Friday, June 17, 2011

Escaping Stress

Stress. Even seeing the word typed out makes me feel it.

I've been so stressed lately. Every time I have a stressful period it effects me different ways. This time, it's hives. Or extreme emotion. But I'd much rather itch than cry so I've been glad that the last two weeks have been more itching than tears.

I've been so stressed, and trying to escape it different ways.
There's sleeping. But even when I sleep I can still feel the pressure sometimes.
There's computer time. Which I have also been doing, but I'm not seeing it really helping with my stress.
There's writing. Writing is an outlet for me. I've been writing more for my blog, published and unpublished, and writing in my journal. Writing allows me to gain perspective when I see it in black and white. It helps me see when I'm being reasonable, and when I'm completely missing the point. So writing has been a positive escape while also being productive.
There's talking to friends and family as a means of escape. This can be productive, too. Building good relationships and working on them is always a positive thing.
Another way to escape stress is to just not think about whatever it is that stresses me. Focusing on other things and avoiding the stress factor. This can go either way. Either I ignore it and never work through the stress, or I ignore it and eventually it goes away because I've gotten busy and grown beyond it with other more productive things.

This list of ways to escape stress could go on for a while.
If I make a habit of escaping my stress, then won't my strength and ability to deal with the stress diminish? If I don't exercise working through my stress or not letting things get to me, it seems that more and more things will stress me and I will have to escape more and more. And by escaping more and more, I'll just continue the cycle. It's vicious.

So that means I need to work through the stress, and work through the issues that cause the stress. Exercise these stress busting muscles.

One way I can reduce my stress is by resting and eating. I forget to eat, or don't want to eat and forget how much I really need food. It's becoming more and more obvious to me that my mood and well-being is directly tied to how much I've eaten that day. And the less I've eaten, the more tired I am. But I keep going and then stay up a little too late and then get up a little too early. Rest is so good. Rest allows everything to calm down, relax, and helps me put everything into perspective when I take time to rest and look at the big picture. Resting is just as important as accomplishing. Without rest, I can't accomplish.

Another way I can reduce my stress is by working on my spiritual life. Whenever I let myself slip, and get lazy, my stress level goes up. I have to stay consistent with my Bible time and prayer time and thankfulness time. Reading my Bible puts things into perspective, too. Prayer time reminds me that God answers prayers and that I have a relationship with God who made everything! And me! Thankfulness time reminds me of what I have and where I've been and how good God is to me.

I keep thinking of putting things into perspective. It's really easy to feel like this hill is so big, when really it's just an ant bed. When I zoom out to look at the big picture, my big troubling stresser becomes so small. There's really a lot more going on in the world than whatever is stressing me. Looking at the big picture is a good way to figure out where I am and where I'm going and what's really going on.

Another thing to reduce stress is by being missional and thinking of outreach. Often when I am stressed, I start thinking about how stressed I am and what is stressing me, and if I'll stop and think of others and reach out to others my problems are not so bad after all. There's always someone worse off than me.

The problem is, I forget all these things in the stress of the moment. Stress can make me feel kind of bleary-eyed and fuzzy because I'm just so Stressed.  And because of the weight of the stress, I forget what I need to be doing and thinking. My thinking processes start processing wrong and I get caught up in the stress.

But writing helps me remember. When I write about it, I remember what I need to be doing to level off and balance out. And then I have a written reminder that helps me when I stumble across it later...

Like now. :)

So goodbye stress. I'm not letting you control me. But I'm not escaping from you either. I'm busting you.

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