The only way I've made it calmly through the month of January was the conscious decision not to be overwhelmed by events. There were stressful events, both good and bad, coexisting all month. I could feel the stress, physically and emotionally.
To give you a sample of the bad stress, Equifax says I'm dead. Dead. I thought we had it cleared up after receiving last year's free credit report with the bad news and letting them know that I am alive and kicking.
Evidently not kicking enough.
Have you ever had to prove you are alive? I've sent in a copy of my driver's license and social security card, but that didn't do it. I have to get a NUMI form (??) from the local Social Security office and they won't give me an appointment for that. Come take a number and wait.
I consciously asked myself a few questions to put things in perspective. Are we under terrorist attack? Are my kids and grandkids healthy? A no to the first and a yes to the second question let me breathe deeply and know that all is well.
Perspective is what saves us. Most of us have wonderful lives but can get bogged down so easily in everyday stresses. Stress comes in both good and bad varieties. Winning the lottery has a flip side (stress) as surely as finding oneself listed dead has its humorous flip side.
I need to maintain an even keel, not just for myself, but also for those around me. At work and at home, I'm transparent. No poker face for me; I wear my emotions. Too often we don't think about how our reactions can affect others. It's all too true that "When Mom ain't happy, ain't nobody happy."
It took me a long time to recognize that throughout life there will always be stress of one form or another. The key is to respond to stresses, not react to them. When we respond, we put things in perspective and figure out what to do. If we react, it emanates from emotion and not from careful consideration. Handling stress correctly will make life better for us and better for all those who live and work with us.
Jean Loxley-Barnard has been a writer all her life and studied both sociology and psychology at George Washington University where she earned a B.A. Her company, The Shopper, Inc., encompasses all the Loxley-Barnard family publications - The Shopper Magazines and Doctor to Doctor Magazine. She has been in the advertising, consulting and publishing business for 39 years.
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