Here we are dealing with the age old story of which came first, the chicken or the egg. In this case however the question is whether something is stressful and I think about it or because I think about something it becomes stressful. Actually it may be both. Being aware of something is not the same as stressing over it. But if you keep on thinking about something over and over your stress level will likely increase. This is especially true if it is something important to you and something over which you feel you have little or no control. For example, your spouse is going in the hospital to have serious surgery and you don’t know how it is going to turn out. Your very responsible seventeen year old daughter is driving alone for a significant distance for the first time. Or you hear rumors at work about a possible lay off and you don’t know if you would be included or not. Obviously in all three of these situations you would clearly be “aware” but are you stressing? If you continue to ruminate over them they could certainly become stressful. (And let’s be real, we all have stressed over situations like this.) So how do we lessen our stress? First we do what we can. In the first case research the medical operation, talk to the doctor, pray, and make a decision. In the second coach your daughter in good driving skills, check the condition of the car, and give her emergency numbers to call. Lastly research other similar jobs in your area, brush up your resume, and talk to trusted people about the possibility of other jobs coming open in the near future. Secondly, when you have done all you can let it go. For some that is praying to God and releasing your worry and concern to Him. For others it may also include various distractions such as talking to a friend that brightens up your disposition when you feel yourself beginning to worry too much. Other ideas may include exercising, staying busy, watching a movie or reading a book that gets your mind off of your worrying. Even with all this is may be difficult at times to “let go” but one thing is sure, your continuing to think about what is stressing you will only stress you more.
Use this Card to…
- Help you identify what you can/can’t do about a situation
- Motivate you to do what you can about a stressful situation
- Remind you to “let go” when you have done all you can
- Help you create a list of things you can do to distract yourself when you find yourself beginning to ruminate