Stress Out

  • Published
  • By Mitch Rosenzweig
  • Family Advocacy Outreach Manager
It just builds; day by day, hour by hour, and moment by moment. It is usually not a tidal wave but more like the tide coming in. Each day a little higher, covering more of what was uncovered.

First thing you notice is that you're a little edgy - maybe a little less patient with those around you. Irritable and cranky, you attribute it to others getting on your "last nerve" or some other excuse.
Perhaps next it's sleep challenges. Too much, too little, or just waking up with the treadmill spinning in your head.

Then it's your diet. Bring that junk food on and keep it coming. Don't forget to wash it down with a nice glass of wine or beer. Yum.

Next comes the physical challenges; headaches, gastro-intestinal issues and even klutziness. Just when you think it can't get worse - it does and everything on the list kicks it up a notch. It's official, you're stressed out.

Stress can be a killer, but it is unavoidable. At its core, it is about not getting what we want or think we deserve. We want what we want because we want it. Or perhaps we convince ourselves that we need it. If only people wouldn't be so... fill in the blank. Or, if all my bills were paid or some other fantasy. We fall into despair; hopeless and helpless. We wear out our bodies, relationships and hearts trying to achieve the impossible.

Life doesn't have to be that way. It's true; when we have threats to our basic safety needs (Food, shelter, water etc.), we need to act to be able to protect ourselves. But for most of us, those really aren't the challenge. We stress about love, being loved, money and a whole bunch of other stuff. Life happens and it can be stressful.

But there is a secret to being stressed out. It's an oxymoron. The goal is to get the stress out. To take some sort of goal directed, achievement orientated action to take care of what is producing that stress. Have that conversation, figure out a budget or take some action to get rid of that worry. And for the things that you can't control - recognize that and let it go. Even though I am not fatalistic, what will be--will be. In the meantime, take care of yourself. Diet, exercise and loving help erase that blackboard of stress. And that, you always have full control over.

Seek solutions and work towards them. They may not be perfect but action is almost always better than inaction. Solutions don't come from worry; they come from thinking and doing things different. The more you take control of your life, the less it controls you.

Stop stressing out and get the stress out. It is not stress that kills us; it's how we respond to it.
I can't stress it enough - get rid of it.

Mitch Rosenzweig is the Family Advocacy Outreach Manager and teaches Anger Management at Family Advocacy. The next class begins Sept. 2, and is a four-week seminar meeting on Tuesdays. Call DSN 452-8287, or commercial 0656561-8287 to sign up.