Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Embracing Stress

I am learning to explore stress in my life and attempting to understand how I handle it. I realize it takes constant awareness on my part; otherwise, I may be looking at a crazy-eyed person in the mirror. That is a sure sign I have been off my guard.

Any kind of stress requires our bodies to release bursts of energy hormones. In small doses, stress usually does not wear you down, but over long periods of time, this type of constant push can cause many health complications. These health issues are not good anytime of the year, but can be particularly problematic during the holidays.

We generally know what negative stressors exist in our lives, but good stressors exist too. I think of good stress as what feels positive, but still requires the same burst of energy your negative stressors require. It’s like an energy checking account⎯you cannot keep withdrawing forever. So good stress isn’t necessarily a bad thing⎯unless your energy checking account is depleted⎯then it is just as bad as the negative stressors.

Have you ever thought about actually embracing stress? I am⎯the good, the bad and the ugly kind. It’s all in how I manage it. Stress is a fact of life, and it will creep in when I least expect it. Here are a few things I am considering:
  • Attitude⎯I must look calmly at problems. Giving myself the space to figure out each issue gives rise to solutions.
  • Balance⎯I know I cannot possibly do everything I want to do and have to do. The answer here is understanding the priorities.
  • Limitations⎯I must know my limitations. Understanding what these are will help me use the best of my time and energy, not to mention help me prioritize.
  • Breathing⎯I need to take a deep breath more often. Most of us have the tendency to take shallow breaths or hold their breath, so taking a deep breath will not only give me a space to think clearly, it helps me relax.
If you are facing stressful times in the weeks ahead, consider embracing stress⎯the good, the bad and the ugly; it is up to you to know the difference. Deal with those things you MUST and let go of everything else. I’m working on it. How about you?

Oh, and how does one build-up their energy checking account? By doing what you love silly! Here would be a good point to mention what my friend, Vivian, would say:

STRESSED spelled backwards⎯DESSERTS!

Photo courtesy of cinnamon_girl
© Copyright 2011 Michelle Clark