THE BLOG

We're Addicted to Stress

12/04/2016 16:59

When I'm asked if we're more stressed now than ever before, I mention that there might have been a little tension during the Spanish Inquisition. Just as your head was placed on a spike you might have felt a little tension.

My position is actually that we need stress, otherwise nothing would get us out of bed. We'd all be playing banjo on our porches in Alabama. Stress is part of our legacy from the Stone Age for reasons of survival otherwise we would have ended up as pieces of jurassic finger food. In the presence of a predator, our stress would kick in our fight or flight mode, to ensure that we'd either scram or kill. Afterwards, if we were still living, we'd go back to our normal lives; back to our day jobs.

The problem is that these days we can't shut off our fight or flight because the threat is invisible - so there's no going back to normal. We can't fight things like mortgages, losing our jobs, paying rent. You can't run away from the national deficit.

Here's the biggest worry of all, and it's not invisible: Donald Trump becomes the leader of the free world. That's a real threat. Where is our fight mode when we need it? Why aren't any of us getting out our fangs and growing claws to tear his hair off, which looks like an albino ferret. The man is wearing roadkill on his head and we're just sitting around doing nothing.

Back to my point, I hear people try to blame their stress on technology. They forget that we have a choice that we don't need to respond to every ping that announces a text is in. We're still the boss and can choose to ignore the ping or not ignore it. Just turn away and let it ping its heart out if you feel like it. You're not a slave to the ping.

I personally am delighted about all this technology. In my day, if we wanted to send something, we had to tie a FedEx onto a pelican's foot and blow it out of a cannon. Thank god for the iPhones - we used to have to shout into tin cans with strings attached.

I love the click on the keyboard, you can get anything from a chocolate bidet to a husband Amazoned straight over to you in 24 hours. And let's discuss the improvement in entertainment. We used to have to watch people. Now you can watch the cutest puppy in the world, forced to dance the cha cha with a skunk.

The problem is we have no braking system, humans are addicted to their adrenaline just like they can be to drink, sex, drugs or pretty much anything you can't stop taking. I defy someone to be able to send just one email. At two o'clock in the morning I'm usually answering emails as they're coming in - immediately. I hate the person if they don't answer me right away and hate them even more if they do because then I have to email them back. You're at the mercy of your fingers, which are having an orgy of activity. When I'm done with my emails I start to answer to spam. Each email spawns another, like the film Alien. We're all addicts driven to do or have more and more if it's placed in front of us (see obesity). Ghandi said there's more to life than speed but he didn't tell us what. He just left us hanging while he pranced around in his nappies.

Ruby is touring the UK with her new show #Frazzled - find out where you can see her on this follow up to her sell out Sane New World show.

You can also buy Ruby's best selling latest book, A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled, in all good bookshops and online.

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