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