Woody Allen once said, “I don’t mind dying as long as I don’t have to be there.”
Most of us don’t want to talk about our stress and anxiety or even face these things within ourselves. It’s typical of our culture and how we so often deny or avoid facing our apprehensions and fears. Yet,we all share similar fears and anxieties about work, relationships, finances, the state of the world, even food and sleep for some of us. As much as we wish to ignore these concerns or pretend they don’t exist, the unfortunate truth is that we can’t control the world around us. There will always be situations capable of provoking worry, stress and anxiety.That is an unavoidable fact of life.
It’s always been this way, but we are now also exposed to an imbalanced focus on trauma and gloom; threats of terrorism, global warming and other environmental catastrophes surround us every time we pick up a paper or turn on the news.
Technology has increased the pace of living, and we can communicate by cell phone, e-mail, instant messaging, text messaging and social networking sites. We are available 24/7 to a mad rush of daily activities and demands. How is this affecting us?
Harvard researchers estimate that 60-90% of doctor’s visits are caused by stress. Stress is linked to the following illnesses: heart attacks, high cholesterol, diabetes, asthma, chronic pain, insomnia, allergies, migraines, various skins conditions, cancer, accidents, suicide, depression, addictions and immune system disorders.
We all live with and can’t escape from uncertainties, difficulties, illness, aging, death, and an inability to fully control life events.
The only thing we can control is how we react or respond to them.
In our most stressful moments, it can sometimes feel as if we’re being pulled in a million directions emotionally, financially, physically, mentally, spiritually and in all the other aspects of your life. And for most people, this occurs between 8 and 15 times a day. It’s no longer meeting a sabre tooth tiger on the way home, but maybe being stuck in a major traffic jam at the end of a long day. Or going out for a quick bite when you’re a little rushed for time; you order what you think is the simplest dish on the menu, and it takes the longest to come out…and when it does, it’s cold or not what you ordered. You’ve been waiting for someone to pull out of a parking space, and then someone else pulls into it just before you. You’re rushing for the ferry, and think you’ve got it made until you see the flashing lights in your rearview mirror. You walk into the bathroom at night and stub your toe. Your computer turns off and you haven’t saved your work. You finally finished shoveling the sidewalk and it snows again. You get the picture…These are the situations in our daily life that put us into fight/flight mode whether we know it or not.
A friend of mine practices this every time he answers the phone. He stops, takes 3 deep breaths, observes himself [is he calm cool and collected}, and then he answers the phone.
I know someone else who does it before she answers the door. Observing ourselves and the way we react to the situations in our life is an excellent practice, a way and a good way to decrease our stress levels.
T ake 3 deep breaths and smile
O bserve what’s happening inside you, how are you reacting.
P roceed with awareness. ( respond consciously instead of reacting unconsciously )