Do Not Stress Over Stress!
Let’s talk about stress. I know what you are thinking: “Darn it Sol, really? Just thinking about stress makes me stressed!” I know, but don’t panic. I am here just to make a few suggestions but before I do that… we need to talk stress in its root level so we can understand it better.
Work, busy schedules, extra-curricular activities, family’s responsibilities, etc. contributes to what we call “stress”. But exactly is stress?
According to the dictionary, “stress is a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.”
Seeing your toddler destroying your house every day falls into the category of “emotional strain”. If you agree raise your hand!
When you start looking at your body and you no longer see arms but tentacles like an octopus, you know you reached the “very demanding circumstances” requirement to be stressed. The cherry on top is when you get up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night (and without slippers) you step on an army of legos (yes those same evil legos you told your child to put away earlier in the day).
You have read my blog. Perhaps, you might be thinking: “What do you possibly know about stress? You say you are living in the Caribbean, surrounded by beautiful beaches and coconut trees. Obviously you can’t be stressed in that environment!”
Well, the story is actually quite different. Believe it or not, I live a very stressful life. It has always been this way so I suppose you can call me a stress-expert. 😉
As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I have 3 boys on the Autism spectrum. Yup, three and if you think that’s a stroll in the park you have no idea. There have been times that I have been so stressed that I lost a lot of weight because I had no appetite.
There have been times when I felt too depressed to deal with such constant, daily strain. Many times, I felt so inadequate at my ability to deal with all of this that I thought I was literally losing my mind. It has not been easy. It is NOT easy.
But I can’t conceive a life without living and I am quite sure you can’t either. The thing is if we let stress take over our lives completely it will consume us to the end. I assure you of that.
The following are the things I did/do to deal with daily stress.
I TRY MY BEST TO EAT HEALTHY
I cannot over-stress how important this is. The things we consume on a daily basis change our metabolism, minds, mood, everything! When we eat healthy, we feel lighter and more energetic so we can think better and deal with our particular situations in the best way possible. For me, healthy means foods in their natural state as possible. Lots of fresh vegetables and fruits.
I SING LIKE THERE IS NO TOMORROW
Okay, I am not Beyonce but singing helps me so much. My family already knows that when they hear me singing it is because I’m feeling stressed so they don’t say much (poor souls). Singing releases endorphins also known as “happy hormones” and it helps you calm the beast that each one of us has inside. Pfff, mine is oversized.
I CHOOSE TO BE HUMOROUS
Laughing helps me a lot to deal with stress even in times when I feel there isn’t anything in my life to laugh about. When I can’t find a reason, I MAKE UP a reason! I watch a comedy or some YouTube videos or crack a few jokes with family or co-workers. Remember, the goal is to get your mind away from your stress for a little bit so you can recharge and continue.
I TRY TO HAVE A POSITIVE ATTITUDE
I know, “here we go again with the “positive” attitude when I am here miserable and I don’t feel like having a positive approach, Sol! But hear me out. This isn’t about faking or trying to diminish your stress or pain. This is about pulling yourself OUT of that stress hole you’re right now and get you to see OTHER things besides the wound/stress you’re nursing. Having a positive attitude helps me to cope with my stress and feel better about myself.
I ACCEPT WHAT I CANNOT CHANGE
This is perhaps key to successfully deal with intense stress at home or work. I think most of the time we are even more stressed than we should because we try to fight down things that cannot be changed. Accepting that certain things will not change, unburdens the weight off your shoulders and helps you to deal with stress better.
Some years ago, I read a perfect example on how we should all handle stress. I’m posting it here so you can read it and benefit as well.
Remember: It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.
A psychologist walked around a room while teaching stress management to an audience.
As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they’d be asked the “half empty or half full” question.
Instead, with a smile on her face, she inquired
“How heavy is this glass of water?”
Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz.
She replied, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter.
It depends on how long I hold it.
If I hold it for a minute, it’s not a problem.
If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my arm.
If I hold it for a day, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed.
In each case, the weight of the glass doesn’t change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.”
She continued, “The stresses and worries in life are like that glass of water.
Think about them for a while and nothing happens.
Think about them a bit longer and they begin to hurt.
And if you think about them all day long, you will feel paralyzed – incapable of doing anything.
Remember to put the glass down!
I would love to know some of the things you do to release stress! Please leave your comment below. 🙂