Friday, July 17, 2009

On Dealing With Stress

You all will have to forgive me if I’m on a bit of a “Winget” tear these past couple of weeks, but I’ve been reading through the four books of his I’ve picked up from the library, so a lot of his core philosophy is taking up a fair amount of my time lately. Still, there’s a lot that he says (bluntly and with no subtlety whatsoever (LOL!) ) that make a lot of sense, and I really liked the thoughts he has concerning stress (note, this is his concept and his chapter from "Shut Up, Stop Whining, and Get a Life" that I'm talking about here, and this is honestly verbatim the exercise he suggests that you do in the book, so here it is for your voyeuristic pleasure :) ).

Now, here’s a rhetorical question… if you could give up all your stress right now, would you do it? I think the answer for most people is a resounding “YES”, but that brings up back to the question of, “how am I getting stressed out to being with?!” There are people that will help you do “stress management” and figure out ways to help cope with stress, manage stress, and work with stress, but wouldn’t it be great if we could all just learn to eliminate stress entirely?!

In Larry Winget’s world view, and one I feel I am agreeing with more and more, (and this is a direct quote):

“Stress comes from knowing what is right and doing what is wrong.”

So what causes you stress? Here’s some of the things that I deal with and often cause me stress:

· getting ready for Scout Outings
· studying for school (when I went) or studying for work (which I do now)
· dealing with yelling and noisy kids
· arriving late to anything
· missing work deadlines
· annoyance at rapid transit for delays
· not being in the physical shape I want to be
· earning enough to cover the basics but wishing I had more for [fillInTheBlank]

That’s a fairly decent and representative list (LOL!).

So here’s the premise and the idea to follow on with. In each of those listed items, what is causing the stress? Is it the item in question, or is it my response to it? Actually, is it the fact that I am not responding to it correctly that’s really the cause? In each and every one of those areas, I know what I should be doing. The fact that they are a stress in my life is that I’m not doing what I should be doing.

So let’s take the list and let’s see what we can do about it:

· getting ready for Scout Outings (this one is actually really simple; just make sure that all of the gear is packed well in advance, that all parties know what they need to do, and then let the chips fall where they may. If the boys forget something, they forget it and they do without. If I forget something, the same applies. Freaking out over it doesn’t help anyway).

· studying for school (when I went) or studying for work (which I do now) (yes, it’s tedious at times, and yes it’s the last think I may *want* to do at any given moment, but it’s these things that reap positive benefits down the road. The answer is to not procrastinate, to do a little each day and focus on small steps instead of trying to accomplish big jumps. Plan the work, work the plan).

· dealing with yelling and noisy kids (is it the kids problem, or is it my problem? Why does this stress me out? Because I don’t want to hear it, or because I have not done the necessary things earlier on to prevent the escalation to this point? Ah, now there’s the rub! Instead of getting aggravated that the kids are yelling at each other, I should be earlier in the process [maybe days or weeks] helping them understand how to deal with and interact with each other).

· arriving late to anything (this is pretty simple, actually… leave earlier and prepare to do something if that action gets me there early. If something happens along the way that delays us beyond our control, well, realize that… it’s beyond my control, and stressing won’t change that fact).

· missing work deadlines (now really, this is just all about the man in the mirror. If it’s because I did all I could and couldn’t get it done on time, then I have to simply state I did all that I could and that the time just wasn’t enough… but often that’s just not the case. The real reason is procrastination or poor planning, or not reading through and understanding how long something will really take. While on a rare occasion there is an unrealistic deadline, ultimately I have to be the one to say “this can be done in X amount of time” and then I better darn well make sure that I allocate enough time and focus to accomplish the task in X amount of time, since that’s my word on the line there).

· annoyance at rapid transit for delays (if I can control it, and if I can make an alternate plan, I should do so. If I can’t, I need to contact those who may be waiting, explain the situation, and then let go of it. I’m not the train conductor; there’s nothing I can do to make them arrive on time. While I’m waiting, I might as well do some other things that require attention).

· not being in the physical shape I want to be (dude, this is entirely “man in the mirror” stuff; no one to blame but yourself. Eat less, exercise more, make the time to do it. Otherwise, just pipe down and deal (LOL!) ).

· earning enough to cover the basics but wishing I had more for [fillInTheBlank] (the real question is “what are you willing to do about it?” Is overtime an option? Can you freelance a little on the side? Would talking a second job be an option? Are you allocating your money correctly to the areas that are most important? Have you asked your manager for a raise? Have you done work of a quality that is commensurate with the asking? Each one of these questions is squarely in MY court. If I have stress here, it’s my own fault, and my own domain to do something about).

So what makes you stressed? And at the end of it all, is it the circumstances, or is it you and how you deal with them? I know my answer after doing this. How about you :)?

1 comment:

Melissa Lundquist said...

good to know. stress is such a leading cause of disease and so many other things we don't have time for. thanks for this post. good read.