Believe it or not, our beliefs cause stress!? We create a lot of stress for ourselves unintentionally on a daily basis. We have thousands of assumptions, which we hold to be the truth, such as “Men should never show their emotions, because they will be perceived as weak.”, “The system cannot be beaten.” or “The customer is always right.”
Furthermore we have beliefs about how people should behave, how things are as well as about ourselves. Most of our beliefs are instilled in us on a subconscious level and we don’t think about them, since we are not consciously aware of them; and this gives our beliefs significant power over us.
How Our Values and Beliefs Cause Stress in Our Day to Day Lives
When we don’t consciously form our own beliefs and strictly adhere to them, this will allow our subconscious beliefs literally to run our lives instead of us. When this occurs, it can cause stress in two major ways:
- in our behavior patterns
- in the quality of our relationships and the way we interact with others
Our Behavior Patterns
Your behavior patterns root from your value system and your personal philosophy, which everyone should consciously have. If these values and philosophies are ingrained in us and we don’t consciously chose them, we will find that our increased efforts will produce decreased relaxation in our lives and less spiritual equilibrium. Let’s mention a couple of examples here:
If you believe for example that work should come before pleasure, you are going to work much harder, leaving yourself less time for pleasure.
When you believe that other people’s needs are more important than yours, you will likely end up neglecting yourself to a certain extent.
As you can see, these behavior patterns can lead to significantly increased stress in one’s life, which can be enormously reduced by uncovering unconscious assumptions behind certain actions.
When our beliefs conflict with other people’s beliefs in our environment, this can indeed lead to a lot of stress. This is why it is important to remember that personal assumptions depend on cultural background, age, family status and gender. Therefore they will always be different in people up to a certain extent. Personal assumptions and beliefs are therefore not the truth, but merely an opinion, which can be changed.
What to do When Our Beliefs Cause Stress?
If you find yourself in a conflict, it is always helpful if you analyze your beliefs and whenever possible, revise them. If it is not possible, you need to at least admit that the belief held by the person you have a conflict with can be also valid, regardless of the fact that it is different to yours. Their belief will be their opinion which had been formed according to their personal backgrounds and circumstances. This can be undoubtedly a mind opening experience, which should reduce the frequency and intensity of stressful events in one’s life.
Have you been in a situation when beliefs cause stress? Share your experience in the comments below.
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Picture: Ashley Coombs