Selfishness to reduce stress

I took advantage of some spare time between appointments today to go for a walking along a lovely creek trail. I was struck by the beauty but also the sense of peace associated with the tall trees and the green around me. I noticed pretty purple spring flowers that are now in bloom. With all the water this winter, the hills are alive with green foliage. It is beautiful.

I’ve been rather stressed lately with the worry of what is happening here in the US. I’ve been worried about what will happen to so many of my friends if the ACA is repealed without a plan to cover pre-existing conditions. I’m also worried about life-time maximums. I have too many friends who are undergoing really expensive life-sustaining cancer treatments. Lifetime maximums would be a death sentence for them. This has been weighing heavily on me.

I am someone who sees the big picture. I find it frustrating when I see people making decisions based upon themselves, without any consideration for the bigger picture.

But, what occurred to me while walking, is that I’m carrying a lot of stress that isn’t about me – and that isn’t good for me. I know it sounds selfish, and it is selfish, but I need to be selfish for the sake of my health. Not being selfish is causing me to carry a lot of stress that isn’t good.

I am aware of my privilege, but today I found myself taking stalk of it. I am a white well-educated Canadian. My husband has a good paying job, with good health insurance. He is not likely to lose his job, and if he did, we could pack up and move back to Canada. If I chose to cross the boarder today for any reason, the likelihood of me being subjected to an invasive search by US Border Patrol upon my return is minimal – because I am a white Canadian who was born in Canada.

The things that have been causing me a lot of stress lately don’t directly affect me. Now, I have some things that are causing me stress that do affect me (like my health, back pain, risk of recurrence), but I also have a lot of things that are causing me stress that don’t directly affect me (crossing borders, healthcare costs, insurance, …).

While walking today I realized that I need to let go of the stress associated with things that don’t affect me. I can be bothered by them, yes, but I should not hold onto that unhealthy stress. It is not something I can do anything about. I remind myself that we would not be living here if my husband’s employment did not include adequate healthcare. That was part of the deal when we moved here. If the situation were to change tomorrow, we have options.

It feels selfish to let go of the stress, but I also know that it is not serving me well. The world is gaining nothing by me taking on stress over things that I cannot control. And so, selfish as it might be, I’m going to try to let go of it. I will hold onto good stress – stress that helps me be a better person, but not futile stress – stress that I cannot do anything about. I will try to enjoy more the beauty around me. It is a beautiful spring day in California after all.

  • Becky


  • Showing compassion for yourself allows you to be more helpful for others when the need arises.

  • Deep breath. Back away from the stress. And its not selfish at all. You need to take care of yourself and let go of the stress.

  • Totally agree- protect ur self from stress as it is not healthy! I firmly believe my bc got a foothold at a particularly stressful time in my life and might my body have fought off this attack if I hadn’t been stressed? I will never know, but am striving to choose to let go when I can and think positively in things I can effect. And our current president is NOT one of those that I can change.

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