“Our greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another”. -William James
Sorry William, I’m going to have to disagree.
When I am stressed, I cannot choose my thoughts. I cannot ignore the thoughts screaming at me, “WHAT ARE YOU EATING FOR DINNER WHEN ARE YOU EATING IT WHERE ARE YOU EATING”, nor can I ignore the thoughts screaming, “YOU HAVE NO MONEY YOU ARE BROKE HOW WILL YOU PAY THIS BILL HOW WILL YOU GET GAS WHEN IS THE NEXT PAYCHECK”. Mix that with all the other screaming thoughts, and you’ve got my brain at any given moment.
I try to talk myself down in one area of stress, only to be bothered by another. My brain is a total freaking mess, most days. I don’t handle stress well, nor have I ever. Hence the eating disorder, depression, anxiety, PTSD, borderline personality, etc.
I am a mess. And yes, it’s exhausting. But my greatest weapon against this stress, personally, is connection.
Connection for me includes such things as: people, Netflix, cats, bed, yoga, hiking, Facebook, Instagram, snapchat, movies, writing, books, etc. In other words, my “connection” doesn’t necessarily need to be with another human being. While, yes, that is generally helpful, it’s not always in my best interest. Sometimes I do need that time away from the outside world. I was not meant to be a social butterfly all the time (or half the time). That’s just not me.
I can connect with my emotions through yoga or hiking. I enjoy both, and both make me feel good about myself. Exercise does relieve stress to some degree. It feels pretty damn good to run, even if it’s only for a few minutes at a time. It’s an accomplishment for me, and for those few minutes that my body lets me run, I am just ecstatic about that ability. My heart no longer gives off feelings of a heart attack, so that’s amazing.
I can make myself smile, laugh, or get drawn in to a movie, documentary, or TV show on Netflix. For that hour, couple of hours, whatever, I am relaxing and enjoying myself. It’s an even better treat when I am in the middle of a TV series, because I’ve been most likely looking forward to my Netflix time for days. Stress over Greys Anatomy beats my own life stress any day.
Facebook, snapchat, Instagram, and social media in general help me connect to people I don’t text every day. I realize a lot of people fear being pulled in, or “losing time”, but I kind of like it. I enjoy knowing a general idea of what friends/acquaintances are going through at the moment. I can see someone’s pictures, know what they’re having fun with in life. I can read their statuses, see what’s on their minds that day. I just like knowing that they’re okay, and that they’re happy. If not, I can try to offer support. I just don’t think social media is completely a waste of time.
Writing. Writing relieves stress for me. I love writing. I sometimes develop stress if I’m being judged, graded, or criticized over my writing…but other than that, it’s a wonderful release. Words flow for me when I sit down to write (even when I think I’ve got nothing).
Books. Books are like movies for me. I’m in that zone, that alternate world. It’s very nice to be in that world, rather than mine.
So, ultimately, my life activities are my weapons against life stress. School will be there for a long while. Jobs/working will be there for a longer while. Bills will always be there. Hurt feelings will be around often. All stress comes and goes in waves (sometimes stronger, sometimes less aggressive). Some things in life are a choice, and some seem handed to you. So for me, instead of pretending I can block stress and “choose” it away, I’ll de-stress with my activities and pick back up again later.
(No hate intended on this person’s quote…I’m just writing what popped into my head.)
-September 19, 2016