Anger, fear, hostility, depression and stress all have to do with the belief of "I cannot" rather than "I can." All of these negative feelings have to do with the lack of acceptance of the difficulties of life, the need to pursue diligently through those difficulties, the continued determination to do what you can, and accepting what you cannot do or overcome. In life, you may or may not be successful, but you will reduce anger-fear-hostility-depression-stress if you simply accept the limits of reality and continue to try to be as peace-making, friendly, optimistic, hard working, realistic and acceptant as possible. Stress is the anxiety or tension that we allow ourselves to feel about life's difficulties. Accepting difficulties realistically reduces stress. Do persevere, but persevere realistically. You may or may not succeed.
Anger-fear-hostility-depression-stress weaken your immune system, may predispose to heart disease and cancer, probably contribute to osteoporosis, diabetes, and gallstones, and are all unnecessary luxuries permitted only to millionaires who can "afford" to be whatever. As a corollary, never see yourself as a victim unless you are independently wealthy. You and I, humble peasants that we are, must accept the realities of life and as in the line from one of my favorite movies The Outlaw Josey Wales, "endeavor to persevere." Have a good attitude about the future, but do not start off with "I want" or "I hope . . ." Wishing and hoping are like alcohol, they are safe in only small doses. The first mistake is not accepting life for being what it is and setting yourself up to get knocked down when you think you should get or receive better than you have.
Life is not complex. And it need not be complex. What is complex is simply getting people to accept this reality and to change. That's what all "therapy" and support groups are about and is where you end up when you become "well" in any case. All psychotherapy is aimed at getting you to deal effectively with you in your life. "Isn't there something more?" she asked. From above came, "that is the hope, but not the reality." It has been wisely said, "in life there is only room for good thoughts, and everything else is strictly business. In business you make up your mind what you're going to do, do it, and accept the consequences." Hard work and perseverance is what it is all about, with the willful near total avoidance of anger-fear-hostility-depression-stress. Regardless of your feelings, you will eventually deal with things one way or another - so why get excited/upset/anxious, etc.! Decide, choose, experience what happens and learn from it.
From the 07/04/93 Hartford Courant - if you think you have reason to be upset "On the Munda Trail in World War II, jungle growth was so dense that anyone who strayed from the trail vanished in a moment. Rain was constant and heavy. In the sun the jungle hissed. Nothing ever dried, and the mud, rotting plants and stifling stillness left a dank odor drawn moist and warm with every breath... At dark, with the Americans in their foxholes, the enemy imitated bird and animal sounds, or methodically beat ivory sticks together. They called GI's by name, crawled to the edge of American foxholes, tossed grenades and lobbed rocks, freezing terrified soldiers... This morning we again attacked the enemy position on the ridge, a rifleman from Putnam, Connecticut, said in his diary: "We were doing pretty well when our own artillery hit us..." "Last night our foxholes were full of mud. It rained hard and we slept in mud and water. It was cold and miserable."
Think about this and compare it to your current position. Get down on your knees and thank God for how good your life really is - it could be so much worse. And recall that there, but for the grace of God, go you and I.
H. Robert Silverstein, MD