Finding Peace in a Stressful World 

young woman embraces peace with a cup of tea in the outdoors in a stressful world

Despite the modern conveniences we take for granted in today’s world, stress still seems inescapable.  We may now have machines and computers that can do everything from making our coffee to writing a college term paper, yet more and more of us report feeling burnt out.   

It’s true that technology begets stress in and of itself (ask any physician how “easy” their Electronic Medical Record has made their lives), yet it’s certainly paradoxical that many of us may wish for simpler times. 

Where Else Does Stress Come From? 

As I discuss in my book, Stop Sabotaging Your Future, it’s not just new technology that can stress us. Stress in the modern day still involves all the stressors mankind has dealt with for eons (running a household, raising a family, and putting food on the table).  Today, however, we have the added stress of hyper-connectedness through social media and television, which puts the extra burden of constant comparison of ourselves to others. We now can stress rather easily about how we don’t measure up to the figures in the media, or even to our friends and family who portray perfect lives on their social feeds. As a result of this constant barrage of comparators, we can quickly succumb to feeling inadequate. 

Of course, let’s not overlook the stressors of daily life, either. Whether it’s simply getting to work on time, preparing dinner, or even planning a vacation, life can very much feel like a relentless treadmill of chores. Having twin newborns myself, I know the feeling of constantly tackling one chore, only to find two more new chores to complete. This makes even days off from my full-time job feel less than relaxing. This is not even to mention the stress of trying to tackle these chores on nights in which I have to work! 

How to Find Peace Through Stress 

I was at church one Sunday when I heard a very important message about what Christians call the Peace of Christ. Now, before I lose some readers who may not be Christian or religious, I promise this message applies to believers and non-believers alike. What the “Peace of Christ” refers to, is the peace that is experienced when we give our stressors over to a higher power. That is when we learn to let go of what is bothering us in our daily lives and choose to focus on what is most important. 

Of course, if you have a religious practice this idea may seem easier to adopt.  However, even if you do not believe in any particular theology, you too can still benefit from this idea. What this entails is learning to live for something bigger than yourself. Rather than getting bogged down in the daily stressors of our lives, center yourself on what truly matters. If you are religious, of course, you can focus on that, but if you are not there are plenty of options.

For example, you may decide that your family is the most important thing to you and the guiding light to your being. If that’s the case, the next time you get irritated at the traffic on your way to work, or about the stress involved in raising a family, you can take a step back and remind yourself that everything you are doing, even these minor irritations, are serving a higher purpose 

Even if you don’t have children or a significant family, there are still other higher purposes for which to live. You may find meaning in a charitable cause, educating the next generation, or even choose to devote your life to your career. Some people find meaning by raising awareness about pressing issues, or by getting involved in politics or activism. Whatever the focus may be, the point is to find something bigger than yourself to which you can dedicate your life. This is what it is to have meaning in your life. Once you have meaning, the stressors, and daily annoyances we all experience become more bearable. Stress will never go away. At best, stress can now be looked at as a sign of the hard work we are doing to achieve our higher purpose.   

The Stress of Selfishness 

On the flip side, stress gets worse the more we focus on ourselves. Think about it: how many of us are guilty of being irritated by the traffic caused by a car accident? This is an extremely common stressor. Now, imagine how different that stress could feel if instead of being annoyed about your longer commute, you focused on how the accident victims were doing, or focused on how fortunate you are that you are merely inconvenienced by the traffic rather than in actual peril from physical harm. This is a great example of how the more self-centered we are, the more prone we are to stress.  

Similarly, instead of being annoyed about having to stay late at work, you focused on being grateful for having a job that lets you provide for yourself and your loved ones.   

You get the idea. The more we put life’s daily grievances in their proper place, and the more we focus on the bigger picture, the less prone we will be to stress. 

Find Your Peace 

I hope this post resonates with you and gives you some new tools to deal with life’s inevitable stresses.  

I would love to hear your feedback by using the Contact Us button at the top of the page. Let me know if you have any particularly stressful situations, or if you have stress management techniques of your own. 

For more advice on how to manage stress, or simply how to improve your life in general, please read my book. I go into a lot more detail about what we talked about today, including an emphasis on how to use gratitude to our advantage.   

As always, don’t forget to leave a good review on Amazon. Until the next post!