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I was thinking about stress all of this month – everything from the stupid stresses (warm seats on the subway) to ones that are more real. The one thing that I noticed that I do, a lot, is generalize what is causing me stress. I say (and have heard others say) – “Work is stressing me out” or a person is “stressing me out.” Very general – right? Dealing with stress so that it doesn’t cause the inflammation that Dr. Oz has taught me to fear is important, and in some weird way, writing about it, when I can, has been cathartic. Maybe it’s my “feditation” experience with frequent Oz guest, Deepak Chopra. I call it feditation, because I am the worst meditator in the world. I fall asleep because I usually do it at bed time, I worry that I’m not pronouncing the mantras correctly in my inside voice and I fear being a fake. I do think taking the 20 minutes a day to do the Doprah 21 Day Meditation Experience does help me think about things in a different way. I got a lot out of each of their small, daily lectures. I think that’s how I came to the conclusion that I was generalizing my stress too much. It’s time for me to makeover my thoughts. Here are some examples:
The Before – Work is stressing me out
The Makeover Thought (AKA, recognizing what is causing these feelings) I find work is causing me to worry because…I’m in a new-ish role, in a new-ish department with a new-ish boss with a new-ish team. My work load is very large and I put a lot of pressure on myself to excel. I worry that when I get so busy that things will fall through the cracks and that I will disappoint people. I have less free time and feel that I sometimes forget to reach out to people that matter to me because their emails get lost in the mess that is my inbox.
The New Reality – I am pretty good at what I do, so maybe my best simply is enough and I have to accept that I can’t do everything. I have to learn to delegate more and respond less. The world isn’t going to end if I don’t get every single item off of my to-do list. I also have to realize that I’ve achieved every career goal that I’ve set for myself and maybe it’s time to learn to be happy about that.
The Before – My family/friends stress me out
The Makeover Thought – I am worried about the health and happiness of the people in my life.
The New Reality – I can’t control whether people are healthy or happy, I can only control my reactions to them.
The Before – It’s a weekend, and other than going out and doing something fun, I haven’t been productive.
The Makeover Thought – I need to clean my apartment, run errands, get some stuff on Kijiji, go to the bank, dry cleaners, pick up a gift…and the list goes on and on. How will I ever do everything?
The New Reality- I will get through the list, but maybe, every now and again, it’s ok to just veg out.
I think being more specific about what’s been causing me stress, has made me feel better. Maybe a little Deepak also helped.
Speaking of silly stress, I went to a Stevie Wonder concert with my frousin, GK, on Tuesday. Stevie Wonder is one of the most talented people I’ve ever seen – there is no denying that. The man plays the piano like a dream, the harmonica, and probably a slew of other instruments that I will never in a million years be able to master. He is charming and inspirational and everything good. People who were at the concert were glued to the stage….except me…I have to be honest, I didn’t know most of the music and I was getting bored very fast and I love concerts. Every time GK looked at me, I’d shrug my shoulders. I was counting the songs knowing that there were going to be 25 in total. I was mentally calculating that each song was approximately 5 minutes in length and there were 15 left after Sir Duke (the only song that I knew before the intermission). By the 8th song, GK texted me to ask if I was enjoying the concert, and as ashamed as I was to admit this, I wrote, “He’s very talented….but I wish I was at Pink!” I felt like the most uncultured concert-goer in the world, but the fact of the matter is that she felt the same way! There was a point where Stevie sang a really weird lyric and we both looked at each other and cracked up. We decided to leave WAAAYYYY before the concert ended. We were both stressed that the other would want to stay – sometimes, its best just to fess up. It was so nice, and de-stressing, at that moment in time, to be understood. This week, I’m grateful to GK for being my partner in the great Wonder escape and for just being fun to being around in general.