310 Days ’til 40: Soothing Stress

17 Apr

Everybody’s going through a lot of stress these days, no matter how well off you are and how many advantages you have, it’s a stressful time in everybody’s lives. ~ Chris Frantz

Much of the stress that people feel doesn’t come from having too much to do. It comes from not finishing what they’ve started. ~ David Allen

Stress.  We ALL talk about it.  We ALL claim to have it.  Many of us take pride in the amount of stress we are under, as though it is a measure of our martyrdom to our families and society.  BUT, what are we DOING about this stress?  Do we believe it is an issue?  Are we taking active measures to reduce and resolve the stress in our lives?

I have found that people tend who suffer from stress tend to fall into two categories:

1.  Those who thrive on their stress and take pride in it.  In these cases, the stress is used to get positive or negative attention (i.e.: see how wonderful I am, that I am willing to subject myself to all of this stress!)

2.  Those who hate stress and are drug down by it.  These individuals can use stress for negative attention (i.e.:  looking for sympathy, someone to take care of them, etc.)

Furthermore, It seems that people have two reactions towards their stress:

1.  Those who really want to reduce their stress (these may be people who love or hate the stress).

2.  People who are not really interested in reducing their stress, due to the personal gain they get from it.  (Note, personal gain from stress can be the attention they receive when complaining about said stress.)

Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into a positive one. ~ Hans Selye

The quote by Selye is so true.  We will all be subject to stress in our lives.  Some of that stress will be self-induced (such as obtaining a new job) and some will be forced upon us (such as a sudden health issue we must contend with).  In either case, our personal attitudes will greatly affect the way the situation progresses.

Being in control of your life and having realistic expectations about your day-to-day challenges are the keys to stress management, which is perhaps the most important ingredient to living a happy, healthy and rewarding life. ~ Marilu Henner

I also agree with Henner.  We are a society full of people who need to be in control.  I often talk about the fact that I do not necessarily need control over others in my life, but I want control over myself and my personal circumstances.  When we lose this control, or at least lose the illusion that we are in control, our stress levels can increase.  As Henner mentions, if we can feel that we are in control and if we are able to create and maintain REALISTIC goals for ourselves, it will help us manage and soothe the stress in our daily lives.

Some people, such as William James, think stress is a game of mind over matter.  He said, “The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.”  I must admit that I have personally seen the truth in this statement.  I have watched people who seem to live life from one crisis to another.  It seems that these individuals choose to interpret their own realities differently from those who are not constantly in crisis mode.  Obviously, they feel they are getting something out of their crisis (usually attention) and they can even work to maintain their constant crisis.  I have seen individuals come to this realization and greatly change, and even drastically reduce, the stress they felt.  When they learned that they could gain attention and self-worth in ways other than from experiencing crisis and labeling themselves a constant victim, they thrived on the new positive ways to obtain attention (such as through volunteer work, completing a new degree, etc.)

To further this line of thinking, I will leave you with a quote from Catherine Pulsifer:  “How we perceive a situation and how we react to it is the basis of our stress. If you focus on the negative in any situation, you can expect high stress levels. However, if you try to see the good in the situation, your stress levels will greatly diminish.”

Today, 310 days ’til 40, I will seek to remember that I am a key ingredient when it comes to the stress in my own life.  First and foremost, the way I react to the circumstances in my life correlates strongly with the amount of stress I experience.  My attitude makes a difference.  Second, I must remember to actively seek ways to reduce stress in my life.  Some stress can be a good thing, and even healthy as it can promote personal growth and achievement, but too much stress can be counterproductive and unhealthy.  I will strive to live that balance.  I hope and pray you do too.



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35 responses to “310 Days ’til 40: Soothing Stress

  1. bornattwentyfive

    April 17, 2012 at 00:10

    Great post! I love the quotes you posted, especially the one David Allen. I am definitely guilty of not finishing things I’ve started.

    • 400daystil40

      April 17, 2012 at 09:00

      I think we are all guilty on some levels, sometimes – I am getting much better at finishing things…. which is ultimately a nice sense of accomplishment!

  2. charlesmashburn

    April 17, 2012 at 01:08

    Excellent post! I no longer do stress, although, I used to be in the big leagues–a professional at it. Nowadays, I employ the it-just-doesn’t-matter and it’s-all-good theories. But, seriously, more often than that, I go along with the William James quote, which brings to mind Philippians 4:8:
    Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

    • 400daystil40

      April 17, 2012 at 08:57

      Thank you so much for the great comment and quote! 🙂

  3. windswept007

    April 17, 2012 at 01:09

    What a coincidence, yesterday was world stress awareness day

    • 400daystil40

      April 17, 2012 at 08:55

      Wow, was it really? I had no idea! Another serendipitous moment! 🙂

  4. bellissimom

    April 17, 2012 at 02:01

    Your post is so timely for me. I was just talking to my dad today about how some people seem to feel justified in being flaky because they are all stressed. They make excuses for not coming through when they should because they are overwhelmed or stressed. They are often chronically stressed. We all have some degree of stress in our lives. It is about learning to either get rid of that which stresses you or learning to cope and move forward.

  5. permanentlyinapickle

    April 17, 2012 at 02:09

    I need to have a long think about which category I fall into. 🙂 I often pop in to read your blog and really enjoy it. So beautifully written and thought-provoking.Thank you for sharing. As appreciation, I would like to give you a Versatile Blogger Award

    • 400daystil40

      April 17, 2012 at 08:53

      Wow, thank you so much for the compliment!!! 🙂 Thanks for visiting! 🙂

  6. QueridaJ

    April 17, 2012 at 02:53

    Hello, I have nominated you for the Liebster Blog Award =) Details here:

  7. narf77

    April 17, 2012 at 03:50

    Stress…that which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!

    • 400daystil40

      April 17, 2012 at 08:52

      So very true (and damn, I must be very strong!!!) 😉

  8. saka16492

    April 17, 2012 at 03:57

    Please tell me you will not stop writing posts after 310 days…I love them..Just brilliant!!

    • 400daystil40

      April 17, 2012 at 08:50

      Thanks so much! I wonder what will happen in 310 days – time will tell!!! 😉

  9. rabidmongoose

    April 17, 2012 at 07:38

    I guess I’m struggling to accept some of the quotes you posted. I can’t refute your experiences and successes with these methods, and I mean absolutely no disrespect to you or to those whom you quote, but some of this stuff sounds like ‘parlor tricks’. Adopting or changing your world-view to suit the pressures of the moment sounds inauthentic and a bit fraudulent. Perhaps I am misreading some of the quotes? Regardless, I appreciate your heart for helping people deal with the stress in their lives.

    • 400daystil40

      April 17, 2012 at 08:50

      I think we need to look at everything in context. It depends on each situation. For example, with stress at our work – those who chose to view it differently do better with our kids and our staff members. Even with terminal illness, studies have shown that those who believe they will heal are more likely to heal than those who don’t (granted, some who believe they will heal still die, but belief does affect overall statistics)…….. I do find that my attitude and beliefs greatly affect my reactions to stressful situations and I certainly see that around me……… again, all about context.

  10. viveka

    April 17, 2012 at 11:50

    Agree with David Allen .. can get so stressed over that I haven’t finished things … but then where is a very stressful situation that I haven’t caused – emergency of some kind – I became very calm and efficient – where others get stressed. Hate stress, but I also think that stress make us very efficient too – the more we have to do the more we get done.

    • 400daystil40

      April 17, 2012 at 21:55

      Me too! I also find that when I have to act in a real emergency I can be calmer than with daily stress….. and I can also relate to the fact that the more I have to do, the more efficient I become.

  11. Spider42

    April 17, 2012 at 11:54

    Nice post and very relevant, though most folks (like my dad) would look at it and call it gobble-dy-gook psycho-babble. 😀

    Personally I don’t see the value in most of the undue stress that people allow life to pile on them. Yes there are things worth stressing about, yes there are moments when it can come in handy and for those that (as you pointed out) thrive under pressure it’s a good thing.
    But as with a lot of my personal philosophies, it all comes down to “life’s too short”. If there is something worth stressing about, I’ll work at it. If it’s just more needless drama or social/peer pressure driven, then I couldn’t care less and deal with it if I must and move on. I’ve got better things to get to, this is just a bump in the road.

    I wish more people took life less seriously and didn’t stress on mundanities near as much as they do, but what can you do right?

    • 400daystil40

      April 17, 2012 at 21:49

      Hey! I like psycho-babble! I agree, the undue stress just takes days off our already short lives.

      • Spider42

        April 18, 2012 at 12:25

        As you might have realised by now, I like the psycho-babble too… 🙂

      • Spider42

        April 18, 2012 at 12:25

        And as I (still) love to say, “Hakuna matata my man!”

  12. Stuart Otway-Smith

    April 17, 2012 at 14:03

    Reblogged this on Smile if your sexy! and commented:
    Thank you once again for your wonderful guidance.

  13. artistspromenade

    April 17, 2012 at 14:45

    Great post and oh so true. Focusing on stress, for me, makes me feel more stressed. I have learned that it’s usually the thought or the story I tell myself about something that makes me stressed. As mr grandmother used to say, “if you’re having a thought that upsets you, think of something else positive instead.”

    • 400daystil40

      April 17, 2012 at 21:45

      Yes, focusing on stress really does seem to exacerbate it, doesn’t it? Your grandmother was wise!

  14. saymber

    April 17, 2012 at 17:23

    Very timely for me to read this 400! “We are a society full of people who need to be in control” yesterday afternoon was a test on this one. Our neighborhood sewer line decided to blow up and when my husband removed the overflow valve in our front yard (better out than in) we were treated to a deluge of what comes out the other end of us and our neighbors…oh god the stench. Well my OCD kicked in big time, which happens to be relating to cleaning, and there wasn’t a darn thing I could do. No way I could clean up this mess and I had to calm down an realize it. So hubby put in the new Aliens DVD on Blue Ray he bought and enjoyed some Moscato…may be too much. Slept on the couch and was just miserable. I’m reigning in my stress and going to channel it – the clean up crew better be here by this morning (we have children who play near a cracked, poop and toilet paper covered manhole next door) and I don’t want biohazard in my front yard) or I’m going up the chain! Sometimes redirecting stress energy productively helps.

    • 400daystil40

      April 17, 2012 at 21:44

      Wow, what an awful experience you had yesterday. YUCK! Did they get everything cleaned up for you?

      • saymber

        April 18, 2012 at 04:33

        Around 10 this morning two guys came out with get this….a bucket and rakes….we are talking raw human sludge and they didn’t even have gloves on! That’s small town for you! I’m grateful they cleaned it up and got it out of my yard. Just gross deal lool!

        • 400daystil40

          April 18, 2012 at 07:42

          Wow! So glad they cleaned it up, but where were their biohazard suits????? 🙂

          • saymber

            April 18, 2012 at 18:39

            No hazmat suites – just rakes and a bucket……this is Texas you know lool.


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