In video number three, I discussed the idea of a threat as creating stress. Today will be about how opportunity can increase stress.

Opportunity is seen as an advancement or a way to progress our situation.  Opportunities in life are thought to provide positive feelings or outcomes.  What we don’t realize, is often opportunities can create mixed feelings about the decision process creating stress.

Here’s a basic example that conveys all the dynamics:

One common opportunity stressor we are all exposed to – “40% off all clothes on sale” or “buy one get one free”.  These marketing ideas are specifically targeting our instincts to act on an opportunity.  We get triggered.  We perceive the sale as an opportunity to gain something – buying clothes at discounted prices.  It also creates a feeling if we don’t act on the sale, we may miss out on the opportunity to gain something we needed.  This can create tension inside of ourselves, which is the stress response.

Here’s my own example of opportunity stressor I experienced.

I was faced with an opportunity to buy a pair of shoes on clearance – normally $125…mark down for $24.  Boy did I feel excited, body is pumping, heart fluttering a bit. My brain started to get busy.  Should I buy or shouldn’t?  I walked around the store clutching these shoes.  I didn’t want to put them down…somebody else might grab them.  I already have a ton of shoes.  Do I need another pair?  The uncertainty of the opportunity created a stress response in my body.  Even the thought of missing out, by putting the shoes back down, left me feeling perplexed.  This is a stress response to something we hope will make our lives better.

The opportunity which is in alignment with who you are or what you need, tension and stress will disappear.  An opportunity taken: at the store I see the potential the shoes are going to give me. No stress is generated.  Or an Opportunity that is passed over, because there is nothing to gain, the stress response is gone.

When an opportunity is not aligned with you, like the situation with my shoes, stress is generated.  In my story, I did buy the shoes, yet the whole way home I had mixed feelings about my decision.  When I got home and looked in my closet, I was upset with myself.  I certainly did not need another pair of shoes. I was stressed.

Interestingly, an opportunity can also create a secondary stress response after the decision has been made.  Depending on the dynamics in the decision, the after effects can cause stress:

  • Opportunity taken: when I got home and look in the closet…ugh, I have too many shoes already….my body felt tense…all the shoes, it’s too much. Why on earth did I buy another pair of shoes?  Suddenly I’m stressed from my decision.
  • Opportunity missed: if I didn’t buy the shoes and my closet could have used the addition, I’m kicking myself in the butt – a stress response at missing out.

This is a very simple example at how opportunity can produce mixed feelings about our decisions.

I’m hoping this example explains why an opportunity can easily be a big stressor in the fertility journey. You can see from the example how an opportunity can leave you feeling out of balance, out of sorts.  Instead of feeling relief, you are experiencing stress instead.

In my next video, we will discuss more about an opportunity stress in the fertility journey.