Stress can be a tricky thing to define because it is so specific to each person. Because of that, you need to define stress for yourself so that you know it when it hits you.
For our purposes, I have defined stress as:
· Anything that causes one to feel tense, overwhelmed, generally negative, or have a "not going right" feeling.
· Anything or lack of something that causes us to feel anxious, uptight, inadequate, worried, chaotic, or disordered. In general, it makes us feel bad.
· A feeling that can move from a little "blech" feeling to that outright "what am I going to do!" feeling in a matter of seconds.
· Its a weight in our hearts, a weariness in our souls. Its worry, fret, and anxiety.
Stress is a generally negative feeling.
But, its not enough to just say that stress makes you feel "bad". To combat it you need to be aware of exactly how it feels to you. How does stress feel physically to you? Is your chest tight, breathing labored, heart racing? How does it look mentally? Are your scatterbrained, having difficulty concentrating? What do your emotions do when you are stressed? Do you feel weepy, irritable, lost?
Knowing what YOUR stress feels like is very important to face your stress.
When you identify what that feels like, you can note it every time you feel it. You may be surprised with what you find is causing tension. It may be that its no "big thing" but a rather a thousand little things.
Do not underestimate the power of little stresses! Alot of any one thing can add up to be more than you can handle. Because of that, we employ what we call the Stress Snowball.
The Stress Snowball is a way of thinking that allows us to give attention to the little stresses, to make more resources for the big stresses. Every time you get a small stress under control, you are freeing up resources for dealing with the next stress. By focusing first on the things in our lives that we can control, no matter how seemingly insignificant we can be better prepared for the things we cant control.
So whether its so many clothes in the closet the laundry doesnt fit, that the car is a mess, the library books are overdue, or that you haven't cleaned out the fridge in a year, take care of it. If its something you can control, take care of it...no matter how small.
When I started noting this to myself, I found that there were alot of little things that created a general sense that I was out of control. I found I didnt have enough forks :), that lead to frustration every time we ate dinner, making my husband question where the forks were, which lead to me feeling inadequate because I hadnt kept up with the dishes that day, and irritated at the my husband for questioning my housekeeping abilities (which he wasnt doing) ..and so on. Something little like not enough forks has potential for big stress, and simply buying more forks eliminated that stress totally. Now, I have reclaimed that stress energy for something else!
Some other little things I have noticed in my house and life ...a rug that kept curling up leading to lots of tripping, the dog food where a toddler could get to it and make large messes, burnt out light bulbs making rooms too dark for comfort, a messy car, too many plastic dishes that came tumbling down whenever I opened the cabinet, no time for resting during the day, not eating enough during the day and binging at night, the laundry always behind ....getting control of just these things has added some energy back into my reserves!
So, like a snowball starts off small and grows ...start focusing on those little things, and you will be surprised with how much better you handle the big things!
Pondering Point: How does my stress feel? What is causing my stress?
Verse of the Week: "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength." Deut 6:5
Discussion Thoughts: What are some little things that you discovered were stressful to you? Does your definition of stress differ from ours? If so, share!