How Can The Individual Cope & Make Changes?
Returning to my DIY problem I telephoned a well-known cleaner manufacturer to confirm how I could remove the cover to repair a broken cable. I was told I could not be given that information due to health and safety; so on I went and after some time I determined how it was assembled, removed the cover and shortened the flex. The job would have been much quicker had I been given the advice. I understand the manufacturer's problem, but regulations, rules and laws have now grown to such a degree that it is assumed that we are incapable of making risk decisions of our own.
Most of the things around our home are also not repairable by ourselves now, as they need to be made cheaper and more complicated to appeal to the fashion conscious amongst us. We are also some of the very people who are contributing to this way of life, by the job that we do, which we need to do to pay others to maintain our equipment and so the cycle goes on, getting increasingly tight and frenetic as time marches on.
The pressures on the individual whilst many and varied, have differing levels of affect depending upon the person's makeup. I do not wish to repeat here what has been written in other publications except to advise that for most individuals it means taking back control of your life. This control is something that is not immediately obvious until quietly thought about. However it is most important to be able to say "No" to any demands for effort, or thought, unless you are capable of carrying them out or really wish to do so. This is far more difficult than initially appears as there is usually pressure immediately applied on you to carry the demands out. A golden rule here is: 'Do not give an excuse', as this merely complicates the issue. If possible admit that at present you feel unable to cope. This is not a weakness but will show itself to you eventually as strength.
For example if you are constantly asked to baby-sit by friends or relatives but this is placing excess domestic demands upon you, then unwittingly other people are controlling your time. Also this can be done quite innocently by friends etc. who invite you out to social events where a little forward planning can avoid a calendar that is too crammed. This should ensure that you have time just to be yourself and relax. Most of the demands will be for your time, but some will be for decisions requiring some analysis that will also take time. Usually we have tried to cram too much into a day without any margin of time for ourselves so the bottom line is to reduce a lot of things we have been doing.
I cringe now whenever I get a questionnaire to complete, especially when it says 'this will only take x minutes of your time'. This is because usually they are either asking questions that the professional carrying out the work should know or they want me as a contact. So these go in the bin - time saved! As a neighbourhood Watch Co-ordinator, I once had a questionnaire from the local Chief Constable asking me how I thought the police should be organised. This implied that I knew how they were structured and could offer an educated suggestion. As I had no intention of spending my time bringing my level of knowledge on this to that of a Police Officer, or that of a member of the local Police Committee, I declined. I saved my time to apply to other things I wanted to do but also I hopefully saved some other professional's time by not supplying erroneous comments. Which if they had no intention of considering why send out such a questionnaire in the first place!
These sorts of response are usually labelled 'being rather negative'. However this is all part of the strategy to make a person feel guilty and submit to a request. Far from being negative the response is a positive step in self-preservation. I have focussed so far mainly on time and to overcome this it is sensible to use a diary, calendar or organiser to ensure that a master diary exists that contains your personal and perhaps family appointments. This should ensure that any anxiety a person is faced with is directed through their diary and hopefully reduced.
Stressful anxiety can also be directed at us from other pressures other than the use of our time. The peer pressure to maintain the same fashion trend and the related expense is much stronger today than in the past due to the successful application of sales analysis on the various weaknesses of our human nature. Developing a strong inner nature or self-confidence to resist these pressures and appear to be standing alone is almost impossible for some people and here it is essential that Government and other authorities take early blanket steps to stop these pressures.
Sadly our society has become so focussed on what can be gained tomorrow, by discarding what we have today, that this is why we are all pressured to embrace change; but this change is abstract and so artificial. Some computer magazines used to say don't bother to update your PC if it does what you want it to do - now we are all persuaded that what we wanted our PC to do is unfashionable so we need to change anyway - sorry, No - No - No!
So some quick tips to avoid these sorts of pressures are: Don't regularly buy a newspaper, or only occasionally if you must, in this way you will avoid reading about all those things happening in the world that don't affect you and you can do very little directly about anyway. Avoid those TV programmes that do their utmost to get you to "tell us what you think about this, or that, problem by texting etc. etc." it will only make you realise that you have wasted some valuable time like playing with the children, and additionally take you away from a topic you have absolutely no control over anyway. It was also done to make the presenters look good on their ratings and possibly raise some money (high premium rate telephone lines) for a doubtful cause run by some people who needed very inflated egos satisfied. Plus the fact the children you have ignored have now buried their heads in a rather abstract computer game and shut themselves away from the real world while all sorts of interesting wildlife activity is happening in the garden that could have shown them how interesting and powerful nature really is. Very little in our negative media is about where you are and how you can appreciate life around you. So to survive you need to carefully pick what you read and what you see. It is wise to only contemplate those things over which you have any direct control. When you really think about it there is very little that falls into this sphere apart from those day-to-day things that affect your function of living. This sphere is quite small and would be considered by some to be boring. However, compared with the abstract distractions that are presented by some media this sphere is a very solid starting point from which to look out from.
Let's take an example of an everyday situation in the house. A meal needs to be prepared and some lampshades bought. First you have been persuaded to buy a complex food mixer that is supposed to do everything apart from eat the meal and use a lot of natural resource energy along the way. After the mixer has been used all the parts need to be washed and the rather large unit needs to be put away. If you decide that you haven't got time to clean it you risk future food poisoning and also you have to make space for the beast. So you need time to dismantle the tool and need to spend money on a large enough kitchen to store it. Oh! and you still need to go to the shops to buy those lampshades.
The most expensive ones will enable friends and relatives to be told " and they were so expensive"! At the end of this exercise you have spent much money, involved yourself in a lot of time and achieved little self satisfaction apart from the vanity.
This can be difficult as most commercial pressures are made by some of the very people who we would consider to be your neighbours or friends. The difference is that they are acting very deceitfully, in their work environment, by pressurising you in order to further their own career, or up their sales ratings. This is often referred to as "just doing my job". This is one of the worst forms of deceit in our society as it means that you are not sure you could trust this person in other ways as a neighbour.
A lot of our present activities are distractions from pressures that are attempting to take control of our lives in some way. These pressures come in the form of banks pushing to lend us money we don't really need, companies trying to sell us goods we don't really need, children pestering us to have things that they don't really need, etc. etc. Here I always put the emphasis on need rather than want, and by taking control of ones life looking at your everyday needs.
So until the other aspects of our society are peeled-back to enable our lives to become calmer and less stressed - for our own individual survival - we need to pull into the slow lane of life's motorway. We also need to resist the pressure to step on the accelerator until those in the overtaking lane realise that up ahead the lane is blocked by others who have hit the central reservation and left the world altogether; or that the cost of energy is such that the price of their speed is too high. The increases in our adverse stress levels are becoming more apparent at work - or is this an illusion?
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Material Copyright © 2009 Alan Harmer.
Last Updated November 2009