Stress Relief Principles: The Importance Of What’s Important To You—Part 2

by Doc Orman, M.D.

The importance of importance part 2

In my last post, I said that what you consider to be important will have a direct effect upon how you live your life. It will also effect the actions you take, the goals you set for yourself, even your day-to-day thoughts and feelings.  And it can also determine how much…or how little…stress you might have.

If you missed that post, here is the link:

The Importance Of What’s Important To You—Part 1

Today, I want to focus on how making certain things important can sometimes increase your stress.  Then, on Friday in my third and final post in this series, I’ll look at how changing what’s important to you can sometimes go a long way to decreasing your stress.

Going Against The Flow

While we have the ability to make anything in life important, we must exercise good judgment if we want to keep our choices from increasing our stress.  For example, if you come to a stream with a strong current flowing in one direction, you can decide that it’s very important for you to get to a place upstream.  Yet to arrive there, you will have to swim against the current (or against the flow of life) and this can increase your workload.  On the other hand, if you don’t care which way you go, and you choose to travel with the current, instead of against it, your journey will be more relaxing and peaceful.

Unfortunately, there are times in life when we can make similar choices (regarding what we consider important) that place us working against the flow of how life most easily and naturally goes.

For example, if it is very important to you to be right all the time, and to try to dominate and control other people, you are likely to have more stress and interpersonal conflicts than people who don’t consider these goals to be very high on their list.

If you have a very strong desire to be perfect in everything you do, whether or not this may be necessary, you are likely to have much more stress than people who don’t feel compelled to always strive for absolute perfection.

Similarly, if it is important to you to always be in a hurry, to rush around all the time, and to have very little patience for waiting or walking slowly, you are going to be positioning yourself against the more natural, relaxing flow of life, and hence you will be creating stress for yourself at times that isn’t truly necessary.

Avoiding Painful Memories

Here’s another way that choosing what’s important to you can backfire and cause you to suffer.  We all have painful memories about our pasts, especially when we were young, and if we can’t work through them and transform them, we are destined to remain limited by them. But in order to do this, we have to be willing to face our pains from the past. We have to be willing to bring them into the light, where we can examine them once again as adults and not as helpless children.

Well, what if it’s very important to you to never experience any pain by reliving unhappy moments in your past?  Said another way, what if it’s very important to you to avoid looking at painful memories from your past as much as possible. Can you see how this declaration of importance can diminish your ability to resolve certain types of stressful problems from your past that could be continuing to haunt you today?

There are many other examples I could offer, but perhaps you have some of your own to contribute.  What do you see other people making important that place them at odds with the natural flow of life? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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