Tag Archives: Stress

All About Stress

I read some interesting things about stress yesterday.

First, it shortens your life. Duh.

But the interesting thing this report said is that your body constantly lives in the now. If your mind lived in the now, there would be no stress, no conflict, no tension.

I’ve always thought that we control our own level of stress, but I’ve never considered it to be this simple an equation before. If my mind is too busy thinking about what just happened or what might happen, then I feel stress, as my body is trying to pull me back to the present moment, which is where I ought to be anyway, paying attention and appreciating my life. The further into my history I dwell, or the further into the future, the more stress I feel.

Knowing the source of the stress/tension should make it easier to correct.

Another reason to live in the now.

In gratitude.

One day at a time.

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Filed under Discipline, peace, Possibilities, relationships, Spirituality, Stress, Twelve Steps

Too Busy

I’m too busy.

A variety of things have converged on my schedule for the last three weeks and for the next three. This six week period is the busiest time I can ever remember. This is when my training of “one day at a time” really comes in handy.

But really. What does “too busy” mean? Too busy to do what? To meditate? I make time for that. To appreciate my husband, my home, my health, my life? I make time for that. To work in the garden, to play with the dog, to buy groceries? I make time for all those things. To have lunch with my girlfriends? To read? To study? I make time for those things, too.

When I say I’m too busy, what that means is that I busy out my schedule just enough so that I don’t have time to do the things I find most distasteful or inconvenient. I don’t enjoy bookkeeping chores, so I put those off until it becomes a project, and then it looms larger and I would rather kill the beast than to have the bulging file folder stare at me a single minute longer. There are other things I don’t particularly enjoy, and my excuse is: “I’m too busy.” But that’s no excuse at all.

Except for right now, of course. Right now I really am too busy, but there is an end date to this crazy time, and I swear upon all that is holy in my life, that I will never let my schedule control me the way it has these few weeks. I don’t like what it does to my mental health, or my physical health. I tend to not exercise (low priority…). I make mistakes, and then I have to clean up after myself, adding more stress and using up more daylight.

I heard the other day that if you want to live in the material world, you have to speed up, and if you want to live in the spiritual world, you have to slow down.

A friend sent me a link to this fabulous timer. I’ve downloaded it to my desktop. It serves either as a timer or as a random reminder. Every morning I set it to go off randomly every 7 to 15 minutes, and when the gong sounds, I sit back, close my eyes, and take a moment for myself, to remember that I am a beloved child of God, no matter what. This helps slow me down and reminds me of what’s important.

Are you too busy? Or is that just a good excuse?

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Filed under peace, Possibilities, Spirituality, Stress, time

Dealing with Anxiety

Fear of the unknown is the worst. Well, it’s really the only fear there is. If we knew what was around the next corner, unless it was life-threatening, there wouldn’t be anything to fear. But this not-knowing…

It seems like our lives are always in the hands of someone else: a boss, a partner, an application, a teacher, a diagnosis, the weather. Wondering how they (or it) will affect our lives while we stand by helplessly watching and worrying, is the stuff of anxiety. That’s silly, isn’t it? To worry about things over which we have no control?

In fact, I have to continually remind myself that I have little control over anything. My attitude is the only thing I really have control over, and I’m not entirely in charge of that, either.

Right now I’m worrying. I have anxiety. It’s not life or death, but it’s important to me, and it’s out of my hands, and I am absolutely powerless to do anything but fret.

What a waste of time and energy this is. 

I’m going to go to my quiet place and spend some time in contemplation. I’ll try to reason my way out of this. 1. What’s the worst that could happen? 2. Is the person into whose hands this has been given competent to handle it? 3. How important is this, really, in the greater scheme of things?

The answers to all of those questions are obvious and make my worrying seem silly, yet they did not entirely alleviate my stress. 

Perhaps it is merely a rhythm. Perhaps we need time to be stressed out so we appreciate those times when life seems to be running smoothly. It’s the yin and the yang. The darkness and the light. There is no joy without a little grief. There is no spring without the winter.

Maybe I need to contemplate this instead of dwelling on my uncertainty. Maybe I need to appreciate this time of doubt, knowing that it is temporary, and there will be more confidence and a good lesson learned on the other side.

I’ll work on it, because today, I can do little else.

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Filed under disappointment, dreams, goals, Stress

Essential Stress

I have too much work on my desk. This is a cyclical condition. As with most things, it’s boom or bust; feast or famine. Right now, it’s manageable, but barely. Last week I kind of freaked out, but I knocked out a project and so it’s back to just “seriously intense”.

I like it just a little less intense than this, but I do enjoy my stress. I love my deadlines, love a little pressure. Today I want to get out into the nice day on my bicycle, so I have a little added pressure to get my scheduled “must-do” things done on a timeline that will allow for that.

Last summer I decided to take a couple of months off. No work, no school, no schedule. Just work in the garden, lie about and read. Lunch with the girlfriends. Bad idea. I was miserable, and started manufacturing grand schemes (aka “trouble”) in my mind.

Some day retirement will be an option for me, and I’m one of those who will have to do some serious retirement planning so I don’t drive myself nuts with inactivity. Or inappropriate activity (heh heh). But then does a writer ever really retire?

But for now, I have two research papers to finish, an anthology to edit, a weekend retreat to prepare for, two writing projects to progress, a garden to plant, and a husband and dog to keep happy. That’s a little too much for today, especially if I want my bike ride. Next week, I’ll have finished the anthology, one of the research papers and the retreat planning, and then my stress level will be just right.

As with all things, balance is always the goal, and when it comes to self-imposed stress, balance is particularly crucial.

Will I ever get it right?

Probably not.

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Filed under Bicycle, Discipline, Gardening, girlfriends, Marriage, Stress, time, Writing

14 Hours of Sleep

I’m finally caught up, but hoo boy, May was quite the month. It’s all over now, and I didn’t have the usual let-down migraine, for which I am very grateful. Fourteen hours of sleep cured much of the leftover exhaustion after a stressful time.

In May: We had a deadline to finish the remodel of the bathroom before guests arrived. We had the pretrip meeting here for the Ghosts at the Coast. We did Ghosts at the Coast. Family arrived, and more family arrived for a great reunion over Mother’s Day. I turned over the odometer yet one more time. I had a biopsy (negative). We went to Utah for a different family reunion to scatter my mother’s ashes (an event that went better than I could ever have dreamed, by the way, and left me with a warmth in my heart that I haven’t felt toward my family in a long time), and I finished a very introspective and emotional paper for school. Whew. That was my May. No wonder I’m tired.

And now I will do my sixty hour practicum and then take the summer off. I’ve not had a summer off since I was fifteen years old. This will be sweet. The garden will be a showplace.

And what have I learned in this process?

It’s all one day at a time.

Respond rather than react.

My attitude is the only thing I have control over.

Life is good.

More soon.

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Filed under family, family reunion, Gardening, Ghost Story Weekend, Learning