HOW BELIEFS AND VALUES INFLUENCE OUR EXPERIENCE OF STRESS
If our own perceptions have such a powerful influence on our stress levels what is it that determines our perceptions? Primarily it is our beliefs that influence what we perceive. These come from our own experience and what we have been taught by others. The beliefs that are responsible for our stress are negative self beliefs. Common ones include believing we are not good enough or attractive enough or believing that we are failures. With the boss asking us to do a project we fear we cannot do it may be our own negative beliefs that blind us to discovering a successful resolution to our dilemma.
Connected to our beliefs are our values which provide the wider context from which we measure everything. Linked to our beliefs and values is what we want. It is not always clear which comes first. Sometimes we give something more value than it deserves because we want it so badly.
When our lives are not congruent with our beliefs and true values this creates stress. By reflecting on our beliefs and values we may discover ways to change or modify our beliefs that do not go against our core values but which enable us to become more loose in the way we see ourselves and our lives. When we look at some of the things we think we want, we may realize it is not always that important to have them. Certainly it is not so important to always insist on having our own way when it creates unbearable levels of stress in our lives. In the end we have to decide whether our personal insistence is worth the cost to us and others.
Often when we do get what we want, it does not really satisfy us as much as we anticipated. It is possible to get hooked on the pursuit of what we want and lose track of what good it will do us. We may also find that the value we give to different areas of our lives is out of balance. We may overvalue some things and undervalue others.