Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Contagious stress

Today was filled with many deadline-driven queries and tasks, and I found that my anxiety spiraled up with every new e-mail or phone call.

It wasn't so much stress and anxiety that I OWNED, but I could feel it very strongly coming to me from others who were pushing and pushing to complete tasks in order to meet a deadline. And I caught it, that anxious stress, and felt the push, the drive to finish just one more thing, send one more e-mail before I went to appointments that had been set up for a while, and then carried it with me for a little while.

Fortunately I realized what was happening, and made conscious choices not to allow problems that aren't mine to affect my own anxiety levels. The parts that I did have responsibility for had been done for some time, although there was some questions as to what would be needed.

At the end of the day, it didn't matter because an overlooked item took priority over the work I'd done. Ah ...

Stress is highly contagious. If you've ever worked for a company and gone through a layoff or RIF, you know what I mean: paranoia is rampant throughout the staff. Will I be next? How will I pay the mortgage? Why don't they want me? I got a good review -- but will I be safe?


And stress is baaaaddd for the bod, folks. It can exacerbate all sorts of problems you already may have a tendency towards, and it can truly be life threatening if it becomes chronic and unrelieved.

Today I consciously made myself slow down and breath deeply, calm my mind, and repeat my favorite mantras: I am powerless over people, places and things. ...serenity to accept the things I cannot change, change the things I can....the wisdom to know the difference....Do all you can, where you are, with what you've got.

Had I been able, I'd have listened to some music or an ocean waves recording, and maybe done some yoga stretches and more deep breathing. On the fly, I settled for the breath, and for the mantras. It worked, and it put me in a much more accepting frame of mind, rather than the accelerating accusatory mode like "What were you thinking to leave this to the last minute? Why should your lack of planning be my problem? Don't you know how to make that look decent with all your fancy=schmacy boasting?" You know how it goes, don't you.

Ooooo. Nasty thoughts.

In a week, it won't matter, not really. This day was not brain surgery. Nobody was going to die or get hurt. And that's what puts it into perspective, really.

Rule 1: Don't sweat the small stuff. Rule 2: Most of it is small stuff.

I am thankful for each day that I get to spend here, with my honey, in this beautiful place, living the life I do. I'm grateful for friends and family and love. I'm grateful for enough. Thanks be to the universe.

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