When we’re considering the true nature of stress and if we’ll like to take a deep look, a deep analysis of why are people stressed to begin with? We’ll quickly discover something that most people won’t like to admit and that stress is just a fancy word for fear. 

Stress is fear of negative outcomes

Most people who are often stressed will say, “Of course not, of course I’m not afraid, I am just stressed,” because being afraid has the connotation of like being weak or like those people who tend to break easily. And so people prefer not using this word, they prefer using the word “I’m stressed” because they consider themselves as people who achieve, as people who grow, as people who have the ability to carry a lot of weight. And so they call it stress. But we have to realize that stress is basically fear and with no fear, there is never stress. Every single time we’re stressed, there’s always something that scares us. There’s always a negative future we’re trying to avoid. Stress is a sort of a motivational reaction of the body of the brain. 

The main purpose of it is to help us avoid danger, avoid negative futures. So when we perceive the future as having some negative impact on us and we don’t want to say “We’re afraid that this and this and this  is going to happen,” then I’ll say, “I’m stressed because of the deadline.” We’re never stressed because of a deadline. We’re only stressed because we’re afraid that we’re not going to meet the deadline. When we have a 100% certainty that we’re going to do everything before the deadline and everything is going to be great. We’re not stressed about the deadline.

This is why many people have this loop of procrastination, where we’re not stressed, we have certainty that we can meet some deadline at work or at school, for example. And we simply procrastinate and procrastinate until the very last moment and in the very last moment, we start to have some fear that maybe we will not be able to do it on time. And then we’re getting stressed. 

So stress is some sort of motivation that we put on ourselves to avoid negative outcomes, to avoid fear. But basically, we have to understand that every single time we’re stressed is because we are afraid of something. If I’m stressed because I have a lot of things at work and it’s because I’m afraid that something bad can happen at work, if I have a lot of tasks, let’s say I have like 80 hours worth of tasks and only 40 hours in the week, will I be stressed?

The answer is not necessarily. If I’m afraid that something bad is going to happen, if I will not complete everything I have to do, then of course, I’ll be stressed. If I’m afraid that my boss will be mad at me, if I’m afraid that my clients will leave me, if I’m afraid that I’ll criticize myself even then I’ll be stressed. If I know that, I have three times more stuff to do than the time to do them and everything’s fine. And if I do the top third, then everything is going to be great and I won’t be stressed. Just the amount of tasks I have to do will never cause stress. Stress is only caused when I have fear of what will happen if I will not complete those tasks. 

Fear of people

Also, if you consider stress about relationship stress. People say “This person is stressing me. They’re always asking me to do so much stuff. They’re always mad at me. They’re always behaving in this negative nature.” If this person doesn’t scare you, then the fact that he is constantly asking than the fact that he is constantly mad at you won’t put you in stress and this is something we have to face, even us as grown ups, as mature people, as people with a lot of self awareness, many times we are afraid of people.

And we are afraid of so-called people we really like. We’re afraid of their reactions, we’re afraid of their emotions, we’re afraid of them and this is the cause of stress. So why are we even having this conversation? We’re having this conversation because if fear is the root of all stress, instead of trying to control stress, instead of trying to manage stress, instead of, like what we’re going to do in the next part of the of the talk that we will actually go over habits that will make us less stressed or being able to handle more stress maybe if we can become less fearful, less stress is actually going to be generated in our lives to begin with. 

Why is it that very “successful” people tend to be very stressed? Because they are afraid or are very afraid or terrified of what will happen if they won’t be successful. If they don’t achieve so high, they have super high expectations of themselves and this is what sometimes makes them have more material success but also has the price of having a lot of stress. So if we can become less fearful, we can become less stressed. In other words, if we can become more confident, we can have less stress. 

Two types of fear | Survival fear

Basically speaking, human beings have two main types of fear. The first type of fear is survival. You’re walking down the street and you see a car driving your way and you can’t see any signs of it braking or something, you’re afraid, you have to believe that this car may crash into you. This is a survival kind of fear, like 2000 years ago, 500 years ago, we were working in the jungle and the lion would come up and roar at us. That’s survival fear. Thinking that we will not…. Some modern fears are based on survival. For example, some people do believe that, for example,

if they will not get this promotion at work or if they will get fired, they won’t have anything to eat. So though their financial fears are becoming survival fears. But in most of modern society, survival is very easy. Even if we don’t have a lot of money in the Western world, people are not hanged for having debt. People are not going to the electric chair for not paying their bills. And basically, people will always have enough money to eat. 

Two types of fear | Social fear

So for most of us, 99% of the stress we’re facing is rooted in the second type of fear, which is social fear. And social fears come in many shapes or forms. And they feel just like the survival ones. We, as human beings have the need to be accepted in society, in each and every one of us has their own beliefs and ideas and perceptions about what kind of person will be accepted into society. This is why so many people are so busy at Keeping up with the Joneses about making sure that they’re having the right place, the right home, they’re having the right clothes, they are driving the right car, they’re having the right behaviors. Not because they actually need all those things but because they want to be accepted. They want to be a part of society.

Very high achieving people, many times have the belief that in order to be accepted into society, they need to have major material success. They believe that in order to be liked, in order to be loved, in order to be accepted they must have a lot of money, for example or they must be very nice to other people. Those people will be very stressed about their careers and those people will be very stressed about their relationships. Because whenever they will face a situation in which they will consider being less nice, more blunt, for example, more honest, to set boundaries, to say no then they’ll have the fear of being rejected from society, have been rejected by the people they love and this fear is very real. Feels very real.  

In a very deep manner, of course, it is. In a very deep manner because people need company. But in today’s world, we have so many people around us, there are so many groups of people around us, it’s not like we’re going to stay lonely forever because we said something that someone didn’t like or stuff like that. So, it’s biologically rooted in survival fear as well and this is why it feels just like survival. But social. It’s social. So this is why so many of us experienced stress on a day to day basis. Even though we’re not faced with survival decisions on a day to day basis, we’re simply faced with decisions that might change the way or this is what we are afraid that will happen. They will change the way people perceive us and therefore they’ll reject us. 

Now, being able to actually admit it to oneself, first and foremost, to be able to say to myself, “I am not making this conversation, because I’m afraid that this person won’t like me and leave me” is somewhat difficult to do emotionally. But the faster we’ll actually understand that this is exactly what blocks us and for most people the number one cause of stress in their lives, even most stress in the workplace is actually built on relationships. “My boss will be disappointed in me.” “So what?” Whenever we want to find the root cause of your stress, ask yourself, “So what?” “I’m not going to have the deadline on time, I’m stressed about deadlines.” “So what?” What can possibly happen if you miss the deadline? Not because you actually want to be numb about it or you want to be lazy or something like that, of course not. Just in order to be more self aware. 

Hey, it’s Gal Tzhayek. Thank you for watching this video. If you liked it, please press the thumbs up button. And you can also subscribe to the channel. Make sure you get notified each and every time a new video is uploaded. I’d like to hear your questions and review in the comment section below. And I’ll see you in one of those new videos.