How to Have as Much Stress as Possible!

by Mike McGarry

Nothing better than stress, right? Well, OK, maybe not. Just about everybody in our modern world has too much stress and would like less.

Stress can often arises our busy lives. Since we juggle keeping up with school, working long hours at our jobs, maintaining meaningful relationships, and more, who can blame us? It causes us worry, panic, and even physical symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, stomach aches, and more.

Stress is a normal part of modern life, and one that is quite challenging to eliminate altogether. But there are definitely things we all do that cause us to have even more.

In this post, we decided to take a playful approach to this important issue. As promised in the title, below you will find a list of 100+ things that genuinely can increase your stress. While you may get a chuckle here and there, a somewhat more sobering assessment would be to note how many of these you actually do on a daily basis—we all do at least some of these sometimes!

If you are honest with yourself, how many of these stress-causers play a role in your life?

1. breathe in frenetic short bursts and gasps only
2. keep you muscles locked in tension
3. wear uncomfortable clothes and footwear
4. slouch
5. avoid exercise
6. avoid stretching
7. pursue torpor as ongoing physical state
8. stay inside as much as possible
9. eat junk food
10. eat fast food
11. consume high fructose corn syrup as much as possible
12. gulp food down while distracted by other things
13. skimp on sleep, getting your pep from energy drinks
14. smoke
15. use illegal drugs
16. never drink water
17. never eat fresh fruits & veggies
18. never eat organic
19. complain
20. worry
21. be consistently late
22. underestimate the times of trips
23. underestimate the effort in tasks
24. plan poorly, if at all
25. be unprepared
26. routinely fear the worst
27. actively imagine all the terrible things in life that could happen to you
28. give full credence to any half-baked apocalyptic scenario of doom that you encounter
29. see yourself as a victim of circumstances
30. overestimate threats
31. overestimate risks
32. overvalue pain
33. undervalue love
34. underestimate your inherent fortitude
35. underestimate the people in your life
36. look for the bad in people
37. look for the depressing in situations
38. be painfully serious about everything in your life
39. don’t laugh—unless it’s in bitter sarcasm
40. don’t smile
41. pride yourself on your suffering
42. interpret your pain as something that isolates you from others
43. be impatient
44. be judgmental
45. be dogmatic
46. be perfectionistic
47. be dismissive
48. be suspicious of anyone who is joyful
49. be suspicious of innocence
50. be suspicious of genuine warmth
51. avoid eye contact
52. avoid open-ended curiosity
53. avoid wonder
54. don’t adjust what you say or do in differing contexts
55. blame
56. hold grudges
57. forgive no one ever
58. be defensive
59. be easily offended
60. remember pain
61. remember unfortunate chance events
62. forget fortunate chance events
63. forget favors
64. forget joy
65. take responsibility for nothing
66. don’t show anyone your true feelings
67. make people guess what’s important to you—don’t tell them! let them figure it out!
68. lie
69. don’t trust
70. don’t be vulnerable with anyone
71. maintain a persona completely different from who you are
72. misrepresent yourself to those who would accept you
73. suspect the worst of everyone else’s motives
74. interpret interpersonal ambiguity in a way that is specifically hurtful to you
75. avoid all conflict
76. be passive-aggressive
77. cheat on your lover
78. cheat on your income tax
79. cheat in your academic/professional life
80. keep no track of your finances
81. be penny-wise and pound-foolish
82. have a job you hate
83. have a daily commute that you hate
84. bottle up your feelings
85. practice denial (there’s no problem with that river in Egypt!)
86. in romance, use arguments as the only means of generating passion
87. feed boredom with distractions
88. feed loneliness with gratification
89. avoid silence
90. appreciate nothing
91. be grateful for nothing
92. focus all your happiness outside of yourself
93. focus all your dreams outside of the present moment
94. pine for circumstances utterly unlike those in which you find yourself
95. play lots of video games
96. see lots of action movies
97. watch lots of TV
98. listen only to loud intense music with a room-rattling beat
99. pursue adrenaline-drenched thrills
100. shove an electronic device in your face as soon as you wake up in the morning
101. walk through the world with your face buried in an electronic device
102. give alternative reality a level of attention never given to actual reality
103. avoid time in Nature
104. never look at the sky
105. never look at flowers
106. never smell flowers
107. never listen to birds
108. never listen to flowing water
109. never hug
110. never get a massage
111. avoid children at play
112. completely ignore the inevitables of life
113. hold on to any philosophical/religions messages that make you feel bad for having a human body
114. hold on to any philosophical/religions messages that make you feel bad for having human emotions
115. hold on to any philosophical/religions messages that make you feel bad for having ordinary human imperfections
116. attach excessive undue importance to round numbers (age, salary, weight, etc.)

This post was originally posted here.

Mike McGarry is one of the Directors of the East Bay Healing Collective. He facilitates the Monday night Heart of Light meditation each week.