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I’m Stressed Out about My Stress Load!!

 

            It seems that I am constantly confronted by the “fact” that I must reduce my stress load or I am at risk for developing or exacerbating health problems of all kinds. Furthermore, without self-intervention to reduce my stress, I am also at risk for career burnout, relationship problems, and psychological misery. Based on the glut of information I’ve read and heard about the horrors of stress-related-problems, I’m pretty worried (i.e., stressed).

            Over the last few years I’ve seen hundreds of articles devoted to the topic of stress (in magazines, newspapers, and scientifically based medical and psychological journals) and watched tons of news programs that feature “Stress Reduction Experts” who describe and explain (ad nauseam) the dangers of living with stress. People (me?) must be awfully interested in stress as a topic; maybe it’s hip to be stressed out.

            Frankly, hip or not, I’m sick of being so damn aware of my stress load and how vital it is that I reduce it. I’ve grown weary on the subject of Stress. I GET IT: STRESS IS BAD!!! According to the research I’ve seen, if I don’t reduce my stress (and fast) I’ll probably get cancer and die before my time.

I “Googled” Stress Related Illnesses and here are the top 10 per WebMD.com:

  1. Heart Disease
  2. Asthma
  3. Obesity
  4. Diabetes
  5. Headaches
  6. Depression and Anxiety
  7. Gastrointestinal Diseases
  8. Alzheimer’s
  9. Accelerated Aging
  10. Premature Death

Other frequently identified stress-related-disorders included Panic Attacks, Eating Disorders, Skin Disorders, Systemic Infections and Cancer.

Lists like these make me believe that pretty much everything that is wrong with me, was wrong with me, or will be wrong with me is, was or will be related to my stress.

By the way, if one more doctor or “healthcare professional” tells me that exercise is the cure for stress, I’m going to kick-box him or her right in the mouth.

Stress is caused by internal conflict, not love handles. If I’m stressed it’s because I don’t want to be doing whatever it is I’m doing or I don’t want to feel whatever it is I’m feeling. The trick to managing stress is in being able to first discern between what is in my power to change and what is beyond my control. Secondly, if I am disturbed by a problem that I can actually fix, I must have the courage to fix it. Thirdly, if I am experiencing a problem over which I have no control, I must accept it.

The famous Serenity Prayer teaches the solution to stress in the simplest terms: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference. This simple prayer is probably the greatest stress-management tool of all time. Memorize it and then trash all those articles and books about stress because the 25 words of the Serenity Prayer will teach you all you need to know about stress management.

I hear breathing helps too.

 

14 Comments

  1. Rosemary Nahas-Reply
    June 14, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    I think you nailed it when you stated that much of our stress comes from “I don’t want to do or feel whatever it is that I’m doing or feeling.” Prayer helps, especially, the Serenity prayer, but it takes willpower and lots of practice to change the thoughts that are dragging me down and the same goes for whatever I’m doing or not doing that’s dragging me down.

  2. Gina Barrack-Reply
    June 14, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    I love your recommendation Barbara about saying the Serenity Prayer when feeling stressed. It’s amazing how it helps to put things in perspective for me and calms me down. Thank you so much 🙂

  3. Jim-Reply
    June 14, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    Finally, a short and practical way of viewing and dealing with stress…what a great article!!

  4. Melanie-Reply
    June 14, 2013 at 6:22 pm

    Great words of wisdom. Thank you for posting.

    • June 18, 2013 at 10:32 am

      Thanks for taking the time to post your comment! I’m so glad my blog entry was helpful. I plan to continue writing similarly themed postings so please check in from time to time. Thanks again, Melanie! Barbara J.

  5. June 16, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    Some clear basic details that can get lost in fancy terminology and jargon-so its good to hear it in simple English. However, some stress can be motivating and healthy to get us moving, achieve goals and make reasonable changes to our lives-lets not cheat ourselves of knowing about both sides.

    • June 18, 2013 at 10:29 am

      Super good point! It’s true that we be able to discern between good, healthy stress and the kind that needlessly robs us of our peace of mind. Thank you for your comment! Barbara J.

  6. Chris Costello-Reply
    June 24, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    I like the summary of how to handle stress:

    “The trick to managing stress is in being able to first discern between what is in my power to change and what is beyond my control. Secondly, if I am disturbed by a problem that I can actually fix, I must have the courage to fix it. Thirdly, if I am experiencing a problem over which I have no control, I must accept it.”

  7. August 23, 2013 at 1:26 am

    Good stuff

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