Last night I was sitting at my kitchen table before yoga thinking about what today’s tangent should be about. Last week I wrote about control and I knew I wanted to stay along those same lines, but couldn’t think of a good example of something I’ve been fixating on lately. Then my boyfriend (who is literally the best ever at being stressed out about insignificant things that don’t matter, which I say out of complete love ;)) called me when he got out of work and told me he had an “epiphany” during the work day when someone brought something to his attention that would typically fire him up and instead of freaking out, he just said you know what? This is just one of those things that doesn’t matter. And I was super proud of him for 1) being calm and 2) giving me an idea for this post.
So today I am going to write about stress. A super broad topic, but something that we all experience every single day, whether we realize it or not. I used to be a lot more stressed out than I am now. Every little thing used to bother me and cause me enormous amounts of not only stress, but anxiety, worry, and sadness, too. Nowadays I am much better about realizing what actually matters and is worth my stress and what is not.
With that being said, I still stress about things/people I truly care about and love and just want to be good in general. I would say that my main sources of stress are running out of money, one of my loved ones having something physically wrong with them, and if other people are thinking negatively of me (I never said they were rational or real stressors).
I suppose the stress around running out of money is directly correlated to work. Now for a little background information, I have a great job and have never had any sort of issue with not having enough money. But I still have this little bit of stress constantly in the back of my mind telling me that I could get fired from my job tomorrow, blow through my savings in three months, that no one else would hire me, and I would be back living with my parents. Will this happen? Probably not. And even if it did, would the world end? No. Yet the stress remains.
I don’t really stress about something bad happening to me, but I sure do about those I love. I am so blessed in that I’ve never had an actual emergency (nor has anyone I am close to), but sometimes I feel like I’m just waiting for that phone call where I get terrible news about someone I love with my whole heart. I know that this is bound to happen at some point in my life, but I can’t seem to convince my brain that stressing about it today will do absolutely nothing to eliminate that possibility in the future.
After almost every single interaction I have with someone (whether in person, on the phone, via text, whatever) I leave feeling anxious that I said too much or too little and that they’re silently (or out loud) judging me and never want to see me again. This could honestly be something I stress about until the next time I hear from that person. And sometimes even then it doesn’t go away. This is so silly, because it happens with some of my very best friends! For a while I was really good at not really caring what other people thought about me, but it’s definitely come back pretty strong in recent months. This is a stressor that I go in waves with; sometimes it’s non-existent, and sometimes it’s present in every interaction I have.
I really do have a blessed life. In theory, I shouldn’t be stressing about any of the above-mentioned items because I can’t control them (throwing it back to last week), but I think that it shows how much I care about the people that are associated with them. I care about money because I want to be able to help provide a good life for my future family, I care about physical issues because I only want my loved ones to be 100% healthy and happy, and I care about negative thoughts because I always want to bring joy to my interactions with people – those I love and those who are strangers.
Stress robs us of our ability to get things done. It stops us from fully enjoying a situation which would otherwise be perfectly lovely. I hate that little prick in the back of my brain that pops up at the most inopportune moments and stops any sort of peace I was feeling. If I could figure out a way to just delete irrational stressors, I think I would be a billionaire.
But in the meantime, here’s what I try to do when I find myself stressing about something silly (or something that’s really worth it, but I know I can’t change/control):
- As of lately, go to a yoga class – I’ve only been back to two, but man is it helping already
- On that same note, workout – just seems to break everything up and gives my body something else to focus on
- Watch a TV show I love – helps me get into the mind of the characters and out of my own
- I’ve mentioned this before, but actually write out what is stressing me out – whether on actual paper or in the notes in my phone
- If it’s at night and causing me to not be able to fall asleep, I plan a fake vacation in my head – no clue why, but it works every time
Stress sucks. And doesn’t do any good. I probably need to repeat that to myself twenty times a day, but for now I’ll just repeat it here. 🙂
What’s your biggest stressor right now? What do you do to combat it?