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I got this e-mail message the other day that I thought was brilliant:
A lecturer when explaining stress management to an audience,
Raised a glass of water and asked,
“How heavy is this glass of water?”
Answers called out ranged from 20g to 500g.
The lecturer replied, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter.
It depends on how long you try to hold it.
If I hold it for a minute, that’s not a problem.
If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my right arm.
If I hold it for a day, you’ll have to call an ambulance
In each case, it’s the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.”
“And that’s the way it is with stress management.
If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later,
As the burden becomes increasingly heavy,
We won’t be able to carry on.”
“As with the glass of water,
You have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again.
When we’re refreshed, we can carry on.”
I thought it was a great analogy because carrying that “little” load is something we probably all do–at least sometimes.
There could be lots of reasons we carry that load: it doesn’t seem like a big deal at first, we’re really busy, we don’t really want to think about it, we believe in carrying on no matter what happens, etc. Sometimes the load gets added onto with new little stresses.
I want you to imagine that while you’re sleeping tonight, something happens to that stress and it disappears. But because you’re sleeping, you have no idea. What would be some signs when you wake up that would tell you the stress was gone? What will be different?
As your day progresses, what will you doing that would tell you things had changed? What else would you be doing? Be as detailed as you can.
What would other people notice you doing? What would your family or friends notice was different? How about your co-workers? What would they see you doing that would tell them you’re handling stress?
Are there things you’re doing now that’s helping you deal with stress, even in the smallest of ways? What are you doing? What difference does it make?
What are stress management tips you’ve seen other people do or that you’ve read about? What have you seen people do that helps them to relax? Do they:
·Have a bath
·Go for a run
·Do some other kind of exercise
·Go for a walk
·Take a break
·Do something different for awhile
·Get a massage
·Listen to relaxing music
·Talk with a friend
·Talk with a counselor or life coach
·Drink herbal tea instead of caffeinated drinks
·Look at whether you can take something or several things off your plate
·Eat healthy foods
·Get a good night’s sleep
On a scale of 0-10, if 10 is you’re living your life exactly the way you want to, and 0 is the opposite, where do you think you are now? What puts you at that number instead of lower? What are you doing?
Suppose over the next week, you moved up a notch—not so that you’re at a 10, but so that you’re up a half point or a point. What’s something you can do that would put you up a notch?
What helps you move past stress may be different than what helps someone else. I’d love to hear what makes a difference for you!