The benefits of a stress-free life

October 28, 2009


They say that moving house is one of the most stressful events in life and I’m now inclined to agree with them. This wasn’t always the case. I’ve moved a lot since I left my parents’ home back in 1985 and I used to find it fun and easy. Packing and unpacking never bothered me – I quite enjoy it as I find it strangely therapeutic (see ‘decluttering’ blogs) – and the admin side of things used to be really simple – fire off a few letters informing everyone of your new address and Bob’s your uncle.

When I moved three years ago, however, it was a very different story. The rise of corporate culture at the expense of customer service (i.e. profits before people) combined with the rapid increase in the use of computer systems – ironically supposed to increase efficiency – meant that tasks which should have been very simple became an absolute nightmare. It took me six months to sort everything out, over which time I spent hours either on the phone (mostly on hold or being passed round from department to department) or firing off letters.  I also became increasingly frustrated and distressed as my actions invariably failed to produce any results other than unfulfilled promises and more wasted hours for me. This kind of thing would be stressful for anyone but as a HSP, it practically sent me round the bend and made me quite ill in the process.

As I’m currently moving house again, the memories of this time have loomed horribly to the forefront of my mind, though thankfully as I’m moving in with my partner this time, I have someone to share the load with. However, it has got me thinking about stress and the effect it has on our bodies (something I wrote about in my very first blogs on here) and how our attitude to those minor irritations can make a huge difference in our wellbeing and overall quality of life.

I’ve shared most of my adult life with two cats, Pyewackett and Binbag. Pyewackett (see pic below) was extremely highly strung – for him, just being alive was stressful. He constantly had hissy fits and was extremely possessive of me – wherever I sat, you could guarantee Pyewackett would be there too. This also meant that he was jealous of Binbag and would attack him at any given opportunity – until Binbag started to lash out when he came anywhere near him, at which point he started giving him a very wide berth.

I always used to joke that if Pyewackett was a human, he would probably be sitting in group therapy, clutching his forehead whilst bemoaning his terrible existance and all the minor stresses he had to deal with on a daily basis. He had problems with his digestive system all his life and when he caught cat flu aged 2, he became very ill, prompting two hasty visits to the vet in a week. No surprise, then, that he died suddenly having just turned 14 – I assume his heart just gave out in the night, as we came downstairs one morning and found him lying dead in the hallway. That was two and a half years ago and I still miss him now.

Binbag (see pic above) was a rescue cat who I got from the RSPCA. I should have known what he was like as he had to be woken up in his cage for me to get a proper look at him. He was so sweet and affectionate that I knew he was the one immediately. As for his bizarre moniker, it was his laidback nature that earned him that as well. I was struggling to settle on a name for him – I tried a few out but nothing seemed to fit. One day some friends were round and as we were discussing how my new black cat barely moved and had done nothing but sleep in the same armchair since I got him, one of them commented ‘I don’t know why you bothered getting a cat at all – you might as well have got a binbag and put that on the chair instead.’ Cue laughter all round plus years of embarrassment for me,  standing at the back door apparently shouting for a ‘Binbag’.

Binbag has continued to be a laidback sleepyhead throughout his life. If he had been human, he’d have been the friendly old bloke propping up the bar who doesn’t really contribute much, but who everyone likes as he always has a kind word and a smile for everyone. He had the same flu as Pyewackett and shook it off with a couple of sneezes and overall, has been in fine health for most of his life (barring his barrel of a belly). Recently we had a bit of a scare when he started sneezing blood and his eye became really swollen. In view of his age, I thought he might have a tumour, but it was just an infection and once again, with the aid of a few eye drops and an injection of antibiotics, he shook it off. Even the vet commented on what good shape he was in for a cat of his age. He’s now over 16 years old and still going strong.

I think you can probably see what the moral of the story is but I’ll spell it out anyway. If you too would like to live a long, peaceful and healthy life, don’t cry and sigh like the Pye  – life is too short to spend your days making yourself ill through fretting and getting wound up over trivialities.  Let’s all follow the wise example of the Binners – and let it be. 🙂



  1. Why are you all of a sudden spamming me?? I did not subscribe to your newsletter and I have received a ton all at once. What’s with that?

    • Hey Monique, I have no idea why you are subscribed to my blog unless you commented on it one time and asked to follow the replies or added yourself many years ago and just forgot ( I haven’t posted on the blog for over three years)? I can assure you that I never add anyone to my mailing list and in fact this blog is officially closed now – I’ve left it up for reference and the other day I made public some of my posts which had previously been private so that I could share them with some new friends I met on a retreat. I had no idea that simply changing their status would result in them being sent to everyone so definitely no deliberate spamming on this end.

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