I hate it when people tell me to calm down. I hate it when people tell me to relax. I hate it when people tell me to slow down. I hate it when people tell me to chill. I hate it when people ask me if I’m stressed. I hate that people think they know me well enough to give me advice on my stress. And now I’m going to give you a tip to help you with your stress!
I lead a busy life. I am lucky that I seem to manage. My mind is hard wired wrong. If I’m not busy, or at least think I’m being useful, I am at a loss. My wife commented on this recently. She wondered how I could be doing so many things at the same time. I told her I don’t do them at the same time. Where my mood takes me I’ll do something to fill that mood. I am not mismanaging my time, I’m managing my moods. I’m not doing a lot of things, because I never focus on more than one thing at a time. I think it’s a side effect of not growing up around a TV set. We flick through channels to satisfy our moods. I flick through different activities. It’s the main reason that I can read up to four novels at a time.
I like to write, hence the blog. I love photography and my home is full of ancient photographic equipment. I love my job, can’t think of a better way to spend my day than teaching. I’m studying 2 degree level courses now and I’m about to start a masters. I volunteer for a charity that makes real changes in people’s lives (Shout out to Maytree Respite Care) and I have a child that brings meaning to my life and a wife that warms my heart every time I see her.
I don’t count myself as unique. There are many stress hoarders out there. Stress hoarders are the ‘everyone pleasers’, who try to be everything for everyone. They need to be needed or helpful or busy or wanted. They are addicted to their stress, not for the sake of stress of course, but for the sake of filling a void. Stress is merely a side effect. No one wants to feel stressed, but that we allow ourselves to feel this is the price to pay for filling whatever hole exists inside us.
So how do I manage my stress? My family. Sometimes I pass my time simply watching them both and realise how happy I am. Before I changed jobs I was very very unhappy where I worked. I woke up each morning and would hope a car would hit me on the way to work so I didn’t have to go in. What a horrible way to start the day! And one morning I was almost at the school gates and a vision of my 3 month old son beamed into my brain. I don’t remember conjuring up his image, in fact I was thinking of how much I didn’t want to reach the gates. But there he was smiling. That was my epiphany. Now if I feel stressed I watch a video I have of my son walking in the park. I never need to watch it for long before I feel my stress lift. And when my mind is clear and warm, I have the clarity to think of what I can do to feel less stress.
So here is a stress busting tip. Take your happiness with you, whether it’s a picture or video or song or listening to your wife’s voice on your voicemail, it doesn’t matter what it is, it just needs to make you feel joy. Take that with you everywhere and get into the habit of listening to or watching or looking at whatever it is and you’ll never feel stress or sadness or frustration again. And if you are really lucky, like me, that thing that you carry will be burned into your brain and instead of reaching for your phone or wallet or iPod it will be in your mind and instantly there for you to access at anytime.