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Handling stress


© December 2005 Tony Lawrence

I woke up this morning feeling stressed. I'm behind on several projects, and have a pile of new things that couldn't be started until today, and also must be started today. Some of them need to be completed today, and some of the leftovers from earlier in the week need to be finished also. It's way too much to squeeze into one day, and there are loose ends that interfere and prevent some of these anyway.

Stress comes from indecision and inability. You can't decide what to do or how to do it, or something beyond your control prevents you from doing what you need to do. I have all these elements today. What project should I tackle first? Oh sure, but I can't do that because "x" isn't ready - and all this stuff here is preventing "x", but I can't get to that yet because..

OK. Deep breath. I didn't last this long by falling apart under pressure. One thing at a time, move forward incrementally. The work will get done.

All the usual tricks come into play. Break the work into smaller tasks and get part of it done. Take fifteen minutes and do something completely unrelated to pull your mind from the stress spirals. Look for creative ways to eliminate some of the work.

Ever feel like you need to scream when you are under such stress? That's because you do need to scream; or more accurately, you need physical release. Some vigorous physical exercise, even if it's nothing more than jumping up and down, will relieve stress. Yes, it will come back again, but the exercise helps you deal with it. So will screaming, if you can do that without scaring other people. Loud singing works too, and might be a little more easy to get away with.

On the opposite side, a few minutes of meditation and relaxation can recharge you also. I've done my jumping around (can't scream or sing because my wife is still sleeping), so it's time for a cup of tea and a few minutes of quiet. And then I'll revisit some of the projects that are stressing me today.

The work will get done. It always does, doesn't it?


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