Saturday, January 22, 2011

Don't Stress - It solves nothing

It has been said that the first part of a man’s life is about accumulation and excess, where as the latter part is about quality and time well spent.

This year I became a grandparent for the first time in the history of the world. True! My advancing years have now afforded me the wisdom and experience to rear children, but with a reduced energy level that makes it a challenge to put it into practice. There is something about the ageing process that is essential in the development of acumen for life. If only we appreciated that in the days of our youth?

“Youth is wasted on the young” – George Bernard Shaw

I have quoted that saying since the days of my youth and now I think I understand it. One key attribute missing with youth, is patience. As a young person, one trust in health, strength, confidence and an attitude to life that believes it is fireproof and lasts forever. It is these qualities that both invigorate and infuriate at the same time.

“How can a society that exists on instant mashed potatoes, packaged cake mixes, frozen dinners, and instant cameras teach patience to its young”? ~Paul Sweeney

I made a new, New Year’s resolution this month and have added it to my outgoing correspondence signature as a reminder to self and reader alike. "Don't stress, it never solves anything, the best time to relax is when you don't have time for it".

I read an article recently, in which the researcher sited some horrific statistics of stress in the younger generations and in particular the under twelve’s in our society. Have we advanced so much that our children are experiencing stress long before they can spell it?

Stress is nothing more than a socially acceptable form of mental illness. ~Richard Carlson

My personal belief is that as parents, our role is to protect and prepare our children for situations in life that they are neither emotionally or physically unable to deal with. That consensus seems to be contrary to what’s common in today’s society and some would claim it old fashioned.

Society does change and with that change, so do community values. These values (that shape society) serve to make acceptable, things which a previous generation were unwilling to accept or tolerate.

Local society is now shaped (and often directed) by World values. Pressure is exerted upon us by subtle sources of influence way beyond ones personal values , such as Economic, Political, Educational, Technological, Environmental, Socially, and Legally. We live in an age where business does dictate decisions on the local and national level. Free trade agreements eventually influence decisi0ons made at a family level. Our society is shaped as much by what we DON’T do, as much as what we DO.

“To me, consensus seems to be the process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values and policies. So it is something in which no one believes and to which no one objects”. Margaret Thatcher.

I am fascinated by people and always have been. Nosey! My mother called me, as I was always to be found asking “inappropriate” questions beyond my years and peers. I have an inbuilt need to know why people think the way they do and what causes them to do what they do!

A couple of years ago, I stumbled upon a quote taken from a book by Neil Howe and William Strauss called; Generations: The History of America's Future, 1584 to 2069. I did some research and added it to my “wish list” and later in the year received it as a gift.

The central tenet of the book is that generations don't age the same way, and when looking at generations through history, the correct way to look at them is by cohort - that is, by groups with similar birth years - rather than by age. In other words, if you're born in 1950 and grow up in the '60s and '70s, you'll be different at age 50 than you will if you're born in 1970 and grow up in the '80s and '90s. Strauss and Howe then trace a number of generational cohorts through American History, and find evidence of a cycle of generational types - usually a four part cycle, but in one case a three part cycle. For example, they liken Gen X (whom they call "13ers"), born in 1961-1980, to the "Lost" generation born in the late 1800s. The book makes some startling observations on the way society is shaped by generational values and furthermore seeks to pre-empt the likely scenarios ahead of us.

“We may consider each generation as a distinct nation, with a right, by the will of its majority, to bind themselves, but none to bind the succeeding generation, more than the inhabitants of another country”. Thomas Jefferson

Stress is alive and well in this generation of ours. It seeks to invade our silence at every opportunity. The effect of stress upon one is found in the way one responds or reacts to it. An issue only has the power or pre-eminence one grants it. When all is said and done, it’s not what’s said that counts, but what’s done.

Quality of life is not about having all ones needs met, but being content with few needs. If ones wants serve to increase ones stress, it’s time to redefine ones needs.

“The man who views the world at fifty the same as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life”. ~Muhammad Ali

"Don't stress, it never solves anything, the best time to relax is when you don't have time for it".

We live longer than our forefathers; but we suffer more from a thousand artificial anxieties and cares. They fatigued only the muscles, we exhaust the finer strength of the nerves. ~Edward George Bulwer-Lytton

Signs of Stress