Psychology: “Anyone who sees stress as a status symbol has a big problem”

I’m so stressed out! And only me! Is stress becoming a status symbol? Please don’t, advises therapist Andrea vorm Walde and explains the difference between positive and negative stress.

I never get out of the office before 6:30 p.m.! Neither do I – and then I still have to go shopping! So I can only do it later! There is so much to do right now, I didn’t even manage to take a break! And I didn’t even have time to eat!

Take a deep breath. I don’t know about you guys, but dialogues like this are no stranger to me. In fact, I’ve heard it quite a lot in the last few years of my career. At some point between school and their first job, the words stress and success converged, got married and are now unwilling to admit that they actually don’t go together at all. Perhaps they have even reproduced, giving birth to children like overtime and tension that annoy us, but somehow also belong to the family. That’s life, isn’t it?

Higher, faster, more stressed

Stress has taken root in our society. And we made it comfortable for him, after all, he is the basis of numerous yoga and mindfulness courses, gratitude diaries and meditations. We do gymnastics, knit, write, breathe – and adapt to the stress instead of throwing it out.

Sometimes we may even look up to him secretly. After all, the stress shows us that we are getting the most out of everything, right? Live properly, run, build a career. Except that the former usually goes down. And sooner, but mostly later, we realize that this toxic relationship with stress is somehow not good for us. That doesn’t mean that we want to break away from him.

Andrea also knows that in front of the forest. As a psychoological consultant and coach, she often has to deal with couples like these, patients who seem to come to the practice on their own with their complaints, but have their partner’s stress in tow. If they don’t even notice it, it becomes difficult for the therapist: “If people see stress as a status symbol, then of course they have a problem – because they will intervene much, much later, because the stress is desired,” says Andrea, die usually only gets to face these people when the relationship has already borne fruit: “That means, one can actually assume that at some point they will get a physical reaction that they can no longer avoid.”

Actually, people always tell you what stresses them out. I find the opposite interesting.

These can be typical stress symptoms such as inner restlessness, tension, headache or stomach ache. Often the main task of the therapist is to play a detective: “I often have patients here who talk about a problem – but do not even notice that there is a completely different stress factor that is not even discussed”, she tells me. Then you have to slowly work on creating an awareness of stress in your own life again – and what really triggers it.

Because not all stress is bad per se. Often, however, we humans get lost in our busy schedule, so that at some point we no longer even recognize which things are really bothering us. That’s why Andrea tries a different approach in her practice: “I find it very interesting to look: What doesn’t stress someone? Actually, people always tell you what stresses them out. I find the opposite interesting.”

For example, if a patient feels overwhelmed at work, only comes into the office with stomach pains and leaves the office late, this can mean negative stress. However, if the person spends the same amount of time caring for their sick grandmother, which means physical and psychological exertion, this activity may be perceived as less stressful despite the same stress. On the contrary, if you still shine after such a day, that means for Andrea: “Then I know: The person feels that taking care of things is totally stress-free, they even love it.”

It is a big mistake to think that rest is generally good for us.

In this way, everyone can find out for themselves what the real sources of stress are in life – and how we can reduce them without having to put another mandatory date on our calendar. Because a big myth would lurk here: “It is a big mistake to think that rest is generally good for us. It is not good for everyone, but people have to see where their area of ​​activity is, which inspires them and where they bloom. “

Anyone who consciously does nothing at all for a weekend after a stressful week can emerge from it more stressed than before – if they can, for example, recharge them much better through outdoor activities or social events. So energy sources can be found out as well as stress factors. And in the end it is also these that make us human. And not the competition for the highest stress level.


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