Stress and Life Change
The idea of changing your life is pervasive in our contemporary world. Books, articles, training programs, DVDs, CDs, blog posts, videos, and every other medium you can imagine claim that you can change your life if you follow their methods. Why is this phrase so prevalent? The phrase identifies a universal desire in human beings to solve the inevitable problems of human life.
The root meaning of the word change is to substitute one for another. A desire to change your life means that you want to exchange something in your life for something else. In this case, the "something" is stress. You feel stressed-out and you don't want to feel that way. Your desire to change your life means that you want to exchange your stressed-out feelings for something else. How do you make this kind of change in your life?
Consider these three approaches as solutions to the problem of living your life feeling stressed-out:
- Fixing your self
- Discovering your True Self
- Creating your self.
Fixing Your Self
Much self-help work builds on two assumptions. The first is overt. The second is covert. The first assumption asserts that you can change your life by fixing how you deal with some problem in your life. The second assumption is less obvious, but it's the assumption that lies beneath so much of what western cultures believe about human life.
The first assumption describes traditional psychotherapy. How you deal with stress is a problem to be fixed. Consider this definition by the National Institute of Mental Health:
Psychotherapy, or "talk therapy", is a way to treat people with a mental disorder by helping them understand their illness. It teaches people strategies and gives them tools to deal with stress and unhealthy thoughts and behaviors.