LINK TO STRESS INVENTORY: http://www.cliving.org/lifestresstestscore.htm
My score is 481, no brag just fact. That is not a good score, by the way, at least not on a Stress Inventory.
It’s not something I am proud of or even complaining about. It is something I have started to take seriously and do something about. The little scary punch line at the end of the inventory says it all:
“You have a high or very high risk of becoming ill in the near future.” Who wants that?
I am one of those people who are slow to catch up with themselves. When I have a pain or ache it takes days or weeks, and if you can believe it, sometimes months for me to figure out where it is coming from – as in, where exactly it resides in my body. I’ll feel it generally in an area but I ignore it or detach from it, or harbor it as “down there” or “somewhere around here.” Actually figuring out that it is in my hip or back, or wrist or hand, can take quite a bit of time.
I know that sounds weird to those of you who know precisely where you hurt, and can locate whatever is wrong or out of order immediately. Apparently there are lots of folks like me as well.
Anyway, big stress going on and I am trying to do all the right things to traverse it: eat well, exercise often, stay in touch with people, feel instead of deny, talk instead of retreat, stretch, meditate, pray, massage, listen to dreams…
In my case, there is very little I can do to change the stress factors in my life – moving, moving again, buying a house, stuck with another house, change jobs, spouse changing jobs, leaving friends, making new friends, children getting married and others graduating, managing new and additional careers, etc. etc. – but I can change how I think about all of it.
What can I control when so much about the present situation is out of control? The way I contextualize it, or as they say frame it, can make all the difference.
All of this stress is from opportunity, and an abundance of it. Even though opportunity has loss sewn into its every lining, and change inflicts havoc no matter where it strikes, opportunity is way better than misfortune and deprivation. So as I continue to adjust to the stresses, most of which will be on going into the months ahead, I am trying to picture it as a garden of opportunities where lush fruit grows and cozy pocket parks reside.
Some might call this wishful thinking or Pollyannaish. I call it strategic.
We do not get that many choices in life. Even many of the events we imagine are our choices come along as ballast from other people or events, many of whom we will never know or see. But we do get to choose how we frame any given situation. It is our coloring book and we get to color it any way we want. That makes a huge difference, both in outcomes and with the quality of life as we live it.
So don’t stop thinking!
There is plenty of affirmation and cheerleading out there for yoga and nutrition and exercise, but underneath it all is imagination. Utilizing our capacity to think and re-think any given situation funds the rest of our efforts.
Okay, now it is time to take another deep breath…and s-t-r-e-t-c-h.