Ever felt stressed? You know, the whole waking up in the middle of the night because you worry so much, losing sleep over work, forgetting the most basic things like eating, and that slight tremor in your hands because of endless amounts of coffee? Or you know, just the right amount of stress to set you in that competitive mode that fuels you up and increases your productivity, but stress nonetheless?

Yeah. You’re not alone.

We may joke about it, but at the end of the day we have to face the facts – we’re the stressed out generation, believe it or not. The left out generation that grew up playing in the streets with scraped knees and rosy cheeks until your mom called you in for dinner. The in-between generation that watched the internet evolve in front of our eyes, remember playing solitaire on your PC and then later trying to make time go slower when you got that one hour of internet to play online games and chat on MSN? The they’ll-be-okay generation that got lost in translation and your performance is just not good enough, I’m sorry miss, but you have to have more than a degree to get a proper job that might later feed your kids, you want a house? Yeah, take a mortgage, get in line, we’ll get to you in due time.

They say that comparison will kill you – so why are we trying so desperately to kill ourselves while we aim to survive? You go to school, you get your grades but someone’s better than you, and it should fuel you, shouldn’t it? You go online to escape the real world but someone’s escaping it better than you in turquoise water – let’s not even get into body image and body positivity, in the end the reflection you see in the mirror isn’t yours anymore, it’s the things you lack. We compare ourselves to others, to the images that others have of us time and time again, like we’ve been trained to do it. And then we look up meditation techniques and mindfulness advice and just anything, anything to heal our mind, a manual to help us stay present, stay in the moment, help us live even though by default that’s what we were born to do.

The body’s response to acute stress is fight or flight. It’s your animalistic instinct to defend yourself against something that could harm you. A little stress is good, but everyone has a tipping point and by increasing it, aren’t we just harming ourselves? We’re defying the rules of medicine, where you apply pressure to an open wound so as to not lose volume. What we’re doing instead goes against the instinct of survival: by applying pressure we’re only losing volume, losing ourselves.

It’s not a matter of  strength, even diamonds, known to be unbreakable, can crack if the conditions are right (no but seriously, there are places in diamonds where the atoms are less tightly bonded together and that can happen). It’s a matter of matter – how much volume you lose or keep while having the same mass. It’s a matter of try. It’s a matter of want. And don’t let anyone tell you you’re doing it wrong. There’s no manual on how to live, you just have to dive and trust that you’ll swim.  



Text: Maja Podojsteršek

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