I started listening to a 7-day Stress Management series provided by the Calm App (iOS). The narrator said something quite enlightening; something along the lines that “us humans are not yet ready to take on the stresses of the 21st century.”
Stress is normal everyday life now; however, our Fight or Flight Response System is a little behind on the times. There is just too much going on for our Fight or Flight Response System to process, thus, our bodies are thrown into constant high alert making us feel stressed all the time. Practicing mindfulness and changing our thinking habits allow our Fight or Flight Response System more time to re-evaluate and accurately process the world around us to ensure our bodies appropriately respond to the right stressors.
Stressors are everywhere. From the moment we wake up in the morning to the moment we rack out asleep in our beds at night. I don’t know about anyone else, but my alarm clock is my first everyday stressor. After avoiding the snooze button, my alarm clock turns into a thirty minute count-down where I am having to rush everyone to get ready for the day. Drag my husband out of bed and push him into the shower, so he can wake up enough to get his butt to work. Argue with a two year old about which cereal she wants but never eats. Coax my preschooler to join the rest of us as she whines about it being too cold to get out of bed, even though the house is comfortably warm. Lastly, after everyone is ready to go, with just a few minutes left on the clock, I have to get ready! Every morning is chaotic and I have the power to change it! Just by changing up my morning routine and focus on better time management, I can eliminate my everyday morning stressors.
What is your first stressor of everyday?
Life is full of funky lemons and we can’t always control what funky lemons are given to us. We can try to make lemonade, but all we get is funky lemonade. Simply, we are often forced to cope with stressful situations that are out of our control.
Life is full of uncontrollable stressors, like traffic. Traffic becomes stressful when it causes us to be late for work or somewhere else that is really important. OR, like getting laid off; it’s just something that happens and even the best employees get laid off sometimes. Another uncontrollable stressor, is being a scheduled speaker with a nasty mustard stain on a favorite white blouse just before the start of a board meeting and no jacket to cover it up. Or life’s worst funky lemon, for me, is finding my textbook all chewed up just before an open-book exam! We encounter uncontrollable stressors everyday, but it’s how we respond to these stressors that make or break us.
Always try to make the best of every stressful situation! For instance, if you are stuck in traffic and running late for work, loosen your tie, roll down your window, turn up the radio and sing your heart out! Despite being chewed out by your boss for five minutes, your job is still gonna be there. Don’t let a little traffic ruin your entire day.
Overcoming the stress of getting laid off, is all about changing your attitude. Sure, money will be tight, but when a door closes another one opens. That sounds cheesy, a little cliche, but it’s so true!
That mustard stain…I say wear it proud! It may be embarrassing at first, but everyone will understand, because you are human! You can also get creative by covering it with a sticker, snag a scarf, or if possible, tuck it in. Often times, because offices are cold, someone with a sweater will likely allow you to borrow theirs while you speak to the board of directors.
And, for the chewed up text-book…well, good luck!
Small Breaks To Knock Out Big Stressors
Sometimes we can’t make the best of a stressful situation. There are some serious uncontrollable stressors out there that just cannot be resolved with a little creativity and a positive attitude. When forced to endure an uncontrollable stressful situation that cannot be resolved, we must find other ways to better cope with stress.
Really big uncontrollable stressors is a job for our Fight or Flight Response System. Although we cannot do anything physically productive to eliminate a big uncontrollable stressor in our life, we do have the ability to take small relaxing breaks to help our bodies cope with stress.
This includes practicing mindfulness and acceptance, meditating, reading, taking a walk, exercise, having a spa day, or distracting yourself with something fun while the body does its thing (you know releasing those feel-good chemicals to reduce stress). So, even if we cannot eliminate the stressor, we can help our bodies cope with the stress the stressor is causing us.
Breathe and Smile
Whatever type of stressors are in your life, always remember to stop, breathe, and smile.
Do you have any effective coping skills for major stressors in your life? Share with us, so we can try them too.