Stress – the Known Enemy

Dealing with Unexpected Stress

By Jeff Salter

I hadn’t given much thought to this subject until I sat down to write my entry to the week’s collection. Of course, I’ve had a measurable share of stress – employment, health, family, finances, etc. – but most of those are “to be expected”. That is to say, ups and downs in those areas are a fairly normal cycle which you can figure you’ll experience sooner or later. And when those “expected” situations arise – with the inevitable attendant stress – I do what I can to cope and also try to comfort others involved (if any others).

Read the other columns here this week and check out the ways our Foxes deal with stress. Some can lessen the effects of stress by keeping lists and (one by one) eliminating stress-adding ingredients. Some can lessen the effects of stress by a physical activity like dancing. [None of those seem to work all that well for me, by the way.] And many other coping devices, of course, are listed this week.

For me, lessening the effects of accumulated stress could be assisted by doing any of these (no particular order): napping, exercising, watching a movie (or TV series episode) I especially like, reading (especially fiction), sharing interesting tidbits on FB, soaking in a hot bath, watching and tending a fire (in the outdoor fire pit), sitting in front of a fireplace (indoors), hanging out with a good friend who understands that silence can be part of a healthy “conversation”, etc.

A lot of people I know find it helpful (in lessening the effects of stress) to talk about the situation(s) and/or people causing that stress. Not me. For some reason, talking about it just stresses me even more. I’m told that indicates I’m “internalizing” my stress. Whatever.

Yeah, I’m also a spiritual guy and I’ve found great solace during heavily troubled times by praying and reading the Bible. Singing hymns feels great, too.

So I guess that gives you an inkling of how I cope with stress.

But the word which sticks out to me (in this week’s topic) is “unexpected.” Actually, I don’t encounter very much which surprises me anymore. We live in a troubled world during troubled times — and calamities hit us from all corners. Whether that be natural disasters, financial collapses, urban unrest, terrorist attacks, or whatever. Please be clear that I do NOT “condone” those horrific events/actions. Nor do I blithely “accept” them as the new normal. I’m just saying they don’t surprise me anymore.

So when a new set of stressful circumstances stares me in the face, my typical reaction is: “Oh, it’s you again.”

Question:

How do YOU deal with stress? Is your stress expected or unexpected… or is there actually any difference?

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About jeff7salter

Currently writing romantic comedy, screwball comedy, and romantic suspense. Twelve completed novels and five completed novellas. Working with three royalty publishers: Clean Reads, Dingbat Publishing, & TouchPoint Press/Romance. "Size Matters" -- Oct. 2016 "The Duchess of Earl" -- Jul. 2016 "Stuck on Cloud Eight" -- Nov. 2015, "Pleased to Meet Me" (novella) -- Oct. 2015, "One Simple Favor" (novella) -- May 2015, "The Ghostess & MISTER Muir" -- Oct. 2014, "Scratching the Seven-Month Itch" -- Sept. 2014, "Hid Wounded Reb" -- Aug. 2014, "Don't Bet On It" (novella) -- April 2014, "Curing the Uncommon Man-Cold -- Dec. 2013, "Echo Taps" (novella) -- June 2013, "Called To Arms Again" -- (a tribute to the greatest generation) -- May 2013, "Rescued By That New Guy in Town" -- Oct. 2012, "The Overnighter's Secrets" -- May 2012. Co-authored two non-fiction books about librarianship (with a royalty publisher), a chapter in another book, and an article in a specialty encyclopedia. Plus several library-related articles and reviews. Also published some 120 poems, about 150 bylined newspaper articles, and some 100 bylined photos. Worked about 30 years in librarianship. Formerly newspaper editor and photo-journalist. Decorated veteran of U.S. Air Force (including a remote ‘tour’ of duty in the Arctic … at Thule AB in N.W. Greenland). Married; father of two; grandfather of six.
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15 Responses to Stress – the Known Enemy

  1. Patricia Kiyono says:

    I have to agree with you that most stressful situations don’t surprise me any more. And I don’t believe that accepting them as inevitable does not mean we condone them. Your methods of coping seem to mirror some others mentioned this week: I take breaks by going outdoors, while you take breaks by “retreating” within (in front of the fireplace, reading, watching a movie, Janette escapes by going into denial (napping and soaking are ways to escape – though how anyone can sleep when they’re stressed is a puzzlement to me – must be a gender thing!) and exercising is pretty much what Angie does when she dances (endorphins are great for stress relief!).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. jbrayweber says:

    Ah…stress. Don’t know what I’d do without it. Can’t remember a time when I was stress-free. Maybe 6? LOL. I usually work well under job-related types of stress. The “everyday expected” stress you just learn to deal with. I’m a list person. Feels pretty good to cross off the list. I exercise, too. Venting sometimes works, sometimes doesn’t.

    It’s the unexpected stress that really sucks. And it’s usually caused by people with agendas. I used to have an invisible shield that repelled such people. That was before I becoming involved (required) with my kids activities. I’m blown away by the ugliness of parents and how far out of their way they will go to bring misery to others. At the advice of legal counsel, that is all I can say.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jeff7salter says:

      Be sure to visit Patty’s Monday post, Jenn. She’s also a list-maker.
      Ah, yes — people with agendas. Some seem to be always looking to add another notch to their belt. And I got tired of being the new notch. HA!
      And, I certainly remember — from the years our two were in school & activities — encountering some belligerent, offensive parents. From what I can see on the news and internet… they’ve gotten worse! And now many have their own “reality” show.

      Like

  3. jbrayweber says:

    Good grief…it must be too early in the morning. Just look at all my errors in my post. *sigh*

    Reality shows fuel the awful behavior. It’s so, so sad.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jeff7salter says:

      totally agree about the “realilty” shows. They are teaching an impressionable generation that it’s wonderful to be cruel, hostile, and self-absorbed.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. We all know that stressed is desserts spelled backward. Eat chocolate!!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Cindy Ortego says:

    Since I retired, the stress-o-meter has gone way down, but it ever goes away entirely. I find yoga practice helpful (it’s so fiendishly difficult I can’t think of anything else). Also, walking or really, doing anything outdoors is good. And somehow I relax immediately in the presence of either or both of my grown children, which evens things out because I stressed over them for so many growing-up years.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jeff7salter says:

      totally agree, about retirement, especially after your new schedule evens out (after the transition period).
      Never tried yoga, but the aerobic machines I use at the ‘Y’ loosen me up a bit.
      As far as kids, I can’t say I truly relax much around our two, because when Dave is here, it’s usually for such a short visit and we’re always running and gunning somewhere.
      When Julie comes over, usually the grandkids and pets are racing around screaming at the top of their lungs. LOL

      Like

  6. Bravo, Jeff! I think if the stress ever completely stopped, I’d get “the bends”.

    Liked by 1 person

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