My stress was palpable:
- My wife requires full-time care because she is confined to a wheelchair as the result of breast cancer treatment
- As her caregiver I only have an hour or two of uninterrupted time to work at my home business.
- Her expenses plus my inability to work created a financial meltdown.
- We suddenly could not afford our own home and we came within 10 days of losing it in a foreclosure auction.
While all this was going on, I was watching one of the network morning shows and the teaser before a commercial said that a stress expert would tell us how to reduce our stress.
Bingo! Just what I needed!
The expert came on and gave us three ways to reduce stress: exercise, meditation, and a healthy diet. She went on to explain how to incorporate these things into our lives, and all of the other health benefits as well.
When the segment was over, I was surprised to find myself MORE stressed than before! Exercise? I had no doubt that it would be effective, but I asked myself, “What exercises should I do? How many of them? How often? Where? When? How do I find out the answers to these questions?” …and so on. (As a recovering programmer, I need details!)
The same with a healthy diet… What foods should I eat? How much? How often? How do I prepare the meals? Where do I get recipes? How do I properly pick and choose ingredients at the market? …and so on.
Meditation was no different… How does one meditate? How often? How long? Where? When? … and so on.
All the work and learning involved in these activities was daunting to me. They seemed like projects, and new projects were the last thing I needed when I was so stressed to begin with.
Then it hit me like a ton of bricks… reducing stress can be stressful! So profound. So simple. So right-on-the money.
Why is it so stressful to reduce stress? It all boils down to this: it takes time and effort to do what you have to do to reduce your stress, time and effort that stressed people like us just don’t have.
What do you think happened as a result of the advice I heard on that morning show? That’s right… nothing. It was too overwhelming to add to my stressful life.
Believe me, I think that exercise, meditation, and healthy eating habits are wonderful, critically important things to do, but they don’t do us any good if we don’t do them!
And that leads me to the main reason that traditional techniques for reducing stress don’t work for so many of us: we don’t do them!
It’s as simple as that. We don’t do them.
It doesn’t matter how effective or important a technique is; it won’t help us if we don’t do it!
Plus, even if we do start, say, an exercise program, the ongoing time and effort makes it difficult to maintain. You skip it just once because you don’t feel well or whatever, and you’re on a slippery slope that can lead to stopping completely. And when you stop, the benefits stop as well.
How does all this help you? It helps because you must identify a problem before you can address it. It is my hope that your new awareness will help motivate you to actually begin new activities that will reduce that stress and help you along the road to health and happiness.
One of the best ways to reduce stress is to laugh… hahaha… gee, I feel better already! I want you to feel better too, so please accept my gift: a free one-hour interview with a nationally recognized humor expert who will show you how to find things to laugh about even when nothing seems funny. She’s a funny funny lady; you’re going to love it! Download or listen to the interview here: http://www.TheCopingC.com/laugh
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