For the most part the stress that I am under is completely self-imposed. There are people out there that experience REAL stress. People who have to scrape to make ends meet, people with sick children, people struggling with serious mental illnesses, people going through a divorce.
I am so fortunate (knocking on wood here) that I am not under that type of stress. In fact, I’m pretty fucking lucky, all things considered.
And yet – I feel the need to worry about things that I don’t need to worry about and stress out about things. Sometimes I think I’m addicted to stressing myself out – thinking that things have to get done NOW or worrying about things that I can’t control. Or obsessively comparing myself to others.
Before I went on vacation, the wonderful Christyne pointed out to me that placing this type of stress on myself can actually make me gain weight. Which then causes me to stress out more creating this vicious cycle.
In the spirit of trying to change that about myself I got up this morning and headed into work. I don’t know about you guys, but coming back from vacation is often stressful with lots of phone calls to return, e-mails to answer, and messes to clean up.
Arriving at the office, I immediately started to tense up and start freaking out about things that needed to be done. And then I stopped and took a deep breath. I did a little self-talk about how I was creating an emergency that DID NOT EXIST. That things would get done – they always do.
When lunch time rolled around I started to think that maybe I should stay in and work instead of exercising. And then I told myself NO, changed my clothes and headed out for a run. Predictably during the run a few times I felt myself speeding up and thinking about getting back to the office to answer some more e-mails. So I consciously and deliberately forced myself to slow down, to enjoy the crisp autumn air, to be more present.
I don’t know if any of you can identify with this, but sometimes I feel like I am just floating through life – without paying attention – does that make any sense?
So I forced myself to be more in the moment.
And guess what? I arrived back at work, got most of my work done, and drumroll please I ate my healthy lunch and didn’t snack AT ALL. I didn’t want to.
Now let’s get real – this was one day. But I think there is something to be said about reducing stress and, as a consequence, not doing mindless things like nibbling and snacking.
My goal for this week is to work on this – to increase my awareness – and see what that brings.