July 9, 2013

Worry & Stress Less

It's Monday...so far so good. A start to a new week. But let me step back for a minute and express two emotions I have been battling heavily over these past few days. WORRY & STRESS. What's causing me to worry and stress you might ask? I think it's a combination of being unemployed, missing my family, being away from my Community Group and the church I felt so accepted at and the overall fact that I am still 'new' to Charlotte. I haven't been able to make a lot of new friends yet and still have so much to do around the Condo, but thankfully I have a boyfriend who is very supportive and constantly reminds me to lean back on God for support. Just yesterday, Will sent me a text message to check out Hebrews 10:35 which states that one should not throw away their confidence because it will be richly rewarded. Thinking back on that verse today has helped maintain some of the emotions I am currently struggling with. Today, I am going to do my best to rely on God to control my emotions, and as I do so, I wanted to also share a list of stress tips by **Gaynor McTigue that that I have used in the past (and will in the future) that I keep in my nightstand to look at from time to time. Enjoy :)

Know the right time to bring up an issue
Timing is everything, especially when it comes to broaching subjects that are not dear to anther's heart, or asking someone to do something for you. Knowing the right moment can save a lot of unnecessary friction and will help you more easily accomplish your goal. For example, don't clobber someone with your problems the minute they walk through the door. Learn to judge a person's mood before bringing up a sensitive subject. It takes practice, but try putting yourself in the other person's position and imagine the best time YOU would want someone to bring up an issue.

Don't dwell on discomforts
This one I struggle with more then others. Yes, the shower may be too cold, your home not as clean as you want it to be, your family unable to be reached by phone/email...but rather than keep reminding yourself of how unpleasant you feel, try enveloping yourself in an 'imaginary buffer'. The irritant may still be there, you're still aware of these discomforts, but it's not penetrating the mental barrier you've constructed. Your thoughts are elsewhere; positive and optimistic. The more you are able to practice "zoning out", the more you'll be able to pass off even the most persistent annoyances you are faced with.

Don't stress over what to say
We often reproach ourselves for not finding the right words at the right time. We deplore awkward pauses and fumbled utterances. We get frustrated that we're not as coherent, quick-witted, eloquent and incisive as others. But that's reality! I have had to realize this especially when it comes to praying out-loud with a group of people. Life is full of clumsy dialog. You can't articulate eloquently every moment of the day. So accept it. Get over it. And move on.

Learn to live with daily "stresslets"
"Stresslets" are those momentary little delays, disruptions or setback that cause a pin prick of aggravation dozens, even hundreds of times a day.
Examples: a Web page taking a few extra seconds to load, a jarring phone interruption, a misplaced pen. Stresslets are a product of our high-tech, fast-paced expectations...a growing intolerance to glitches of any kind. They can shorten your breath, heighten tension, promote irritability...and lumped together, add up to major stress. You simply have to factor them in as a given in life, roll with them, and weigh their insignificance against the enormous gains in productivity and convenience you enjoy today. 

Work before play
Leisure is better enjoyed when it follows a period of good hard work. But putting off work to have your fun first is another story. Rather than relieving stress, it can be a source of it. Because now you made a conscious decision to fall behind. And the prospect of neglected work to make up can erode your fun. In the work/play cycle the effort should always come first, before the reward.

Don't deny yourself occasional "sprawl" time
Sprawl time is that unplanned, spontaneous time when you almost involuntarily disengage from an arduous task to flip through a magazine, browse a website, lapse into a conversation, putter around aimlessly, or drift off into a reverie. Don't chide yourself on such occasions. Don't feel guilty you've put time to worthwhile purpose. Quite the contrary. Look at these interludes as circuit breakers, telling you to ease up and rest a bit or you'll burn yourself out, become irritable, frustrated, overstressed. Rather than resist, let your mind and body welcome these relaxing breaks from the unrelenting grind.

**These stress tips are based from the book Why Make Yourself Crazy?: 300 Strategies for a Stress-Free Life.

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