Stressed Out? Can’t Seem to Shake It Off?

You’re Not Alone.

It is said that pressure is standing over a 5-foot putt to win the Masters Golf Tournament when you know you have trained as hard as you can train for this moment. Stress is standing over a 5-foot putt to win the Masters when you know you haven’t trained.

For the non-golfer, pressure is having to make an ‘A’ on a calculus exam when you have studied and know the material inside and out. Stress is having to make an ‘A’ on a calculus exam when you were out with friends all weekend. Okay, enough about sports and academia; how does stress differ from pressure in our daily lives? Below, in multiple choice format, I’ve outlined a few of the things that may have caused stress in your life. See if any of these sound familiar:

a) Air conditioner, drier, and transmission all fail the same week (and it’s mid-July)

b) Child raising – pick a year or decade

c) Paying the mortgage

d) Work, and Co-workers, bosses, employees, & deadlines

e) ALL OF THE ABOVE

collage of words stress shedule busy timeIf you didn’t choose ‘e’ you either haven’t lived long enough or you’ve been very fortunate! But, for most of us, it can sometimes be a little overwhelming, don’t you think?

Several years ago, there was a time in my life where for 18 months, give or take a month or two, I felt as if I were standing over that 5-foot putt to win the Masters. I was confronted with a serious health condition as well as a business that I had started 20 years earlier that was struggling to stay afloat. Can anything else go wrong? It can! Imagine standing over a putt for 18 months, or studying for a calculus exam for 18 months. That’s how this felt.

During this 18-month period I thought I was stressed out. (Now, don’t get me wrong. I was thankful for the fact that I was still standing. And, I have always been thankful for the successful years I’ve had. It just seemed that no matter what I tried to do to turn things around, everything made things worse). I tried all the normal stress relief activities. You know the gig, I’m sure: exercise, yoga, reading, A pressure gauge in the redmeditating, praying, walks in nature (well okay that doesn’t count for me since that is my job), but you name it, I tried it.

Stress or Pressure?

Then one day it dawned on me:

I did all these things to relieve stress yet when I laid down to go to sleep at night all of those challenges that were stressing me out were still there.

This isn’t stress after all, I thought, this is pressure. It was pressure to perform the way I knew I could. All the days in life leading up to this period had trained me for this moment. Think about that calculus exam. It’s not just the material on the exam, but it’s a lifetime of studying and practicing math that all play a part in the final performance.

As we all know, sometimes life can be extra challenging. These challenges don’t go away just because we do a 45-minute yoga session. Sure, you may feel better, but the problems, obstacles, and challenges are still there.

When we can understand that our previous life experiences have prepared for these moments, we can put these challenging times into a context of our entire life. And actually, that is what all the stress-relieving activities do for us. They help us to see our challenges in the proper context. Thus, they become something that is very manageable and not so overwhelming.

Stressed? You’ve Got This.

When I had realized that all my struggles and so-called misfortunes in life had prepared me for this moment, albeit an 18-month moment, it totally changed my perspective on the situation I was facing. And as I gained this new perspective, miraculously the stress went away.

Of course, if instead of studying for that calculus exam, you were outside looking at leaves, twigs, and earth worms, maybe, just maybe it’s time to make a life change! You may be stressed! And the pressure is getting to you. See what I did there? 🙂 A blog for another day.

In the meantime, to live a happier life, try looking at the stress points in your life and see if you can put them in the proper context so you too can gain a new perspective and a happier life.

What a game-changer moment in life!

Song: 

Reader Choice: Choose the happiest/ feel good song you know. I chose “Cheeseburger in Paradise” by Jimmy Buffett. Probably had to do more with the diet I’m on than anything else. Another day and time, I may have chosen something different.

Game Exercise/Life Changer: 

While listening to your chosen song, write down a few stress points in your life. Are they going to go away with Yoga or whatever your stress release may be? Now look at these stress points as pressure points that you have been training your whole life for.

Soulful Quote: 

“Stress and Pressure. One is perceived, one is real, both come from within.”

 

I think this is Fascinating! You?

Isn’t that fascinating!

I was recently having a conversation with someone, who was telling me about something that was really fascinating to them. I could tell they truly were fascinated because of the emphatic way in which they were describing the event. Of course, it was something that was unfolding on a newscast and pertained to politics, both of which are major turn-offs for me these days; my thoughts were wanting to go someplace else. Eventually, I lost the battle of trying hard to listen and let my thoughts drift where they wished.

Surprisingly enough, where my thoughts took me were somewhere fascinating. No, literally fascinating, because I People on cellphonesthought about the word itself and what is fascinating to me. Naturally, before they had finished speaking I had already formulated my response, which I hate doing because it means that I wasn’t listening, right? Okay, that’s my confession for the day; now on to my response.

You know what I find fascinating?

So, you think that’s fascinating, huh? You know what I think is fascinating? I think that my life is fascinating. Each day I wake, I find a whole new set of challenges. There are so called “bad things” that occur and there are also “good things” that occur. Generally, it is some combination of the two. When you wake every morning, you just never know what the mix of bad and good might be that day. Isn’t that fascinating? With so much fascination contained within my own life, I just can’t imagine why someone would want to turn on the television and watch the fascination with someone else’s life.

Now don’t get me wrong: I totally understand how it is easy to get caught up in these moments. Back in the day, it was just television that drew people into this situation, but today we have social media which just begs us to get fascinated with other’s lives.

It’s you.

Person in silhouette of tv screen of white noiseAs a person who likes to promote happiness within people, I want to ask you: What are you fascinated with? Is it your own life? Through my life, I have known and met a lot of people. Enough to know that all of us have fascinating lives. I like to think of them as stories, fascinating stories. And that’s it. Because each day holds an adventure for each and every one of us. Please make sure that you enjoy your adventure, and if you are fascinated with another’s story, that’s okay; just don’t be consumed by it. Remember, you’re life is fascinating.

Don’t be a Cow! Become fascinated with your own life.

Soulful Quote: ” … don’t be fooled by the radio, the TV or the magazines/ They show you photographs of how your life should be/ But they’re just someone else’s fantasy”  – Songwriter Dennis De Young. Lyrics from the song “Grand Illusion”

Song: Grand Illusion, Styx

Game Exercise/Life Changer: A toughie this week. Go one day without television or social media. Then throughout the day as you pick up your phone to check social media, ask yourself what is the fascination with my life? Believe me. it’s there; you just need to take time to find it.

 

 

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11 BOOKS to read to improve your social skills

We are thrilled to be included in this list of books to read to improve social skills.

And we’re in very good company. Please take a moment to look at the list, make a comment or share. It will mean a lot to us. And if you don’t have a copy of Don’t Be a Cow! or would like to share with a friend or family, be sure and take a look!

Many folks have told us we have already empowered them to “find their own paths.

 

Connecting your Kids to Nature better

We recently came across this article on the Mom Blog Society, and being huge fans of Mother Nature, wanted to share these great tips.

By the way, not only are are big fans of Nature, but with every sale of a Don’t Be a Cow! book, a portion of the profit goes toward Lands and Trees Unlimited, a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation (wise use) of our nation’s land and trees. Think about it…land and trees serve as more than America’s natural resources…they help us create memories that last forever.

“How to get your kids closer to nature”