Michael Laitman, On Quora: “What should I do to feel less stressed?“
Human nature is a desire to enjoy, and we are at rest when we enjoy ourselves.
The problem today, which is also why stress is on the rise, is that our desire to enjoy grows from one generation to the next, and we thus need more and different kinds of enjoyment to fulfill ourselves.
Likewise, since we all wish to enjoy ourselves more and more, we find ourselves in a situation where we need to share with others, and it becomes increasingly difficult to enjoy our lives.
As such, we become increasingly stressed.
Moreover, increasing stress coincides with more heart attacks, depression and drug abuse. In other words, more stress equates to a higher probability of disease.
It might appear as if stress indirectly influences disease, but stress is in fact the main cause of disease. Every disease in the body, especially of the internal organs like heart and lung disease, can be traced back to stress.
Stress follows us our entire lives, from the moment we leave our mother’s arms until the moment we die.
As small children, we experience stress at kindergarten because we are placed somewhere we do not want to be. Before the days of the schooling system, children were raised by their mothers and grandmothers, and later followed in the footsteps of their fathers’ occupations, keeping within the family circle.
Today, we need to meet society’s higher standards. That is, we are raised with examples of fierce competition in order to reach lavish wealth and success, and are under constant pressure to keep up with today’s social standards.
Situations where both parents work all day, neglecting their children, have become commonplace. Such children are left in the hands of kindergartens and schools from early morning until afternoon on a daily basis, an environment which is itself very stressful for them.
By nature, children need to be raised within the family, or in a wider circle that the children feel as their own family. The moment children are extracted from a family environment and placed into kindergartens and schools, they experience stress due to feeling insecure in their new environment.
In order to find calm, safety and confidence, the children try to be like their peers, seeking to “hide” among them.
After the initial stage of fitting in, when they feel accepted by their peers, the desire to enjoy then continues pressuring them from within, making them want to stand out.
They sway back and forth between their comfortable state where they fit in, and an ambitiousness to express their pride and power. The bigger the ego, the more they’re willing to step outside of their comfort zone and put themselves at risk.
These two poles of remaining in our comfort zones versus the desire to be a prominent figure in society stay with us our entire lives, placing us under constant stress.
In addition, the social and media influences that continuously bombard us with competitive, materialistic and individualistic images of success, i.e., where being more successful is perceived as being stronger, richer, faster or more unique than others in a variety of ways, add immensely to the stress we feel, as it becomes increasingly harder to stand out in such a society. Thus, rates of depression, anxiety, loneliness, drug abuse and suicide all rise together with rising stress rates.
Therefore, by understanding the nature of stress and how it is an integral aspect of the society we are raised in, we can conclude that in order to feel less stressed in the long term, there is a need for a solution not only at the level of “What should I do to feel less stressed?”
A comprehensive and lasting solution to reducing stress requires enhancing our feeling of connection in society, so that we feel society like one big family.
Essentially, the competitive, egoistic, materialistic and individualistic paradigm we are in, which values the “stronger, bigger, faster and richer individual,” needs inverting, so that we value contribution to society more than individual success.
We would then be on course to creating more balanced lives for everyone, reducing stress, and its related problems.