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Stress Management

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Stress management is a huge issue for me. I have a theory that we are all born with a set amount of coping skills, and when they are used up, that's it, they are gone. I used mine up. I am a stress monster now. That's for another blog. Today is a celebration blog!

I have used up all of the natural unconscious coping skills I was born with, so I have to now learn ways to consciously manage my stress & that is one of my points of focus for this year - CHOOSING to take steps to control my stress and how I react to events in my life.

I hadn't known that within a few days of writing my WOTY blog about this focus, I would be tested. We had car trouble on Friday night. The car died, and we had no clue what was wrong. At this point, I traditionally start to stress - I struggle to breathe, I can't sleep, I think constantly about the worst case scenario. It's what I do.

This time I CHOSE to do differently. The car died late in the evening, so shortly after getting home from picking up my husband and daughter & after waiting for the tow truck to pick up the car and getting the boys tucked back into bed (they were in bed when DH called to say the car had died), it was time for bed & as soon as I closed my eyes, the usual trouble breathing & mind racing started. I took a deep breath (a number of them actually) and tried visualizing something soothing - a flickering candle on my dining room table. I told myself I couldn't control it or change it, so there was no point in worrying about it. We would have to wait out the weekend until our mechanic could take a look at it Monday morning. I did AWESOME! I repeated my visualizing exercise throughout the weekend, and whenever I caught myself starting to stress out I would close my eyes, tell myself it would be ok, and picture the candle....I learned I don't picture things well in my mind, I more describe them to myself in words. weird.

As it turns out, our mechanic gave us a break on parts and labour, cutting the bill by about $175, to $600....2 months of working for me :/ HOWEVER, had we been driving highway speeds when the tensioner for the timing belt let go we would have blown out our engine and been facing a $4000+ fix, which would not be worth it on a 10 year old car. so it could have been worse. But the important thing here is that it was what it was, and my worrying about it wouldn't have changed that anyway - I understand that, but maybe now I'm at a point where I'm finally able to find new coping mechanisms, the first of which is accepting that there's no point to worrying. If I can control the situation, I should do so, no need to worry, and if I can't control the situation, worrying won't change that.

Maybe some day my theory of the finite coping skills will change. Maybe some day I will again feel like I CAN cope with the world. We'll see. For now, I'm patting myself on the back, and trying not to worry about whether this is a taste of the year to come (maybe it's just getting our bad luck out of the way early!).

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  • no profile photo CD6217315
    Good job with the coping skills.

    When I worry, especially at night, I imagine wiping the thought away like wiping a mirror. Sounds strange but it works for me.
    3122 days ago
  • no profile photo CD5893253
    I remember that theory of yours. And you have every right to feel like this, considering what you've been through. But I really believe that our strength and our coping skills are endless. The things we go through every day, from the simplest to the most complicated prove that we can still make it through our everyday lives and actually cope even if we feel that we don't.
    I'm glad you're finding ways to manage your stress. The flickering candle sounds like a really relaxing image. Maybe I should try it, too.
    3126 days ago
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