stress bugs

feel free to click the thumbnails, to enlarge …

So there is this edgy feeling,
and whoisbert thinks,
“what is this?
it feels like anxiety,
it must be stress.”
Yes, we get better
in identifying the bugs.

The Ramsay meter pointing to 100. Why?
This is a good thing: reading the Ramsay meter.

So I write down my thoughts in a diary …
and while writing, I notice the previous page
from a fortnight ago,
saying exactly the same thing …

“There is anxiety and stress — although the need is little … “

Now that is weird.
And 14 days ago
it was also about work
… duties
… an innate fear of
not having prepared myself enough.

But …, there really is no reason to worry at all.
This work is close to routine.
I don’t really have to prepare.
I know what I’m going to do.

So, where is this groove in my brain coming from, why is it there, and how to get rid of it?

Where it comes from:
school and the endless tests and exams
for which I never prepared,
or always procrastinated
till the last moment,
… and sometimes I failed.

This itself being the consequence of
never having had to do much
to pass, before.

Why is it still there:
I still do not prepare in time too often,
and one can always do more than what one has done already.

How to get rid of it 1:
seeing the futility of “one can always do more”
which is a crazy thought and leading to fear.

How to get rid of it 2:
Prepare in time,
scheduling in a correct way
with enough space to cope with ‘unplanned’ things.

How to get rid of it 3:
Not giving unnecessary time
to unimportant unplanned things
Not waiting to start the tasks that are waiting,
even if they are still far in the future.
[making a schedule and sticking to it,
and realising that this will make me a happier person,
having done all i could, and giving me real free time
without worries, stress, anxiety or fear]

How to get rid of it 4:
Just do something on the job
and see where this leads to.

Do these 4 points remove the stress-groove?
Not exactly, unfortunately …

These deep and very old grooves
will only slowly erode
when having experienced the
stress-free reward
of having done all I could,
many, many times
in a long row.


Pictures by bvdb (whoisbert) january 2014 – @waterforest – Canon Ixus HS230 – IMG 5518-5519-5797

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21 thoughts on “stress bugs

  1. Interesting post! The “Just do something on the job” resonates with me. I think it depends on where you start from. I had rather been an over-preparer ever since – too early, too much, too perfectionist. I blame it on the way scientific papers are created in academia – in endless modifications of miniscule details…

    When I was really stressed out as a consultant my manager told me I should simply stop preparing and show up at a customer’s site even if if consider myself totally unprepared. This was an eye-opening experience as the feedback was as good as ever.

    I am not sure if this can be related to your situation – but I think it is often surprising what other people actually think and what they (would) consider “good enough”.

    So probably you are just too modest in assessing what you are capable of even if you are “unprepared”?

    • Krueger and Dunning … about the miscalculation of self by those who know nearly nothing, and the miscalculation of others when we know something.

      This morning I prepared an online course: I got new slides and had to put new timing on them. If you only get one hour, such is critical.

      Previous two weeks I taught networking to unemployed people, and never prepared. There is enough time during their labs and exercises.

      Tomorrow, I’ll go and tinker on a petabyte machine. That stresses me, don’t know how to prepare, and probably can’t perpare for it at all. That is the negative power of the unknown. But if I see it as a WoW, I can finally have fun on a petabyte machine, there would be no stress, only adventure. Now it’s too late to prepare for it, and my freedom of thought has returned: it will be an adventure!

  2. We are very different, but touch on similar subjects, from time to time. This post brings up a point that is, I think, common to all humans. This unsettling stress, fear, anxiety, whatever it is – has been described by philosophers as “existential angst.” Perhaps that’s an apt description. Yet getting to the bottom of it, whenever possible, I am certain holds clues to our enlightenment. Good post.

    • Thank You. I feel the origin of my stress coming from childhood, but the origin of fear is well beyond that. Existential angst might well be the best description.

  3. i would have to agree on the subject of post, nonetheless i never really got spend that much time in school do to choices by myself and others.

  4. “Stress bugs” is brilliant… works on so many levels. And I love the Ramsay meter. I had a code purple early AM for a few reasons and kept my cool until a plumbing problem and the inability to communicate the reality of the situation to my husband who awoke in code red, brought on raised voices. The fight not to let this happen seems impossible.

    But I remember reading somewhere I cannot for dear life remember that habits are actually grooves in the brain, perhaps the brain wave path. Perhaps you wrote about neural pathways and the example, I believe, was in reference to a habit like smoking.

    Anyhow, a great post.

  5. I think that concentrating on improving our schedule and finding ways to relieve stress by better planning is certainly helpful. But I have found that it is easy to get caught up in planning to a point where it too becomes a big part of the stress. At least with me, there has to be a fine line. I hope your anxiety eases soon Bert xx

    • Hi Carla. Good to see you!
      Recognizing it, writing about it, … reduces it to its real proportions. Tomorrow is another day. Another day to learn.
      Schedules: I barely make any – sometimes a todo list, and then 2 years later I find it back with still two or three things to be done.
      Well, I don’t exactly behave like Rabbit in Winnie the Pooh. 🙂 Perhaps I’m somewhere in between Winnie and Piglet.

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