TENSION IS BEHIND ALL OUR STRESS—this is a conglomeration of both positive (eustress) and negative (distress) tension, for example, excitement versus despair. All tension—not simply the negative tension—needs to be managed so we can live peacefully. It’s no good being inspired and passionate all the time; we’d only end up as tired, worn-out wrecks, eventually!
Tension is a necessary “given” in life—it motivates and inspires us. It fears us too and we make a lot of our choices because of tension. It’s a condition of living.
Thinking and feeling necessitates the forming of judgments and we can’t help perceive things with our senses and instincts—these feed our tension, winding us up.
But tension needn’t run rampant.
The only way to manage and reduce tension is through self-awareness i.e. identification, and action via self-discipline. Whilst tension can be a good thing, extended exploitation of positive tension can have a negative affect sooner or later.
Balance is always good.
Tension tends to be systemic. In other words, there are “patterns” of tension unique to each of us, direct from both our sources of joy and torment. Our “signature” is written all over us; this is a very hard thing to pull away from.
Life is hence about identifying our most individualised patterns of tension as a way of planning “beyond” them, into a space of peace-filled rectitude. In this position we know ease of soul.
The issue of reduction, particularly regarding negative tension, is really about working out the optimal amount of tension. Negative tension comes to us at times—this we cannot avoid. But we never encourage it. Simply reflecting on our sources of negative tension and passionately avoiding our attraction of it—those are two very good activities, right there!
Positive tension reduction is different. It is best that we become “burst” players. Sent into the field of action for the equivalent of a 10-minute burst per quarter, then we retire for rest and humble reflection for the remainder of that portion of time.
We therefore attend in life to do the best good whilst we engage, then we remove ourselves from sight—just long enough to reduce the tension and regain our humility. It’s “win” for us and “win” for them, always.
Too much positive tension means we begin to live upon our resources of adrenalin—this is not the way we were designed. It is an over-exploitation of our capacities and it will end poorly for us if we continue.
Life is finding the balance—our unique, meaningful, God-assisted balance.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.