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Ruta Mave: Reduce stress: Lower your expectations

Monday 25 September 2023 | Written by Ruta Tangiiau Mave | Published in Editorials, Opinion


Ruta Mave: Reduce stress:  Lower your  expectations

One way I find to reduce stress levels is to reduce my levels of expectation. For the most part people don’t know or see the difference between very good and perfection in the production of goods and services, writes Ruta Mave.

Stress is a killer. It comes in many forms and it eats away at you until you are driven to despair. There are many signs of stress such as being irritable angry, impatient or wound up. Being over-burdened or overwhelmed, anxious, nervous or afraid. It can be like your thoughts are racing and you can’t switch off which can cause you to be unable to enjoy yourself, be depressed, uninterested in life and feel like you have lost your sense of humour.

What’s stressful and depressing is it’s basically an everyday description of motherhood or general life for people surviving pay check to pay check.

Other red flags for stress include: changes in eating habits, difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, significant mood changes including depression, anxiety, panic or anger, demonstrating violent behaviours or utilising alcohol, marijuana or prescription drugs to deal with stress. Well, that just described menopause and menstruation for half the population who carry on doing their daily tasks raising their family and looking after their elderly, constantly under these enormous pressures.

The trouble with stress and maintaining this level of distress is it has physical consequences that can affect your heart. The strange result of which if you go to a doctor with such symptoms, they will order you to undergo a ‘stress’ test. They make you exercise while hooked up to machines that beep. No surprises when your stress test comes back positive.

It is the constant expectation to exercise and eat healthy and drink moderately and act calmly while talking to your spouse and children – not react wildly like a mad woman that has you slumped stressed on the couch with a box of chocolates and a chardonnay in the first place.

Holistically you can be told to reduce stress by remaining calm, one sure way to fire up a woman who has lost the plot is to tell her to remain calm while she is in the middle of a tirade. Good luck with that.

Go for a walk they say, that’s exercise, do yoga – exercise, meditation – exercise. Yes, it is, have you tried to sit still while your legs are wrapped up like a pretzel and empty your mind of thoughts? It is exhausting and stressful. Lots of thoughts hidden away come poking out of their holes and invade the space you are trying to clear. And when they say to empty your mind, you remember you forgot to empty the dishwasher, empty the washing machine and put out the rubbish bins with all the empty wine bottles. 

Other holistic remedies are: be grateful for what you have, knowing there are people in the world worse off than you. You live in a tropical paradise with fresh natural air, an abundance of food dropping off trees that surround you, sand covered beaches and a blue lagoon. How can you be stressed?

One way I find to reduce stress levels is to reduce my levels of expectation. For the most part people don’t know or see the difference between very good and perfection in the production of goods and services. That is why people buy fake Rolex watches, Jimmy Choo’s shoes or Louis Vuitton bags. Who? Producing perfection is extremely stressful.

Levels of expectation can differ depending on your perspective. The airline pilot with an excellent level of performance delivery will give you an exceptional flight experience than the pilot whose attitude is – every landing you walk away from is a good one. If you set your expectations to the latter, you will be grateful and think every cheap airline landing experience to be amazing.

I certainly have learnt the art of lowered expectations living in Paradise. After all it is supposed to be warm and it’s not right now if only there was such a thing as climate change. But hey in New Zealand they are having snow sleet and floods while we have wind chill factor of 20C. We have $1.7 million of unnecessary electric cars coming for the Pacific Islands Forum with the promise of resale to recoup the money. Papua New Guinea bought 40 Maserati’s for $12 million for their 2018 Apec meeting and have sold two. We have various Members of Parliament charged in court while America has an ex-President making millions from his mug shot when arrested and charged in Georgia.

I look expectantly at our parliamentarians to do good or do better because they by right of election certainly not by an earnt right have the title ‘honourable MP’. My dissatisfaction is from their inability to deliver. If we lower our expectations and swap the pretext from ‘honourable’ to ‘entitled’ then we will be less stressed when they act accordingly.