Sunday, April 05, 2009

STRESS!

I'm struggling with something. If someone promises you something but then bails out.. should you feel betrayed? Or should you never believe anyone who makes you the promise in the first place, so that you're not disappointed later?

Life throws us lots of curve balls and our family has always managed to bounce back and figure out alternate solutions. My faith is strong that we always turn out okay in tough times. But just because I choose to remain forward-thinking and positive does not mean that I don't feel the stress that results due to other people's lack of follow-through.

The other day a friend of mine gave me a pep talk. She told me, "do you know what I just learned today? That the word STRESS is a term in physics to explain elasticity, the property of a material that allows it to resume its original size and shape after having been compressed or stretched by an external force. So if we leave that term to the engineers and scientists, what word would we use to define what we are feeling?". I think what she was trying to explain was that we tend to overuse the word stress. We use it to describe everything. In thinking it through, it makes me realize that using the word almost lets us off the hook. It allows you to remain unaccountable for your own feelings or attitude. You can say "he has dumped so much on me, now I'm stressed out". If you take the word stress out of the equation, you can't personalize what "he" has done to you. He has simply done something and it's now YOUR choice if you will let it affect you or not.

Stress happens when reality doesn't match our expectations. Things don't go as planned and it sets us off balance. It is our emotional response that throws us off. With such busy lifestyles as they are, when an unexpected event or thought or challenge or illness is thrown in, we fall right off the tightrope we walk everyday. Our bodies and our minds respond to the stress.

So what do you do? You accept that stressful events will happen AND you become resistant to the stress and keep on the tightrope. In my case I suppose the tightrope is to remain focused on our big goals. This is how you can experience stress, but not let the stress impact your health. Eventually, you'll become so calm that you will give up that tightrope completely.

I think this is all well and good but my positive attitude can't stop my heart from racing, my stomach from clenching, my palms from sweating or my head from pounding when I experience something stressful. Last year my grandmother made an observation while I was on a pretty heated phone call. She said that my blood pressure was rising. I have never had a problem with my blood pressure, not even while pregnant. But she was right. I felt like I had drunk a bottle of red. My face was so heated and flushed and I had a funny pulsing in my head and my heart was racing. It scared the snot out of me. I didn't realize that I was that worked up and that's my problem. I know that to others, my life is CRAZY stressful. I often think that I've got a good handle on it. But the truth is that my body betrays me. When we hear that stress induces illnesses, heart attacks and cancers, it seems that I'm headed for disaster. I know that I tend to react more strongly to bad news when I'm sleep deprived or ill. If I haven't been eating well and not taking enough time for myself.

So as I work through this problem by writing it out, I think that I've deduced the following:
- don't rely on anyone else so you won't be disappointed
- always make back-up plans so if someone fails you, you've got another solution
- try to eliminate the word "stress" from your vocabulary and look at situations for what they really are.
- take accountability for your feelings and actions
- CHOOSE to leave other people's actions or (in)actions to themselves and CHOOSE to not let it affect your outlook
- keep walking that tightrope with your eye on the prize
- maintain good nutrition, get your sleep and exercise, maintain a healthier lifestyle
- CHOOSE to laugh about it. Laughter can offset the most stressful of situations.

Let's keep it real though. I wouldn't be Stacey if I didn't keep a bit of bitch in here. I am still disappointed when people disappoint us, as they would be with me. It definitely affects my ability to trust anyone but myself and Jonathan.

Garson Kanin, an American writer said, "There are thousands of causes for stress, and one antidote to stress is self-expression. That's what happens to me every day. My thoughts get off my chest, down my sleeves and onto my pad."

I can already my feel my stress reducing... thank you Blog.

2 comments:

blueviolet said...

It's sad if we really have to make a back-up plan for everything we rely on other people to do. I'm guilty of letting myself get stressed out about everything too. I tend to think about things way too much. Great post!

Jeannie said...

I hear ya on the previous post. I'm constantly talking to people about life with autism.

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