Stress Is Not the Issue

31 May

Trees with strong roots laugh with storms.

~ Old Malay Proverb

I’ve seen

I’ve seen a lot of articles on Eustress over the years, the positive form of stress. Don’t get me wrong. My intent is not to dismiss them out of hand, or at all. They provide some wonderful tools and perspectives, some brilliant. I haven’t linked any here. You can kneel to The Google Oracle for that. They’re mostly valid, some brilliant and ground-breaking, though for the most part, I don’t think they really get off the ground or dive deep to get past the surface. Again, no slam. Just me expressing that I think there’s a blind spot in regards to stress.

From my perspective stress is not a problem In the 1st place. It is simply an often over-used buzzword that now borders on crisis–mongering, attention-getting slang, instead of KEEP GOING. Keep rockin’ your gig. Oh Jordan! Stop being so nit picky-word-specific. You and your semantics are just SOME ANTICS. Stress, stressful. What’s the diff?!

To which…

The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between the lightning and the lightning bug, the lady and the ladybug. ~ Mark Twain

Stress Is

Stress is not the actual issue from my perspective. Stress is simply a force applied, an influence, an experience. It’s Strain that’s the driver as I see it. Strain is deformation, causes something to be bent from a memory perspective with things like wood or steel. Strain affects an indelible influence. I don’t believe you can have stress. It’s a potential influence, certainly real, though it’s IF stress affects or influences you that that I question. I don’t think you can have stress. If affected or influenced by stress, it is not stress anymore. It is causative strain.

Damage Versus Influence

I think you can experience stress or stresses And eustress. Though, if the force stresses you such that you don’t bounce back to form, then it’s not stress you have. It’s strain. Stress is like pointing to the water or environment you swim in, and strain it what they do to you, how they affect you. That also has to do with your wits and wisdom and ability to keep perspective… in stressful situations. I firmly feel you can have strain, though. That’s what I feel most people are referring to when speaking about stress. Most have the concept they experience right on the money, though just the wrong word to pair with it.

It can be difficult to sort out the signal from speedy, newsfeed noise and head-chatter-inducing static driven by the false sense of urgency of media and the amount of information we encounter even in a single minute. That in itself can put you in a heightened sense of trauma, and in addition make for a dulling of your senses by overload such that the inertia of it makes it more and more difficult even to fathom pulling yourself out of the pond so to speak, much less to counter it in response rather than reactionary ways. And, then in that vulnerable state, you are fed highly repetitive, psych-slang of stress... among other misinformed things.

If you do not read the paper each morning, you are uninformed. If you do, you’re misinformed. ~ Mark Twain

The secret to getting ahead is getting started. ~ Mark Twain

Vulnerability is the birthplace of courage. ~ Brene Brown

Adversity doesn’t build character. It reveals it. ~ James Lane Allen

The arrows above indicate the stress or stresses, the force(s) applied.

Structural Psychology (my words to reflect Structural Engineering as I see it applicable to Psychology… Most likely not the Psych profession‘s version, though that can be TBD)

I take a Structural Engineering view of psychological stress. Stress is simply a force applied. Strain, the strain of your experiences and traumas and influences are the gigs I see worth actionable exploration. ~ Jordan Hoggard

The thing that is stressed bends or moves or deflects. When the stress is removed, it returns to its original form. Strain is when that stress pushes something past its elastic limits, past the memory limits of the material or identity. And, when the stress is removed, it doesn’t return to its original form. There, strain has occurred. Permanent deformation. Indelible, or poignantly present influence. Call it influence. Call it experience. Call it trauma.

Influence is not inherently good or bad, though I feel it important to discern the what of what has occurred. The material or person that is bent or dented or marked or influenced in some permanent, indelible way — at least until replaced if a material, or as a person you psychologically address it — it’s your call whether by yourself or with a Psych Pro. I certainly don’t intend psychological advice. I’m not a licensed Psychologist. I’m a layman who has a noggin’, and I consider myself qualified for life with it.

Are You Qualified for Life

Openings, Forces Applied to Self

Eight forces sustain creation: Movement and stillness; Solidification and fluidity; Extension and contraction; Unification and division. ~ Morihei Ueshiba, Founder of Aikido

As soon as as you concern yourself with the ‘good’ or ‘bad’ of your fellows, you create an opening in your heart for maliciousness to enter. Testing, competing with, and criticizing others weakens and defeats you. ~ Morihei Ueshiba

With Your Presence As Architecture, How Do You…?

How does a building stand on the ground?

How does it extend to the sides?

How does it open and close?

How does it reach for the sky?

~ Four existential questions about Architecture from Christian Norberg-Schultz. How can you apply them to yourself:

(Invisible, unseen, how stable is your foundation? How strongly are you rooted?)

How do you stand on the ground?

How do you extend to the sides?

How do you open and close?
How do you reach for the sky?

Perspective, Stability, Power

I see stress as being what you make of it, how it influences you, and/or how you do or do not allow it to influence you.. If your perspective is born of healthy boundaries and comfortability in your own skin, then trees with strong roots needn’t fear intense winds applies. or storms make oak trees take deeper roots.

With healthy boundaries, one is naturally aware of their strength and their strengths, and not prone to even flinch, but to experience, or DUCK! — like this Rock of Gibraltar Lighthouse is unmoved in the stormy ocean without any thought or will. It just is. Proudly, with no hubris. Simply is, itself grounded strongly in context. How do you design and develop and train yourself to be like this lighthouse regardless of the intensity of the forces present in your surroundings?

This lighthouse is simply stable, comfortable with itself in context. Stands there in powerful witness, might not even notice, just enjoy the intense foam and spray, like a welcomed massage session, or listening to music. I

I first suggest, especially with questions, to listen to others as if their voice is music. Do you want to immerse in it? Let it go to a wonderful and driving 11?! Do you want to change the channel, or click OFF? Take it from there. See if the technique is both natural and easy, and secondly whether it’s effective for you. Listen to people as music. Where does that go for you?


And, the lighthouse. Even during the most intense storms. It is a beacon to those out at sea, a beacon to help them navigate their storms, so they can wash up on the beach refreshed once the storm has broken rather than breaking them.

As I Began With

Trees with strong roots laugh with storms.

~ Old Malay Proverb

Sometimes I

Sometimes, people get their hackles up when asked a question. Expecting to be scolded — nascent trauma memory from childhood/the past being triggered from Inquisitor parents? — or expecting to take a hit actually or metaphorically, and/or expected now to do something, maybe that they don’t want to do? So many possibilities and permutations there. Parents are naturally, the Both~And of the Mentor/Tormentor. That is not dual. It can teach about the importance that is to engage your Shadow, to literally turn and face it… daily as required, if necessary, until it is not. I would suggest this is lifelong to continually refresh the Both~And of having a light and numinous world an ally on one shoulder, and dark and chthonic things allied on the other. Each allied with the other, they are a binary Star~Black Hole system that orbits around the Sun of you to keep you fresh… and do remember to change the filter before winter fully sets in.

46 Seconds To

Understand, though, every question/comment/request is urgent to the asker. I suggest to not assume urgency, or anything for that matter, When someone asks you a question, especially if they don’t couple their ask with a timeframe. That’s asking you to do their scheduling. Abrogation, is a word, putting ones’s responsibilities off on another. Delegation is cool, though, think through what you agree to receive there. Ask questions back. Once you agree, it’s your responsibility, regardless of missing clarity or requirement features.

Simply put, I suggest to inspect your expectations. Inspecting your expectations helps mitigate blind spots, assists to be able to listen more fully. And, also provides the opening for ‘No’ without explanation to be a complete sentence.

Duty in the World Community

I find it to be our duty to ourselves to be that tree in the wind, the Rock of Gibraltar Light House unmoved by a stormy and powerful ocean around it, simply fully engaged in the world. Are you able to simply and fully listen to questions asked in powerful witness, with Empathic Silence all the way through until someone is finished? And, pauses are not them pulling the trigger for “your turn.” Feel the pauses. How do they help you feel what is being conveyed? Then, take YOUR time with your response or non-response. You are not the asker, so with your priorities intact, the ask may not even be something you would even entertain in the first place. Stand there, and when the storm or high wind or potential influence passes, when the question or communication is complete, Take your time to feel into your response, especially if the asker is poke-prodding. That just implies a desperate false sense of urgency that they need to get it off their hot plate. Heck, keep some hot pads around. Hand it back to them. “So, you are asking… (insert ask)? Is that correct? Tell me more about what you expect for (insert x,y, etc). Please clarify those with things I missed.”

A concept that is simply luminescent and glows on healthy boundaries is, Lack of planning on your part will in no way constitute an emergency on mine. I suggest you plan better. It’s important to not support bad behavior. You are only training people how to treat you poorly. When we do that, it’s squarely on us to own.

Before You Respond

Before you respond to a question, question the question to yourself so you acclimate to it inside. How did the question feel? Is the person delegating within reason. Are they abrogating, or in other words being lazy and smoking the narcotic hope that someone will complete their responsibility? You know, looking for a sucker? Are they asking for advice, perspective, wisdom? Mundane? Large? There are as many kinds of questions as there are people to ask them, though until you say, ‘Yes,’ there are only two kinds of questions. Those questions that are responded to, and those that receive silence. It’s ok to imply no with eyebrows up and a smile non-verbally saying, as if. They’ll move on. There’s a sucker born every minute. It is each of our jobs to have sovereign boundaries that are simply in the shape of ourself with runflat sidewalls and road ready pressurized to 33 psi. Well, on a cold cold day, maybe drop to 32 psi for some squash factor for extra grip. Slipping’s no fun. Sliding can be.a joy. How’s your traction control in life?

Sometimes II

Sometimes there’s not even any reason to respond to a question or a stress, except to discern whether it begs a potential priority to be established on your part, or a response. And, if so, what degree of urgency, if any, is it given? It’s like noticing the weather. This isn’t a harsh or cold and insular and disconnected way of interacting. It trains people how to treat you and trains how well you care to care for yourself. And, if it’s their stuff, to take care of it themselves with just two eyebrows up and pursed lips with no words in response. Always put the onus of responsibility on the asker to find out for themselves first, if they are able. Many people I know, though, are simply curious and asking a question. That’s an invitation to engage in conversation, which most times I full-on dig.


I would ask, instead of stress, how do you clearly experience the weather of Nature or weather of events or people around you? Initially, how are you influenced? Do you react out of hand, jump to respond startled and quickly? Do you powerfully whole-mindbodybeautiful listen completely until they have finished, and give the question Silence and a place to open up and expand between the two of you?

Sometimes people solve their issue right there in front of you while they are working the stress out as if it’s TO you. Sometimes in the asking of the question, the person is saying the thought out loud for the 1st time, and in so doing run the process through, and at the end of their question, their head pops up with a smile. Nevermind. Just got it. It brings a smile when I see someone do that, work out their question right there in front of you.

Interpersonal Connection

There’s a certain, sacred, Oracle quality to interpersonal connection from my perspective. And, sometimes only one person needs to speak. Like you go to the “Oracle” of a friend to ask a question. They are stable and quiet, and fully listen. They simply provide you a wonderful mirror, in safety, where Your words not mine smiles into play.

This Friendship Oracle, as I began to call it while penning this blog, also makes it unnecessary to discern whether there is potential danger of Psychological Projection or Projective Identification to watch out for. (Yes, I ended a sentence in a preposition… we have a response for that in Texas… re-end the sentence to some with an expletive). You’re not required to respond except by yourself.

In the case of PP or PI may I suggest the following response: (Do not respond, don’t become ensnared or entangled in the Tar Baby), or Your words not mine. I’m glad you can describe yourself so aptly. Good for you! (In a happy tone, no conflict engagement, though no taking it on, either). 

If you have a Narcissist or Sociopath on your hands, the best way I find to argue with them? Just don’t. Walking away is a complete sentence there, and a last sentence as you re-prioritize your placement to move yourself to safety. Nevermind their follow-up chatter in your wake where they spill the beans of PP and/or PI with shaming and vitriol. They just attempted manipulation, and your stable mirror of that Light House can reflect it all right back where it should be. In them.

After their feign, their sweetie-pie lie-shiny-Angler-Fish-bait to lure you in, they out themselves to boot. You might even have an ablution cascade of tingles flow through your body full-on pleased and proud of yourself when you walk away, viscerally feeling how much you did the kind thing for yourself. No hubris. Just feels good.

Realistically, though, from my experience — and I’m sure there are PLENTY of exceptions — this type asks very few questions, if any at all. Questions imply interest, and that in itself speaks volumes about them, and how to maintain safe passage navigating away from them. I‘ve experienced them most often leading in with a psychological rib-spreader knife, just opening with some kind of shaming statement to try and appeal to some inner guilt. Not playing. They open with that play, and the play ends. Exeunt stage left to transform them… into Ex.

Another response I remember using, and of course I might as well have detonated a bomb… You’re a great Angler Fish, though not a very good fisherman. At least drop the hubris and pay your Inner Electric Bill to get the light thingee turned on for that dangly thingee. Your brightness is supposed to come from within, NOT gulp others’ to your within.

How Do You Experience?

How do you experience the weather of things you experience around you? Can you tune to your signal and discern more for what resonates with you from your perspective? I hope de-personalizing experience into weather can give you a better handle, and improve the strength of owning and healing places where you may hold your grace hostage. I hope you tune into You As Only You Can Be.

Disciplined Action Is Important. What Do You Hear With This 46 Seconds the 2nd Time Around?

How Can You?…

How can you brighten yourself? How can you train your innate talents into developed abilities? How can you do this in ways that enhance your natural intensities to make yourself more of who you are? I suggest to dose yourself with something good about yourself. Meditate not about a problem. Try meditating fully immersed in something wonderful about yourself. See what happens.

emotional and intuitive harmony, discerning feelings clearly, hidden depths seen

If you stop to address every barking dog along the way, you’ll never get anywhere. ~ Winston Churchill. He was on quite a journey, huh?

What’s Your Weather Response When It Looks Like Rain?


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34 responses to “Stress Is Not the Issue

  1. SaaniaSparkle 🧚🏻‍♀️

    May 31, 2020 at 3:07 pm

    Nice blog 😇

  2. Pure & Blessed

    May 31, 2020 at 4:25 pm

    Eustress – I’d not come across that word before. For a moment I thought it was going to be about Brexit! 🤣
    Loved this from start to finish!
    Back in the day, you gave me lots of advice and reading this flashes up how often I’ve used that over your radio silence years.
    I have a wonderful story I may tell you one day.
    I liked the part about listening to voices… Around 6 months ago, I culled song-term friendship as their voice continually hit me like a sock full of wet sand across the back of the head…
    The urgency thing and doing other people’s scheduling… Hmmm… Amazing how often I ‘lose’ Internet connection 🤣
    Dealing with weather? Swimming! 60-70 lengths of the pool and I’ve either got a clear plan or forgotten about the whole thing completely… It’s a bit of drag, the pool being shut but good excuse to buy a new bike!
    I’ll stop there before my comment becomes longer than your post!
    Angler fish! That’s brilliant!
    Thanks Jordan!

    • Jordan Hoggard

      May 31, 2020 at 4:33 pm

      Excellent, Karen!! 🙂 Good stuff?? And, thank you!! Mucho appreciated. Grateful for your perspective. I smile big as I MISSED that potential PUN-it I’ve damage item of EU Stress. Great one! Now, where’s that sunglasses emoji again?

  3. Pure & Blessed

    May 31, 2020 at 4:36 pm


  4. Pure & Blessed

    May 31, 2020 at 4:49 pm

    Yes, you’re looking good 😉

  5. SaaniaSparkle 🧚🏻‍♀️

    June 1, 2020 at 9:03 am

    Nice blog

  6. Holly Troy

    June 1, 2020 at 1:41 pm

    Brilliant! Strain – yes, of course!

    “It can be difficult to sort out the signal from speedy, newsfeed noise and head-chatter-inducing static driven by the false sense of urgency of media and the amount of information we encounter even in a single minute. That in itself can put you in a heightened sense of trauma. And, then in that vulnerable state, you are fed highly repetitive, psych-slang of stress… among other misinformed things.”

    – I know that when I read the news, or take it in, I feel strain from it. Exhausted when I let it press on me too much. And I feel like that is often the point the news these days.

    Yesterday, for instance, I helped my roommate move out. At the end of the day, we shared a meal and a good-bye toast. Afterwards, Paul and I went for a walk – around the neighborhood like we often do. We got home at 10:30 at night. i opened my computer. Reposted my friend Michael’s post – and then – noticed that Arizona was placed on curfew. No one outside from 8pm to 5 am. We broke curfew. Unbelievable, so I did some research. yes, our mayor asked everyone to follow the curfew via social media after she had a phone conversation with the governor. How strict is that? social media?

    Anyway, flexibility seems key to me. And somehow, sometimes, assuming a cloak of invisibility helps. I love how you applied structural engineering to structural psychology! Yes!

    • Jordan Hoggard

      June 1, 2020 at 3:28 pm

      Niiiiice, Holly! Thank you for going in depth!

      We have curfew here as well, though it went off loud as an alert on my phone. 8p-6a Saturday, yesterday and today 6a-6p. I agree that that was not strict at all to notify over social media. What about people who don’t have internet? What about people who aren’t on Facebook — I left 4+ years ago.

      Kudos to “breaking curfew. Posted on social media probably would not be a strong enough stance to arrest anyone under “ignorance of the law is no excuse,” when many who weren’t on social media were basically almost consciously kept in the dark about it.

      Thanks again for your accolade on “Stress Is Not The Issue” !!

      • Holly Troy

        June 1, 2020 at 4:39 pm

        I didn’t even know there was a curfew to break.

        very weird feeling – though!

        • Jordan Hoggard

          June 1, 2020 at 7:03 pm

          Yup, me, either. The 1st night I was walking my dog, and I don’t take my phone when I walk her, just us. A police car pulled up and asked if I received the PD curfew alert that went into affect 30 minutes prior. “Officer. No, I don’t carry my phone on our walks.” She nodded and, “Well, curfew’s now in effect. Once she’s finished doing her business, go on home.” I almost put a thumbs up and thought better to keep my hands where they were, “Ok.”

          Weird feeling yes.

          • Holly Troy

            June 2, 2020 at 6:11 pm

            oh my god! glad it was a “friendly” encounter.

            • Jordan Hoggard

              June 2, 2020 at 6:32 pm

              Thank you. Looking at it, glad I trusted “Ok” rather than my 1st instinct to be concise and “thumbs up.” Kept my hands right where they were.

  7. Gottfried

    June 17, 2020 at 7:22 am

    Eustress – new word alert for me.

    Strain is when stress pushes something past its elastic limits. Profound!

    “If you stop to address every barking dog along the way, you’ll never get anywhere”. Must be a lot of dogs!

    I could teach you how to remove the watermark on shutter stock images if you like!

    Great post!

    • Jordan Hoggard

      June 17, 2020 at 7:45 am

      Thanks for the comment, Gottfried!

      Yes, pushing something past its elastic limits, and if its steel its to its Point of Flexure where it snaps. Glad that expanded into profound for you. I feel there’s just a rockin’ deceptive simplicity to be mined for solid psychological use there.

      Yes, on the watermark. I’m out the rest of the day, though. Maybe over the weekend? I appreciate that.

      • Gottfried

        June 17, 2020 at 7:47 am

        You’re not far from the truth in that regard. I’ve always wanted to watch someone snap from being under physical strain, just so I know what happens next.

        Yeah sure, over the weekend. Choose any of my posts to comment on when you’re ready!

        • Jordan Hoggard

          June 17, 2020 at 7:59 am

          Excellent! Will do. Have a great one! Keep up your intelligent snarky wise hilariousness. Snarky without even a whiff of petulance. Great stuff!

  8. MichaelStephenWills

    June 21, 2020 at 7:03 am

    Lots to think about here and wrap ones head around. Thanks

    • Jordan Hoggard

      June 21, 2020 at 11:56 am

      You’re welcome, Michael. I appreciate you taking the time to visit and read “Stress Is Not the Issue.”

  9. Kally

    October 26, 2020 at 11:35 am

    Amazing read. Made me think and ponder in depth. You may want to use a copyright free pic of your lighthouse so that it doesn’t have the labels all over your pic. Here are some copyright free lighthouse pics I found:

    • Jordan Hoggard

      October 26, 2020 at 11:41 am

      Much appreciated, Kally. Excellent idea on the lighthouse. Thank you!


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