let's talk: stress

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Stress:  the belief that you don't have the skills to handle a particular situation.

It's 6am.  I'm tired, grumpy, and feel the kick of anxiety in my stomach.  I didn't sleep at all last night.  My neck is killing me.  Everyone was up and a few are still awake, driving me insane this particular morning.  I'm feeling the whole situation is unjust since I have a big day today.  I hope the twins don't wake up the big girls. I'm just not ready to start the day...

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Stress:  all of the garbage in our mind that keeps us from really living:

  • doubt
  • fear
  • anxiety
  • feeling inferior
  • comparing ourselves

I'm expecting out of town company today.  There's no way I can let my company see my piles of papers, undone projects lying around,  the messy basement, the overgrown garden.  I don't want to be judged based on the state of my house.  What if my company realizes I'm not perfect, I can't keep this up all the time?

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Stress: using and believing in phrases that literally create anxiety in our bodies, like:

  • "I should have, I could have..."
  • "I always" or "I never"
  • "I can't be happy until..."
  • "Everyone expects me to ..."
  • "Why can't I just get it right?"

In a stress management course I took years ago I learned that every single thought we produce creates certain chemicals in our body.  When we have negative thoughts, whether being cynical about life, hard on ourselves, setting impossible expectations, or being irrationally judgmental of others, every cell in our body is creating chemicals based on those negative thoughts.  And guess what?  Can you wonder why we have a society of IBS, anxiety, headaches, depression, sick stomaches, tense shoulders, rapid breathing, anger, irritability?

Stress: expecting to control many things that we will never be able to control.

If we were to make a chart of the things we actually have control over and the things we don't have control over, it would look something like this:

Poor Control:

  • weather
  • other people's actions
  • our genetics
  • our background
  • our past
  • world affairs
  • sickness and disease
  • the list goes on and on...

 

Total Control:

  • Our actions
  • Our attitude

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I've learned a lot about stress over the years through college, jobs, marriage, children, personal goals, failures, and so forth.  One thing that is for certain, stress is the garbage that holds me back.  Once I'm in the rut, it takes time to get out.

How I try to avoid stress:

  1. Force my mind (which takes a lot of training) to only allow truthful, healing thoughts.  That means I have to treat myself with a lot of care.
  2. When I begin to allow a negative thought, I disregard it as false or at least, hurtful, and make myself replace it quickly with something I know to be try or reasonable.
  3. Be prepared.  Be prepared.  Be prepared.  There is less running around, less grumpy Mommy, less forgetfulness, less frustration and chaos.  This goes for getting out the door with diapers and wipes (which I've had to head back home for many times), or giving myself a reasonable amount of time to do something.
  4. Get up early.  There is something beautiful about that quiet, untouched morning that prepared me emotionally for the day ahead.  I am definitely a nicer, more calm mother when I've had some me time to look at the day's schedule uninterrupted and do something for me.
  5. Get outside and run.  Or do anything physical, especially outdoors.  Exercise and being in the sun actually helps replenish the serotonin in your brain, which acts like a natural anti-depressant.
  6. Say this phrase a lot: "Let go."  There are so many things I hold onto that I allow to stress me out.  But when I can, once again, I work to control my mind and think healing, positive phrases like, "Let go".  It is as though I can see the face of stress and the radiant face of freedom.  I try to choose the freedom.
  7. Take deep cleansing breaths.
  8. Use lavender oil on my neck or simply inhale it.  Lavender is an adaptogen, and therefore can assist the body when adapting to stress or imbalances.

 

 

Let's talk:  How does stress invade your life?  How do you avoid stress and see yourself and the world rationally?