“The most exciting thing this last year that happened to me was that I bought a new set of pots and pans and a whole bunch of new utensils, and that made a lot of difference in my time spent in the kitchen. Actually, I never realized before how important kitchen tools really were in encouraging us to enjoy cooking.” I am talking to my friend, Gillian. She listens in silence. She then nods and adds to what I am saying, “Yes, it’s funny how all these previously mundane things all of a sudden seem to have become vital and exciting.” She continues, “Like I find myself really interested in how to organize my drawers. I have already learned all the tricks you can come up with, using baking soda and apple cider vinegar.” I interrupt her, “Don’t forget. We are all under stress, and our homes and our kitchens are now our happy places.” She says, “Stress! You hit it right on the head. And plentiful of it too. Stress in abundance. We are all cups overflowing with it.” Gillian continues, “Myself, I think I am losing more hair now than ever.” Then running her fingers through her hair and holding her face in her two palms, she adds, “Look at me. It seems even my eyebrows are on the thinning side now. Wearing masks has ruined my one-time almost-perfect skin. Check out all these black heads on my nose.” I answer, “Oh, how dreadful! You definitely have a big time stress problem.” She answers, “Add anxiety to it as well. Honestly, don’t really know how to handle it all.”
I say, “Let me tell you my thought on it. I think I know a thing or two about stress. Clinically, we get anxiety when we are facing a new challenge. It could be anything. For example, do you remember the time when you had the ant problem in your kitchen? You got rid of the ants alright, but it sure was a challenging task for you. So it’s like when there is a new challenge, our body sends a signal to us, like a bell ringing… Ding, ding, ding! To let us be aware that we are about to be under attack by the enemy. It’s like our body is announcing in a loud speaker, ‘Here comes a new challenge accompanied with anxiety!’ And of course, with the new challenge always comes all the bad, evil soldiers of despair, helplessness, and fear. They are attacking our nervous system, directly affecting our adrenal glands, which, as a result, sends a toxic overflow of the adrenaline hormone into our body, followed by an increase in our heart rate. Our blood pressure shoots up high. In addition, we notice how our muscles tighten, our breathing quickens, our nervous system becomes more alert, more sensitive, and much sharper. It sure feels like hell. So, the thing is, when this happens, I think we should not just sit there and be passive and submit to it. We should not let anxiety take over. We’ve got to fight back, punch it down. We’ve got to look in our tool box and go to war with stress and anxiety, using whatever weapons we can find to defeat all these bad guys of negativity and stress. Certainly, we should not send them a welcome wagon by fussing about them and giving them more oxygen. Don’t entertain them and don’t make room for worry in our head. We should use berating — being present in the moment, going for a walk and taking our problems with us, then losing them on our way back home. We should leave all our worries and troubles behind our entrance door, like a dripping wet umbrella on a rainy day that cannot possibly enter the house yet until it’s completely dry.” I continue, “You see, when things go wrong, I personally have a conversation with our higher power, God, or whatever you want to call it. Of course, I try not to sound like a Karen in a restaurant who asks to see the manager for she has not been pleased with the service she has received. Don’t get me wrong. I show my gratitude for all my blessings before asking for a little bit more of everything wonderful to come my way. If not, I say, ‘Please, God, at least just let me feel less helpless and more powerful in my soul to act and to choose as though I have a choice.” Gillian listens in silence.