Stress of Expectations: Finding Joy in Each Moment

June 14, 2014

June’s Theme is Less Stress, Greater Joy

Overlooking the ocean that is less than 300 feet away, facing east the thought this morning was to wake up and watch the sunrise. It just so happens to be overcast this morning, misty, and windy. I woke up expecting to see the sunrise, and when I saw the clouds, I realized how much we put our faith and stock in the weather. And when it doesn’t perform to our exact liking, we get mad, or anxious, or concerned, angered and frustrated. We can relate all of this to things in our lives. If you have certain expectations that things are supposed to happen a certain way, and then they don’t, you can become very frustrated and stressed. Anger, resentment, worry, fear, all those things are stress triggers. If you go about your day living with that kind of attitude, it just fuels your body’s response to all those stressors and creates unhealthy living. This quote is apropos for this morning: “Do not worry about whether or not the sun will rise. Be prepared to enjoy it.”


        Why worry if the sun doesn’t rise? Now, we all know that the sun will rise every day, even though it is clouded and misty. We are aware of this blazing heavenly star. Even through the clouds and mist, it still exists. Setting every night; rising every morning. How often do you get caught up in expectations or frustrations? Thinking that life is supposed to go a certain way. Thinking that if it doesn’t, it’s wrong. Worry sets in. Fear sets in. Stress and anxiety set in. If we view this quote as a metaphor, then the sun is equal to what we want to happen. If the sun (or what we want to happen) doesn’t rise (doesn’t happen) then we apply all those frustrations into our life. The stress starts to weigh on us. We feel in in our bodies, in our reactions and actions. Stress has the ability to consume us.


          You should enjoy life as it comes to you. That is not to say that you sit on your hind quarters all day waiting for things to happen. It is good to set goals. It is good to have dreams and visions and want to achieve things. There are two schools of thought on this. You see, there is a divine fate and a self destiny. We have control over one of them. The choices we make in lives are ours for the choosing. The former is beguiling and misunderstood and often misinterpreted or misrepresented. I won’t go into detail about divine fate today. I will save that one for a future post. But I can write about the choices that we make and what affect they have on us. Be active in life and experience all it has to offer. Be present in each and every moment. There is beauty in everything, even if it’s not according to our wills or our plans. Be prepared to enjoy life as it comes. Let go of the outcome. The outcome can be anything. Just because you have your dream job or married your best friend doesn’t mean that tomorrow you might lose your job or get a divorce. I am not trying to be morose I am just trying to explain that we cannot control our future. We don’t know how things will happen. So it’s good when you don’t put much stock in things that are out of your control…mainly, your sunrise. Instead just take each moment as it comes and find joy in that. You will see it lessens stress tremendously in your life.


         There will always be life lessons unfolding along your path. If you are aware and present in each of these lessons that you can gather some wisdom and knowledge for your life that will help you to deal with things better. You can lessen your stress. You can live in joy. You can enjoy life each and every day. Having a positive attitude will take you into moments in life with a bit more preparedness. Taking good care of your health, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, physically; these matter to the levels of stress in your life exponentially. When you come to the realization that maybe things aren’t going according to your plans then you can take a step back and examine life for what it is and what it offers and counteract the stress in your life with the joy you can receive with taking care of yourself. Looking at life through a good attitude, a positive mindset, feeling comfortable with yourself and spirituality will propel you to greater joy. Good intentions means letting go of the outcome. Decide to enjoy whatever is in that moment. I could have been down and depressed that I didn’t get to see the sunrise this morning after I built up the expectation in my mind last night. I could have come out to my porch and stomped my foot. But I didn’t. I am enjoying the breeze. I am enjoying the fine fingers of mist on my face. There are a few birds chirping lovely songs. I am enjoying this moment; even if it’s not what I expected. If I chose to be upset, my body and mind would react to that feeling. Stress would start to build in my body. That is not a positive outcome. Stress can bring you down in all areas of your life.


          Be awake and aware. Recognize that you will have patterns of expecting things to go your way. Don’t expect certain outcomes from your efforts. Decide to make positive choices and enjoy each moment as it comes because it is the healthy thing to do. Living a good life is all about enjoying the journey. As you go through life, whatever turns come your way, whatever challenges step into your path, prepare to enjoy them fully. Be out of your thoughts. Get all negative thoughts out of your head. If you find yourself saying: “But I was supposed to…” then it’s time to start being aware of your negative expectations. The “supposed to” attitude will hold you back from experiencing joy. It will create unwanted stress in your life. Change your perspective. Change your perceptions.


         Go with the flow of life. If you are driving to California from Florida, would you stress out about whether or not California is there? What if there were detours along the way? You have the option, the choice, to make a positive decision. Choose to be positive in your thinking. Don’t worry about the outcome. Just enjoy the ride. Even if you got a flat tire along the way, you can choose to deal with it in a non-stressful manner. You can be positive and enjoy the fact that you know how to change a flat tire, or have roadside assistance.


          Whatever intentions you have for yourself. Whatever lofty outcomes you were hoping to achieve, those expectations can lead to stress. Trust and focus that things will happen as they come to pass. Don’t worry about the sun rising. Be prepared to enjoy life in each moment today. Set yourself free from expectations. Decide to be positive. Be joyful. Enjoy each moment as it presents itself. Thanks for reading. InJoy your day!

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