk about programmes that de-stress...there are so many now that i can't pinpoint any but for starters say something like Pranayaam or meditation...these must help to cope with stress if not eliminate them completely.

  3. Tandarin Nike Says:

    Yes!! Bhavaji you are right. It's continuous rebalancing of stress in our life which needs to be understood. To a large extent stress is necessary and healthy, but one should be able to tackle it before it gets out of control.

  4. Tandarin Nike Says:

    Shivani, the programmes that help you destress are also a balancing act. End of the day, if we are able to keep a good balance of our stress, then life would be quite interesting and help us to enhance our true personalities.

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