Most people look almost exclusively to external things and circumstances for their satisfaction, instead of looking within. And apart from being an important factor in the perpetuation of stress, it is also what mainly drives the mechanics of western society. It’s the reason why people spend most of their time working for the purpose of accumulating more things, and then their free time on trying hard to extract as much satisfaction as possible from these things in order to justify the means of attaining them. To be caught in this upward spiral of more and more work for more and more sensory satisfaction is what characterizes the affluent parts of our culture, and the potential for stress on this path is endless, simply because more is never enough. Never has been, never will be.
But this is not to say you need to be affluent to enjoy stressful living. The method of looking to external things for satisfaction can take other forms in the lives of the less materially endowed, through the well worn path of future-projection and hypothesis. All around you there are people who have everything the world has to offer and seem to be blissful because of it, and so you can keep yourself occupied in a cycle of fantasy, envy, and frustration, which then fuels a continuous sense of lack, of not having enough. So, the only real difference between the affluent and the non-affluent, in this regard, is that the former are given an opportunity to confirm the fact that more is never enough, while the latter can keep telling themselves that if only they had more stuff they’d be fine. And when you always feel like you are missing out, stress automatically becomes your habitual state of being.
[Technorati tags: stress | lifehacker]