Thursday, February 26, 2015

Taking the sting out of the tail of stress!!! Day 26 #28daysofwriting

What is stress?
: a state of mental tension and worry caused by problems in your life, work, etc.
: something that causes strong feelings of worry or anxiety
: physical force or pressure

If one word is bandied around in our busy life it is stress.  We are to avoid it at all cost for the sake of our health, our relationships, our general well-being!

I am really focusing on life balance this year and one particular area of focus is the way I deal with stress.  I think we are deluding ourselves if we think we can avoid stress.  Well, I know that I would find it very difficult to avoid.  

Let's look at the three bullet points in turn:

: a state of mental tension and worry caused by problems in your life, work, etc.

A state of mental tension... How long the state lasts is crucial for me!  How long do I choose to hold onto stress and allow the stress to build up?  I am getting very good at reminding myself to take the stress, put it in a bubble and release it!  Now I hope that doesn't sound trite because it certainly isn't meant to.  Over recent times I have been working as a mentor to educators and I receive mentoring.  The greatest advice I have ever received is 'let go'.  I have worked at 'letting go' that which I cannot change, do not need to hold on to, or is not doing me any good.  This strategy is serving me very well. 
I grew up with a father who was a worrier. He often 'saw' danger or worried about things that hadn't even happened.  I was inclined to be like that, but I am mentoring myself out of that headspace. 

So yes for me, stress is a state, a state I determine how long I hold on to!  
What about YOU?

: something that causes strong feelings of worry or anxiety

'Something' that causes... what is that something?  Is it a full calendar, a perceived mountain in front of you, a trouble or concern, an unknown?  Whatever it is, it is often thinking about it that is far worse than facing the load.  What can you do to decrease the strong feelings of worry or anxiety?  For me, I have a number of strategies I am working on.  I am breathing first... really deep breathing and re-focusing and am finding this an incredibly powerful tool to have in my kete.  No matter where I am or what the situation, I can employ my breathing strategy without impact on others, or anyone even knowing. I am also visualising.  This is a work in progress, but visualising the worry or stress gone can be very, very powerful.  Yet another strategy is making the most of grabbing every moment... the MAGIC that is everywhere - the flower, the sky, the cloud, the sounds, the colours....

What do you do when something causes you strong feelings of worry or anxiety?

: physical force or pressure
Although it would be easy to discount this definition as irrelevant, I think it has real merit to be aware of and pay attention to. Sometimes stress or worry can feel like a physical force or pressure, usually in your chest, or your eyes, or sometimes in the form of a 'headache'. An acute awareness of these signs is essential to survival.  All of the strategies I have mentioned above work but my first and best call is to get right away from the spot or moment of stress.  Walk, listen to music, close your eyes, go for a drive, meet with a friend... Whatever works for me right at the moment is what I employ to get me through that stage.  

What works for you?

There are so many different stresses and pressures in our lives and some are to be welcomed.  Some bring us the momentum necessary to perform to our optimum, or push beyond our comfort zones...
Just writing about stress has taking the sting out of the tail for me....

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