How do we deal with Stress?
This week, as I sat down to write, I realized that my mind had been so preoccupied with life events, that first of all I was writing my blog much later than I normally write it and also, I had no enthusiasm. This got me thinking that maybe I should change my topic and discuss how we all cope with stress. We all come across stress, in various ways, every day of our lives, from being stuck in traffic to your child not doing well in school, to serious stressors like a death in the family or job loss or just not being able to make ends meet.
There is a song by Jason Mraz, called “3 Things” in which he talks about what he does when his life falls apart and I think it so aptly describes our human reaction to pain or discomfort of any kind.
1. It’s okay to cry your eyes out.
That is me, right there. I find that being able to let go of my emotion is such a stress reliever for me. We live in a society where we are taught to be tough and we teach our teens to be tough, especially our sons. We almost make them feel like there is something wrong with them when they cry and yet crying helps you let go off the pain. It is good for you. It is a normal stage of grief and we should allow our teens to grieve when they feel the need to, whether it is for a lost pet, or not getting the grade they were expecting. Crying brings relief. It’s like you are letting go the past. So don’t judge your teens when they cry and believe me, you don’t have to be superman or woman either. It’s alright for you to share your emotion with them. I’ve received so much comfort and insight from my children. They have a great perspective that is worth listening to.
2. Give Thanks.
Giving thanks is one of the hardest things to do when you are facing a crises of any kind, and yet it is actually one of the best things. You can do. Giving thanks helps put things in perspective. At the end of the day we are alive, still surrounded by loved ones. We live in a great country where there is abundance of food to eat. We have freedom of speech and religion. We have our eyes to see and ears to hear. When I look at certain handicapped people and how they excel despite all their handicaps I know I have to give thanks, pick myself up and keep going. Teach your teens that it’s okay to cry, but not to wallow in self-pity. Teach them the gift of gratitude in the fact that they live to fight another day.
3. Seek Counsel if necessary.
It is never a sign of weakness to seek counsel when going through a difficult place in life. A lot of unnecessary killing could have been avoided if those who needed counseling got the help they needed. Sometimes, like with death, divorce, even with teens on drugs and families not getting along with each other, it is okay to seek help. In fact it is necessary for healing and to allow you and your family to move forward without all the baggage. There are so many instances that people move from one relationship to another, never having healed from the previous failed relationship and this is a recipe for disaster. Teens see their parents in this pattern and think that is how life works but it really isn’t and it’s for us as parents to help ourselves and our teens by seeking counseling when needed.
4. Learn your lesson, close the door and move on.
You cannot move on to bigger and better things if you are still hanging on to your past hurts. Don’t be a victim. Don’t get stuck in the past. Pick yourself up, look at whatever stress you endured, learn from it, close that chapter and move on. We all have a story. We can keep making excuses because our parents did not treat us right or that teacher did not like our kid, etc. So long as we keep playing that tune, we stay stuck in our story and nothing changes. We have to teach our teens to decide to move on. It is a choice. It really is. Just like a screen saver on your computer you get to decide what story you keep telling yourself and this ultimately impacts your future. You can’t change your past, but you can choose to live in the present and give yourself a great shot at an amazing future. It really is a choice, one we must teach our teens to make.
Even as I write this blog, my mood has lifted. Life is really too short to spend it sitting and worrying about all that may go wrong. Life really is what we decide to make it. So as Jason Mraz says in his song, “I design my future bright not by where my life has been. And I try, try, try try again!
There is no situation so chaotic that God cannot, from that situation, create something that is surpassingly good. He did it at the creation. He did it at the cross. He is doing it today. ~ Bishop Moule