Community//

Stress – My Lifelong Partner

Life after “Sweating the small stuff” - Richard Carlson”

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“I, Nitwit do take you – stress, for my awful partner, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death do us part.” Have you ever found this to be your personal mantra? I did.

When it all began

My first memory of being stressed was during school exams. No matter what I did, how much I studied or what kind of assurances I received from people around me, I would descend into a blind state of panic. All my careful revision vanished from my mind. It was a relief to hear “pens down” being called. My pen did not have far to go.

Over the years there were many other such occasions only now work-related. As I moved on to new positions with new challenges stress would just appear. The older I got the more stress became my constant companion, wielding its vicious hold over me. There was no such thing as work-life balance. I constantly sought to impress others with my “coping mechanism” of working longer hours, and pushing myself to keep ahead of the “Madding Crowd”. By keeping the earlier hours, I was assured of extra stress-free time to complete my tasks before my colleagues arrived at the office. Or so I thought. My body started showing the signs of “wear and tear”. Stomach ailments, sleep deprivation, inability to concentrate, the overabundance of cups of coffee and general health issues. Simply put, I was out of control.

The Good News –Listening to the Voice of Reason

Part of my journey back to a healthy routine was the wisdom and guidance of our company mentor and coach – Karina Andersen. She urged me to take stock of my downward health trend. That said, she started me on a breathing exercise and encouraged me to take time out in the morning to just be still. Together we examined the why of how I felt. Oddly enough, when faced with examining my health status and practicing mindfulness, these actions became a natural way out. I had moved on past the “urge to purge.”

The Center for Studies on Human Stress – CSHS, presents the findings of a group of researchers which are based on common elements to situations that elevate stress hormones in everyone. They said and I quote “that they discovered the recipe for stress: NUTS: Novelty; Unpredictability; Threat to the ego; Sense of Control”. A rather fitting description.

How am I correcting my behaviour

Trying to re-train my brain to adapt to the new processes has not been easy. I am still working on panicking less and relaxing more. I enjoy writing, and find the desire to reach people using the written word. It affords me the opportunity to be reflective and composed. With the valuable lessons that I have learnt along the way and a definite change in lifestyle practices, I am finding fulfillment in a new sense of freedom.

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