I recently read a similar question in a blog post written by my friend, Denise. Her post was a tribute to one of her friends and her question really struck me and has since had a very positive impact on my happiness and health. So much that I thought it absolutely necessary to share with you!
I teach corporate wellness classes and dedicate an entire hour to stress management and the importance of eliminating, or at the least, effectively managing the plethora of modern day stress. One of the stress management tools I teach is choose a different perspective. When we find ourselves annoyed at a family member, loved one, or a situation and are perseverating over it, this tends to become a stressful situation not only mentally but also physically. Excessive, unmanaged stress has been linked to a wide variety of illness and disease from the common cold to very serious conditions like auto-immune diseases, Alzheimer’s disease and stroke. Excessive stress also has a very negative affect on one’s quality of life. It’s really hard to be happy when consumed with the doom and gloom that stress brings.
In the past when choosing a different perspective I would focus solely on being grateful. If I was irritated about something at work I would change my tune and think about how lucky I was to have a job in a pretty awesome company in upstate NY. I would think about how many women around the world would go to great lengths to have my income and a stable job which allows me to take care of my family. If I was irritated about something someone else did I would think about all of the ways that my life has been enhanced by my relationship with that person. If I was irritated that I was seemingly the only person in my household to put items away instead of leaving them out I would remind myself how lovely my home is and how so many women want to have children but are unable to. If I was irritated that someone wasn’t using their brain I would thank God for blessing me with intelligence and wit. But honestly, being grateful only took me so far. I could be practicing gratitude yet still be seething inside.
That all changed one day sometime in this past year when Denise shared this blog post on Facebook. In her article, Denise wrote “How do I want to spend the precious energy I am given each day? It is a good question for all of us to consider.” And consider it I do – all of the time now! Asking myself that seemingly easy question Is this really how I want to spend my precious energy? during moments of absolute frustration and anger really has had such a profound effect on my ability to eliminate stress. The answer is always the same, NO, and literally poof, the stress, bitterness and negative energy is gone. No longer do I continue to seethe about silly, unimportant things. No longer do I walk around with the doom and gloom over something like another’s inconsideration. No longer do I give myself stress migraines over inconsequential life events.
I still practice being grateful daily as my father taught me to thank God everyday just because you are alive. I also still work on daily meditation, walking in nature and being present. But that one little question Is this really how I want to spend my precious energy? empowered me to truly get a grip and instead spend my precious energy on enjoying life and all of the wonderful experiences and people in it.
Thank you Denise and your dear friend Jen!
How can you implement this in your life?
Write this sentence down or set it as the subject of a daily reoccurring calendar reminder in either your phone or your computer, Is this really how I want to spend my precious energy? Read it every day so that when you find yourself stressing out, pissed off and spewing negative thoughts you’ll be ready to remind yourself at some point during the episode Is this really how I want to spend my precious energy? I have a feeling that more often than not the answer will be, NO! Once you decide that you don’t want to be seething and perseverating, you won’t.
You might find yourself shortly after you’ve just made this glorious, bold decision not to waste your precious energy on negative and unproductive thoughts, doing just that…wasting your precious energy on negative and unproductive thoughts! All you can do is ask yourself that question once again Is this really how I want to spend my precious energy? and take it from there. Thought and behavior patterns and habits take time and plenty of practice to change. Keep at it and eventually you will find that you need to ask yourself that question just once over a particular situation and it will be gone from your negative energy pool forever. Poof, just like that!
Leave a comment and tell me what your favorite stress buster is!