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How do you spell stress?

K-I-D-S

W-O-R-K

M-O-N-E-Y

S-C-H-O-O-L

M-A-R-R-I-A-G-E

D-E-C-I-S-I-O-N-S

L-I-F-E.

Barbara’s definition of stress:

The physical reaction one has when he/she feels like there is more to do, learn, or simply be, than is physically or mentally possible. It is the reaction one experiences when having thoughts like, “I can’t handle this,” or “I can do this, but it will deplete my energy and resources,” accompanied by feelings of helplessness and or fear and resentment.

To paraphrase one of the dictionary definitions I read: Stress is pressure applied to something. Ha! I’m visualizing a cartoon elephant sitting on a balloon, stretching it as far as it will go until it eventually pops. How many times have you felt like that?

High Stress has become more common than the common cold and even though we hate it, we accept it as a necessary evil in our daily lives. I realize that being a therapist skews my perception, but everywhere I go I hear people talking about how stressed they are. Eavesdrop on any conversation in a restaurant or store and you will overhear something similar to this:

“Oh my gosh, I had a panic attack when I was asked to volunteer an extra day at my kid’s school this week.”

“I’ll go out of my mind if one more person asks me to do something.”

“I’m so busy! I wake up earlier and earlier each day, but still can’t do all I should do.”

“I’m so stressed! I have two papers and a test this week…and I have to work! Do I get to have a social life?”

or… you fill in the blanks

I am so stressed! I have to _____, and______and_____. My_____wants me to_____, which will mean I can’t_____. I feel like_____!

What has happened to us? How did we fall down the slippery slope of accepting stress as a badge for “Doing Our Best?” At what point did we abdicate our volition and allow ourselves to be dragged around by multiple task masters. When did we forget that listening to our heart, and the wisdom it dictates, is our best organizer. There are many voices that are more than happy to tell us what to do and how to be. Whether it is the media in all of it’s many forms, work, school, or the unrealistically high expectations we set for ourselves, the bottom line is, too many outside voices make it nearly impossible to hear our own hearts and what we intuitively know we should be doing with our time.

STOP! You are still in charge of your life. Find a quiet place and…

1. Ask your heart what is the best use of your energy.

2. Choose wisely and then take responsibility for what you have chosen.

3. Understand that you can’t be everything to everyone.

4. Know that there is a time and a place for everything.

5. Understand there will always be stress, but it shouldn’t dominate.

Managing stress is as much a personal responsibility as not smoking, wearing a seat belt, and not using drugs. Nobody is going to do it for us. Ignoring or enduring stress can lead to such unhappy consequences as: heart disease, diabetes, obesity, chronic headaches, sleep problems, depression and anxiety, irritable bowl syndrome, cancer, and premature aging. These problems creep up over time and can catch us off guard while we are painfully trying to “Do Our Best.” A lot of “thanks” for our good intentions. Right? Wrong! If we want to truly function at our highest level, we must live our lives in such a way that stress does not overpower us, but takes it’s place in the backseat, encouraging us to try a little harder and do a little more.

I’d like to propose, that we make a decision today to recognize a new badge for “Doing Our Best.” What could it be called?

How about “Enough.”

Below are 7 tips for managing stress

Tip 1: Get Enough Sleep

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Tip 2: Exercise

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Tip 3: Practice Mindfulness

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Tip 4: Talk to Friends

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Tip 5: Avoid Using a Magnifying Glass; Stop Over Thinking 

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Tip 6: Write it Down

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Tip 7: Escape: Take a Vacation or Mental Break

purple-fields-ludwig_1490_990x742Be a “pioneer of peace” and share your tips for managing stress by pressing the comment button in the upper right hand corner of this post. Your tip could make a difference in someone else’s life.

Shine on 🙂

Barbara