It’s kind of funny that most people in our society love the idea of being a good multitasker, capable of juggling multiple commitments, feeling purposeful and almost invincible in the face of deadlines and other important life demands. Then these same people are bewildered to find themselves stressed out and pulled in way too many directions, feeling trapped and falling apart at the seams.
The 21st century is loaded with stressors. We are in the age of information overload and if you want to you can spend every moment of your time occupied with something. There aren’t any forced opportunities for downtime these days. A relationship exists between stress and anxiety that many don’t see, and it’s that they structure their lives to have unlimited inputs, keeping their minds busy to avoid dealing with the existential anxiety lurking below. But before too long the inputs become stressors and while these people don’t consciously feel anxiety, what they do feel is stressed out.
It’s a lot easier to blame stress on variables outside of our control, on the inescapable demands of modern life, but the truth is that most of us bring stress upon ourselves in the misguided attempt to avoid anxiety. We make sure we always have something to do, almost feeling proud of ourselves for not having a moment of free time, bragging about it on the social networks.
A major cause of stress in our modern world is not having any downtime. All of your commitments take on more stressful dimensions when you are feeling mentally and physically exhausted, which is a state that comes about precisely because you don’t give yourself any downtime to recharge. The antidote to the vicious cycle is mindfulness, and a lot of people find relief by setting aside even as little as fifteen minutes a day for mindful breathing. You’ve got to find time to just exist in the present moment and let your brain relax, not worrying at all about the past or the future. Don’t worry, your stress will be right there waiting for you when you come back, but you’ll be much more equipped to face it if you can readjust your priorities, cut out the parts of your life that are not truly necessary to your happiness or survival, and take the time to breathe mindfully every day.