Stress Relief – An Industry for Self Inflicted Stress
Copyright © 2005 Roy Thomsitt
Stress is a big business in Western society.
We live what we regard as hectic lives, that
prime us with stress. That stress,to those
who recognise its presence, requires relief.
We are competitive beyond true need, and that
too pumps more stress into us. We live lives
that are devoid of spirituality, and that allows
stress to infiltrate deeply into our daily
existence,often to roam uncontrolled throughout
our minds and bodies.
In our material world, it is no wonder that
stress relief has become big business. Suffering
stress has become habitual in Western society.
Mostly, it is self imposed, a fabrication of
the modern Western way of life. By and large,
much of the stress experienced in Europe,
North America, and Australia, is self-imposed.
There are signs too that in other rich countries,
such as Japan and South Korea, the same thing
Almost 5 years ago I left England to live in the
Philippines. My time here has taught me a lot
about stress and its existence in England and
other Western countries. My learning has come at
three different levels:
1. Personal Stress Relief
I recall with total clarity my first visit to
the Philippines,and especially my first visit
to Palawan, where I have now settled. I remember
the wonderful feeling I had, of being alive,
in tune with myself, and totally stress free.
Like many in England, I had lived for many
years in a zombie like existence,trying to
earn money, and working for other people.
Often commuting long distances and for many
hours, I had gradually lost my sense of existence
as an individual. Some relief to that had come
when I was able to start my own business
with my ex-wife,and then to move to a beautiful
location on the south coast. That relief did
not last long, as divorce and all its ramifications
brought a resurgence of stress.
When I arrived in Palawan, in the second part
of a three week stay in the Philippines, that
had all gone. Making a decision to come and
live here permanently was easy, and it was done
with complete clarity and full awareness. Talk
about instant stress relief.
2. Stress In Perspective -
Genuine Stress Of The Truly Poor
Stress has been around, no doubt, since early
man lived in caves.The stress of survival.
That is what true stress, or rather justified
stress, is about. The need to survive, to hunt
for a meal, to defend against attack.
Most families in the Philippines are very poor.
I mean, really poor, not what we in England
regard as poor. A poor person in England would
seem very rich to many Filipinos. Most Filipino
families live in housing conditions that would
not be considered fit for a garden shed in England.
While starvation is not generally an issue,
malnutrition is widespread. Many families do
not know from day to day if they will have
enough food. If anyone in the family is ill,
many will not be able to pay doctors fees
or hospital fees. That is a basis for
There is genuine scope for stress here in the
Philippines, and of course it does exist.
Unlike in England, though, it is not usually
self inflicted at an individual level. Most
people still manage to be hospitable, to smile,
and to give thanks for what they do have.
The generosity of the poor always impresses me.
It is a humbling experience to witness.
Living here has made me feel guilty for my own
country that it is riddled with stress, and
that stress relief is such big business.
The stress back home in England was unnecessary,
and born out of greed, materialism, and a
complete focus on self. I am grateful to the
Filipinos for helping me to put that
3. Spirituality In Stress Relief
Here in the Philippines, the people as a rule
have open hearts.They are by nature spiritual,
as are many Asian cultures. Many Westerners
would dismiss such open heartedness as naive,
primitive, innocence, and ignorance. It is
those Westerners,though, who are living through
ignorance. Ignorance of themselves and what
their humanity is capable of.
I have come to believe, from observation in
both England and the Philippines, that through
allowing your spirituality to flow naturally,
stress is reduced. Exploring spiritual avenues
aids perspective in one's own life. Spiritual
avenues are a major source of stress relief,
partially by the positive reaction they can
bring within an individual's life, and partially
filling gaps in individual's existence that
would otherwise be flooded by negative thoughts,
and thus by self inflicted stress.
Much of the Western stress, I believe, comes
from a disassociation from a substantial part
of our own humanity.Western life has become
based on a minimal part of the human character,
a tiny proportion of the scope of the human brain.
In other words, Western life has become full
of emptiness.Much of the self inflicted stress
stems from that void.
© Roy Thomsitt 2005
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