Feb 23, 2008 11:27 AM
from Dying mans daily journal by Bill Howdle
It is really getting better here in Manitoba, the deep freeze is I hope over for the year. It is still definitely winter but the bone chilling cold has at least let up.
I have a lot of time to just sit around and think, that is pretty much how I spend most of my days, between that and napping.
Something has really hit home with me as I look back over my years. How much unnecessary stress I took upon myself. I have heart problems and there is no doubt, diet lack of exercise and general life choices contributed largely to that. But I do believe stress was also a major contributing factor.
Stress in life is natural, it comes with being human. Certain amounts of short term stress I even think can be good for us, certainly can be a motivator at times. To me I think what is important is how in fact we deal with the stress, the amounts of stress we take on, and how long we hang on to it. It is like every thing in life finding balance, so often so hard to do.
I recently read somewhere, likely in an email, but I am not sure. Hey I am memory guy, I may have even written about this before, not sure.
But, I read of a teacher or professor teaching a class. In the class he demonstrated what I think is an excellent lesson about all things in life. He picked up a glass of water and held it in his hand with his arm extended straight out from his shoulder. He asked the class how difficult any thought that would be. Obviously no one thought that it would be difficult at all. All felt they could very easily do that. He then explained that if held for short periods, it is in fact not difficult to deal with. He then explained that everything is relative. In fact holding the glass in you hand with your arm straight out from you shoulder is no problem. But, what would happen if suddenly for some reason you had to continue to hold it in that position and just weren’t able to let it go. Holding your arm straight out like that would suddenly become much more diffcult if suppose you held it like that for say 1/2 hour or maybe an hour. Suddenly the weight of that glass would become unm anageable. Hold you arm out like that for an extended period of time and you would likely end up in the hospital.
I think that is a really great illustration of stress in our lives. See stress as the glass of water. Hold it for a short period of time and not a big deal. Try to hang on to it for an extended period and suddenly, it becomes a big deal. It would affect our minds and our bodies much like that glass of water would eventually do to our arms.
Getting rid of stress is undoubtedly one of the biggest challenges we face in life. Everyone has to find the way that works best for them.
Something I have realized is that we can rid our selves of a lot of stress by just not taking it on to begin with. Yeah, I know that sound easy when you just say it fast, and it often isn’t. How do we do this, largely by simply learning to say no. I have learn that so often people, all people will tend to lessen their own stress levels by simply passing it off to another. Lessened their load and stress levels by simply passing it on to someone else.
There are hundreds of example I could give of situations like this. Some are big, some are small, but the size of the issue is not the point. The point is you took some one else’s stress or problem upon yourself. Now who has to deal with it?
Just one example, suppose you are working in an office. You are swamped with work, struggling to keep your head above water. Everyone else in the office is just as busy. A coworker comes to you and complains of how busy he/she is and asks to pass off a couple of files to you. Being the nice kind person you are you agree. What did you actually do? Took away this persons stress by taking it on yourself. Now don’t take me wrong if the circumstances are such that you have the time this is a kind and generous thing to do. But not if it is to the detriment of your own health and well being.
This is such a fine balancing act. I have always been a strong advocate of doing acts of kindness for others and I will always continue to be that. I strongly believe in continually looking for ways to perform these acts of kindness as long as it is not detrimental to our own health.
Stress is a killer, I know what it has done to me. I don’t want it to happen to others. Work on establishing healthy boundaries. In any situation recognize who’s problem it is and if it is not yours don’t take it on. Unless circumstances are such that you can do it in a healthy way as an act of kindness.