Last weekend, as my husband and I were having a relaxing Sunday brunch at our local coffee hangout, I noticed an elegant woman in the corner of my eye.
She appeared to be waiting for someone.
Another elegant woman showed up not long after and they began to chat excitedly, as though they hadn’t met in a while.
I couldn’t understand what they were talking about because they were speaking a foreign language — it sounded like Hindi — but I noticed the first woman, who was doing most of the talking, kept repeating one word in English.
She appeared to be updating her friend on how she has been and was telling her a story about something that was stressing her out.
She said the word “stress/stressed” quite a few times. It was the only English word used and she said it often enough that it really started to stand out to me.
And that got me thinking.
It’s a word I rarely use these days — I worked hard to cut the habit of thinking that I was “stressed”, and today, I prefer to think of moments which could be stressful as times that challenge us.
There are no triggers, only teachers.
There was a time though, when I remember saying I was stressed for just about anything.
“I hate getting stuck in traffic, it really stresses me out.”
“I’d rather not deal with confrontation, I don’t need that kind of stress.”
“I’ve got so much on my plate, I can’t cope, I’m so stressed out.”
It’s a word I think most of us have used to describe our situation at some point of our lives.
For some, that word is a representation of how they feel on a regular basis.
Whether it’s work, relationship or general life related… it’s there.
Articles, books and businesses are built around this rising emotion and the need to de-stress, unwind, relax, let go.
But what is “stress” and what does feeling it mean?
According to this article, anything that poses a challenge or a threat to our well-being is a stress. We generally use the word “stress” when we feel that everything seems to have become too much — we are overloaded and wonder whether we really can cope with the pressures placed upon us.
So we’ve all been there, and some of us (whether we realise or not), experience it on a regular basis.
And here’s something that probably isn’t news to you — we need to cut the stress from our lives. It’s an emotion that needs to be managed, if not eliminated.
You’ll never be happy if you’re feeling stressed out. It will also start to take its toll on your health. Stress can lead to physical symptoms including headaches, upset stomach, elevated blood pressure, chest pain, and problems sleeping. According to research, it can also bring on or worsen certain symptoms or diseases.
So how does one cut stress? After all, life still has to go on. Problems and challenges will always be there. To some, stress is unavoidable.
If you Google it, you’ll find answers like meditate, exercise, sleep more, eat better, take a holiday, spend time with a loved one, stroke a pet, etc.
But the start to all of that has to begin with the mindset around the idea of “stress”.
“We cannot solve our problems with the same kind thinking we used when we created them.” Albert Einstein
And how do we do that?
Listen to what Rabbi Dr. Abraham Twerski has to say about that in this 1:30 minute video.
He simplifies how you can make that mindset shift by seeing times of stress as times of growth. Once you can do that, you not only stop feeling “stressed” about something you’re experiencing, but you start to appreciate it as something that will shape you into who you need to be next.
Check it out and hear his thoughts on why if lobsters had doctors, they would never grow. 🙂
What are some of your own tips for managing stress? Share them with us below!