Stuck in traffic or behind someone who is paying for groceries with a check, I am beyond agitated and these are not isolated parts of my day. And who whips out a checkbook at the supermarket anymore? Yes, I am making terrible judgments about this stranger based on the fact that she is slowing me down, getting in the way and hindering my progress to get to the next place…the gym. It would be a perfect sequence if I were wreaking havoc on the people in my wake in order to get to a yoga class, but that would slow me down and I need to get where I am going, NOW!
What is it about stress that makes us hop on an increasingly emotional escalator to more tension and strain? Is everything urgent or simply important yet we’ve assigned a value to it that places us at the vortex of more ongoing pressure?
Many experts agree that what stresses us out is really a battle for control. Feeling powerless at the mercy of a challenging client or waiting for your seatmate to jockey for space on the armrest, we are constantly on guard for the next incident. The desire to manage what we can, in spaces we do control, can provide some measure of relief in an increasingly chaotic world. For example, after 9/11, there was a surge of interest in decluttering and organizing. We may not be able to get to the gym, but we can clean out the closet and be ready for the next big thing. It’s empowering to view the fruits of our efforts and know that this single act may be the start of some major purge or at the very least, a way to manage a small corner of our environment.
What’s next? An organized closet may just be the springboard to a new career!