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Thoughts on dealing with a stressful week

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Becca, Sep 10, 2013.

  1. Becca

    Becca Well known member

    “Oh, boy...it’s gonna be a stressful week.”

    I think we’ve all had that thought at one time or another (or some variation of it). This week is going to be one of those weeks for me. School is just starting up and I already have assignments and readings looming over my head; I have two auditions this week for two very, very good choirs in the Boston area; I’m feeling somewhat abandoned socially (my best friend just moved to Dallas, TX, and my twin sister who originally was just a 1 ½ hour drive away just started a fellowship in Berkeley, CA); and quite honestly, just looking at my calendar is giving me a slight panic attack.

    But these stresses are things that are simply part of life, and like different parts of life, I have varying degrees of control over these things. I have no control over my sister and best friend moving, some control over school -- that is, I chose what classes to take -- and total control over these auditions -- I decided to try out for these choirs, even though I already belong to a pretty damn good one. So in a sense, I instigated that stress. But, I’m not blaming myself for this. Rather, I’m pointing out that stress is just a part of life. And like my decision to schedule these auditions, we often create stress to change something in our lives.

    My point is, life is full of stress. Often we don’t see it coming. But sometimes, we do. And in these cases, we can take advantage of it. We can prepare ourselves for that stress, and how we will handle it. I know that I will be in a vulnerable state this week. But just knowing this allows me to consciously be more compassionate to myself. And I’m reminded that I don’t always have this luxury of knowing beforehand when stress will be coming my way.

    This week, I am committing to be more compassionate towards myself, as I know I will be in a more vulnerable state. I am going to be hyper-aware of any “should” statements that come into my mind. I am going to take notice of the things I do well, and try to ignore my inner bully when it tries to knock those accomplishments down. Most of all, I am going to breathe.

    So when you know you are going to have a stressful week, day, hour, moment, I strongly encourage you to take advantage of it. Take the time to be especially kind to yourself. It can only help. And who knows, if we all do this enough, maybe it'll become a habit... :)
    Stella and plum like this.
  2. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Thanks, Becca, for taking the time out of your busy schedule to share these insights and wisdom.
    Becca likes this.
  3. tarala

    tarala Well known member

    Wow, I wish I'd had so much insight (or any at all:)) about stress when I was studying. Thanks for sharing that. And you are way ahead of me in the alto business if your choirs are audition ones! Hope it all went well.
  4. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Yes, ladies, we need to take more time to be kind to ourselves.
    Today has not been the easiest, working on the computer that seems to want to do nothing for me but give me headaches.
    But I've taken a few breaks and done some deep breathing. It really helps.

    Then I watch a little of the Weather Channel and see how the folks in Colorado are doing with the flooding and
    I figure I'd rather have a slow computer than bail out a basement or have my house float away.

    What we think may be a stressful day or week is "a piece of cake" compared to many others.
    But if you cut your finger I can't really feel your pain.

    I'm going to look forward to watching another episode tonight of FROM LARKRISE TO CANDLEFORD on PBS.
    It's relaxing and takes my mind off this electronic age.
  5. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    I smile and thank you my dear girl.
    Life and stress are bedfellows but we need not brood unnecessarily. It's funny but reading of your up and coming engagements recalls the time I fell upon an old diary-of-sorts. It was chock full of things, and not just classes and highs and lows of the social calender but also sad notes and scraps of heartbreak as a relationship broke down. I view it now with something approaching sentiment (having held the shards in my hands and wept over them enough times to cleanse them of fascination). And I conclude that you are blessed with perspective. It is easy to look back over the map of our days, rationalist in mind, stoic in heart but in the thick of it? Perspective is a charm. Bless you for reminding us that it is something we can seize in that moment when overwhelm is a hairsbreadth away.
    Becca likes this.
  6. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    Interesting how, when we're stressed to be begin with, there seems to be a impulse we act on to add more stress to an already stressful situation as if that will help resolve it. Wonder why that is? I sure know I'm guilty of that!
  7. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    I think perspective is one of the best things we have in life.
    Often when I think about my repressed emotions that have to do with family and friends,
    if I put myself in their shoes I see everything in a different light. They had their own TMS
    repressed emotions and when they interacted with me, they may not have meant to give me
    pain at all. They were somewhere else, inside themselves.

    I try to focus on the relationships that have lasted for years. Most of them not only have
    lasted but gotten better. New friends can be great, but there's nothing like an old friend,
    someone who has gone through the years of ups and downs with us.

    I used to throw an Oktoberfest party at my house and it was really full of family and
    friends one year. I heard a guest ask others how they came to know me and be invited
    to the party. It was pretty amazing when I thought back on how I came to meet each of them.

    It's fun to do this... remember how you and a friend came to know each other, and
    how "circuitous" that can be. One friend leads you to another and then another.

    If I hadn't gone on a retreat one weekend years ago I would not have met Tom
    and when he invited me to his wedding months later in Ohio I met one of his bride's
    teenage brothers, Bernie. Bernie later came to live in Evanston where I lived and now it's 30
    years later and he and I are like brothers. If I had not met Bernie I would not have
    met his wife. If I had not met his wife I would not have had my second and third dogs,
    Max and my present sweetie, Annie.

    And if I had not rented my second floor apartment to a couple from Hawaii
    I would never have met Larry and that too was 30 years ago and he and I are
    also like brothers.

    There seems to be an unseen hand in guiding us to friends and loved ones.
    I know whose it is.

    That's part of perspective, too. Maybe the most important part.

    Love to all of you.
    yb44 and plum like this.
  8. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    The inner crazy-maker sure loves laying kindling on the stress fires. This is not the most exciting solution but I find housework qwells the rowdy spirit. It's not only necessary (stress loves mess loves stress), but is grounding too.
  9. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    I always enjoy keeping the house clean and orderly. It feels good and I love the results.
    A person can't really relax in a dirty or cluttered house. So long as I'm able, I want to
    do my own housecleaning, not hire anyone to do it.

    I remember reading that Joan Crawford used to clean her own house and scrub her
    floors on her hands and knees. She was rich enough to hire an army of helpers,
    but it relaxed her to here own housework.

    A friend once told me, "Walt, your house is an oasis of sanity."
    It was one of the nicest compliments I ever heard.

    His wife was a clutterer. Sweet lady, but she never threw anything out.
    Her kitchen table is a mountain of old junk mail and other paper trash.
    Don't even go in the basement. One of her young grandsons was afraid to,
    it was so full of clutter he thought a gorilla lurked among it.
    plum likes this.
  10. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Such gorgeous words. I love this response so much. It reminds me that at its heart, life is mysterious, and that compassionate eyes peel away so many veils. We all long to be seen and loved for who we are. How wonderful it is to be the one who initiates the seeing and loving. Relinquishing control and letting life rush to us is the sweetest thing of all.
  11. yb44

    yb44 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Becca, I really feel for you having not only a much loved friend but a sister, and a twin at that, move away. It was the reverse for me as I was the one who moved away but the result is the same. I missed so much of my loved one's lives, both the joyous events as well as the tragedies. Rehearsing for those other choirs could be a way of making it possible for you to connect with new people. During the last webinar SteveO implored us to go out and do just this. As Walt's post above shows, if we put ourselves out there, we end up interacting with a whole new cast of characters who enrich our lives.
    Becca likes this.
  12. Becca

    Becca Well known member

    Wow - Ellen, tarala, plum, YB thank you all so, so much for your kind words and support. Been an interesting week, but so far, thankfully, it hasn't been any more stressful than it has to be (knock on wood - I'm hoping this will last through Friday!) .

    Walt, I couldn't agree more. It's a marvelous thing to have, to gain, to teach, to witness (if you've ever seen a young child reflect on her life so far, you know what I mean. It can be incredibly funny, and also incredibly poignant.) I agree with everything plum wrote in response...

    It is, it truly is. Sometimes I forget this. I have this idea that I am safe when I am in complete control...but we are never in complete control, and accepting this can be terrifying, even if we know it is true. I'm getting better at it, though. The trick for me is reminding myself that letting go of control does not mean I have no power or strength, but the opposite - that relinquishing control is a sign of strength. That's a big one for me. I don't want to feel powerless, or weak. And these are things I used to connect with being in total control. But, I've found that's simply not true. There is such a rush of strength in simply accepting all those things that cannot be controlled...it is indeed the sweetest thing of all.

    Bruce, I think stress (the bad stress) just messes everything up. It changes our behavior, and I think the reason for that is that stress has a huge impact on perspective. I know I am a different person, when I am under extreme stress than when I am calm and relaxed. I make different choices, I have different thoughts, I even talk differently (rapid-fire). I wouldn't be surprised to see that brain activity is vastly different between someone when they are highly stressed and when they are relaxed (or even if there's a difference between when they're somewhat stressed and when they're relaxed). Now I don't have any studies to back this up, but I think stress can alter, even eliminate, perspective, similar to how pressure can cloud our judgement. At least, this is what happens for me. I can't count the number of times I've felt so stressed, and because of that stress, because I am thinking about it so much, how anxious I am, how terrible this situation is, how totally weird everyone must think I am, etc I'll make a decision to say or do something that, if I wasn't so incredibly stressed (read: if I had some perspective) I wouldn't have done at all.

    Sometimes for me the real challenge is in moving on - figuring out how to not dwell on all I did wrong, instead of accepting that it's over and getting to a calm and logical place to determine my next action (doing damage control if really necessary). But I think when I do this, beat myself up over an action that has already happened and that I nor anyone else cannot change, I am still lacking perspective. I may be out of that first stressful environment but I've put myself in a new one, in which I stressed about all the possible consequences of my behavior. So, I guess when there's a lack of perspective, there's probably an excess of stress.
  13. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    I've always lived by the motto "Take the lumps life throws at you and go on from there." Maybe that has repressed some emotions but
    thanks to Dr. Sarno I began to think about them. I think once you discover the repressed emotions and forgive yourself and others for
    any real or imagined complaints, then it's good to just go on from there. It helps wipe the slate clean and put the past to rest for a fresh start.
    Then live in the present. Now if I can only take my own advice.
    Becca likes this.

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