The opposite of stress is purpose.

My experience of stress–at least the lose-sleep-at-night-and-eat-your-feelings kind of stress–is that it visits me when I’m afraid of failing and afraid of letting people down, afraid of disappointing people. There is no technical fix for that; you can’t drink enough water or eat enough vegetables to conquer that. It’s not a technical problem.

That kind of stress is a spiritual problem. Can we experiment with translating our fear into purpose? Instead of chewing my nails off because I’m worried about a deadline, can I find what I love about the project that’s due, why I’m even doing it, and feel free to produce something that reflects what I love about it?

That feels like such a luxury, a privilege even. Maybe it is. But the stoic acceptance of eat-yourself-inside-out stress as an indicator of significance will kill us. Worse, it will leave all those people we’re worried about letting down in the lurch.

The opposite of stress isn’t relaxation. It’s purpose.

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