Is it Stress or Excitement?

In our job (Singing, Fitness) we have the luxury of sharing our passions – for how long given the current world situation, we don’t know, but that’s a different matter. I am one to do and make a living of that which excites me, otherwise what’s the point? Doing what you love is beneficial for all parties involved: for you, for the people you work for/with, and for the result of your work, as they will absorb your joy. And whether or not you are too technical or precise or a lot in the mind, what matters is the energy you project, the enthusiasm you have when you deliver your work. That ‘thing‘ that those who come to you don’t seem to find within themselves and they are seeking.

This is such in our artsy and body/mind/health-related jobs as well as in any other jobs. Even if it is a job which requires a lot of mind work. People feel attracted to that which feeds their souls, it doesn’t matter what the discipline is. That is why those who dedicate their lives to pass on knowledge to others, or to deal with the public, must be well connected to their source of inspiration, not only to their mental knowledge. For it is the soul behind the words that gets the message delivered, not the message alone.

Often people with less lights than I’d like, say to me: “you’re always too busy, you must make some time for yourself!” or “you’re always singing when everyone else is going out and having fun, it must be so hard” or “I don’t know how you manage, you’re always doing something, you work your ass off and you are not famous”. Instead of rolling my eyes, I put myself in their place and say: “yes, yes I know”. It’s useless speaking butterfly language with caterpillar people :). Can’t they comprehend that this is already my enjoyment, my leisure, my passion, my time for creativity and inspiration, and I do not wish by any means to exchange it for the activities they consider ‘fun’ such as getting drunk to bury their real selves (emotions, insecurities, wounds, angers and passions) amongst meaningless jokes, manipulation, trivialities and shallow comments in a society that lives exclusively from the apparent and superficial? Such things never provoked in me any arousal at all. And why would I want to be famous if I have to sell my soul to the devil and be a prisoner of the system? I’d rather be free and unknown to people of the same ilk. We come together with the people of our own material.

I was always interested in seeing the things that people cannot see. Such as Music. It hurt my heart when kids in school couldn’t sing in tune. How come they couldn’t hear the beautiful shapes coming from the piano player? how come they were oblivious to the beautiful geometric shapes, the waves and the fairies that sprang from every note? the soul in the voice of the singer? couldn’t they ‘see’ it? apparently not. To them that was just “organised noise”, they wouldn’t pay attention or get entangled in the enchantment of Music. I genuinely thought that everyone else view the world as I did (we all do up to some point). They said I was “innocent” but I know I wasn’t. I just had my own inner world, and I knew for sure that it was truthful and real, to me these matters were serious and I took them with utmost respect and awe. As a teenager you would find me sitting in conversation with my grandparents, the elder people, or reading and learning about music, or writing songs, lyrics, or getting together with my friends and singing songs, going on outings to the beach, for long walks, or traveling by lorry with my father or going for a walk with my uncle in the fields while he would tell me stories of the ancient Egyptians or geography or the universe. Always deep talks were my interest, and ever since I remember every single task that I have undertaken has been filled with love and true passion, otherwise I don’t get involved. Firstly because doing something not truthful to my essence is pointless, secondly because it doesn’t please my soul.

I have deviated a lot from the original subject 🙂 With all of the above I mean to say that I was always excited for the things I’ve done in life, the kind of excitement that wouldn’t allow me to get stressed or ‘anxious’, because I always followed my calling.

“You are very stressed”, my father would say. What I really was is way too excited and with not enough time to do all the endeavours I had committed myself to! “you don’t realise”, my father would go on, “you can’t do so many things at the same time, you must do one thing at a time”. What? do you mean I should neglect the voice inside me that’s sending me a song to be written down, while at the same time I plan a lesson and do my own training? how can I put one thing aside when all of them are equally urgent and worthy of dedication? Can you not see that I am actually doing them all and enjoying it? I can reassure you I am not stressed, I am thoroughly enjoying this! You know you are excited when you really want to do something and you are actually doing it 🙂 A life isn’t enough to accomplish so many things, though 🙂 Now, your body can get equally as tired as if you were stressed, because of the adrenaline/cortisol, the nervous system, the heart rate and breathing rate. Because, as hard as it may sound, our physical response to stress and excitement (also called eustress) is exactly the same. Yep. Same neurological, hormonal reactions: Quick heartbeat, dry mouth, butterflies in the stomach, muscle tension and sweaty palms or skin. And the release of cortisol and adrenaline. All are symptomatic of both stress and excitement, only the context determines how we chose to distinguish one from the other.

“Today, expectations for happiness, success and appearance are very, very high. Fifty years ago, people were just glad to have a job; they compared themselves to someone down the street, not with some sleek celebrity on the web. This is also a reason for constant stress.”

Ian Robertson, Trinity College Dublin

So what’s the difference between both? Our interpretation. Again, resorting to quantum physics to explain daily things: it is in the point of view of the observer that reality takes one form or another. Some research here.

There is something with the people of my generation that is not embedded in nowadays people: we had more opportunities for real adversity then, we had less ‘things’, less protection, and we learned from an early age how to manage stressful situations easily, we learned that everything passes and life goes on. Now people expect instant gratification, instant recognition, and if they don’t get things now, it’s the end of the world and they feel rightful to be compensated for anything. Everything is available, so people aren’t used to dealing with the lack of something and be happy.

So, how do we change our point of view when things don’t go well and we want to avoid negative stress (distress)? First of all, observe yourself, know thyself. Are you where you want to be at this present moment or are you doing something you don’t like? Have you accumulated years of compliance to make others happy except yourself? Are you despising everyone and everything around you? Are you a person who takes and never gives? or the opposite? Secondly, observe nature. Look at how a tree becomes a tree. It takes time, tempestuous weather as well as bright sunny days. That is what makes the tree. There would be no tree without storms, bugs, and a balance of give & take between the environment and the tree. Spending time alone in nature, listening to your breathing and heartbeat, allowing your mind to wander and dream is a good thing to understand that ‘everything is as it should be’ and that you are centered, in your place. Needless saying, exercise and any form of movement will also help tremendously to keep those levels of healthy stress up and running, so that we feel motivated and appreciative of life.

Related links:

How to turn your stress into excitement

How to turn anxiety into excitement

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