On de-stressing my life

I’ve dealt with stress for many years. I tried to avoid it for many years, but ended up in a high stress job, which became more and more stressful as the company got more and more screwed up. But, let’s not get into that.

Now, life is also very stressful. I need to find another job or career, and suddenly there are other worries and demands. But, let’s not go there, either.

Three months ago I went to the ER as I was experiencing what I thought was stress-related symptoms, and stayed for triple bypass surgery. Not directly stress-related, but still probably a big factor; it turns out that while I need to stick to a low-cholesterol, low-sodium, low-sugar diet, they told me that managing stress is probably the most important factor in keeping my heart going as long as possible.

Things I learned while replacing a garbage disposal

So, in trying to “manage” stress, here’s what I have discovered: Stress is a response. More accurately, a lot of what we experience as stress is our own programmed response to our circumstances. I’m not saying that stress isn’t out there—there’s a lot of it, and it’s out to get you. But, external stress doesn’t have to become internal stress.

Some of you may be going, “duh…,” but it’s new info for me. At least it’s new info that I have acknowledged. I am not always quick on the uptake.

I have discovered that I have choices as to how I respond, and that this affects my internal stress. At times, I have to choose to walk away from something. Or, instead of getting frustrated over things, I can look at them humorously, like how the “Cosby” characters always responded to each other. I never could relate to that kind of light-hearted approach (my humor tended to be more of the Hawkeye Pierce variety), but am finding that it works.

I’m not successful all of the time.  Okay, much of the time. But, I am looking for the humor in circumstances whenever possible.  If that doesn’t work, I can always go play my banjo.

 

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