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> Back to Self-Care Excerpts List

Self-Care Excerpt from Don't Weight

Stress, Not Always Destructive

Think of the excitement you feel when you are starting a new project that you like and that you know will turn out wonderful. That excitement is a form of stress. It helps you to have the energy necessary to accomplish the tasks at hand. Now, think of the anxiety you feel when you have a job to do that seems difficult or impossible to do. That anxiety is also form of stress.

Alertness and excitement are responses to constructive stress. Anxiety and nervousness are responses to destructive stress. What is the difference? How can we change the way we look at things so that we feel challenged and exhilarated instead of overwhelmed and exhausted? I believe the answer has to do with feeling that you have the ability to affect the situation.

Sometimes it seems like every minute of every day is filled with things that you just have to do immediately. Mornings are hectic as you scramble to get ready for the day. The kids need their boots. The dog needs feeding. The car needs gas. Everybody needs something from you. Whether you work at home or outside the home, your day is filled with tasks that require your attention and your time. After a long day, do you get to rest? No. All the evening's activities and obligations are still ahead of you. Aahh! It is all too much!

You know the feeling; it is like your life is running you instead of you running your life. Somehow, things get away from you and you are reacting to your circumstances. It feels like you have little choice and less control. I believe the feeling of having no control is what causes destructive stress.

Since life is so dynamic and changing, there is no such thing as having complete control of your situation. However, you can feel empowered and hopeful that you can affect your situation. When you approach the same situation with a different mind set, you will have a different reaction. As soon as you begin to feel hopeful and able to cope, your reaction to the stress will be exhilaration and energy. By looking at the situation differently you changed destructive stress into constructive stress.

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