Good Morning! Let the Stress Begin!
I woke up the other morning and could barely stand. I fell twice in the shower and once while getting dressed. The world wasn’t spinning, but my brain felt like scrambled eggs. Something wasn’t right, so I called my doctor. He was equally concerned; he gave me two hours of tests, all of which came back crystal clear. As we sat in his office, he asked me about what was going on in my life. I gave him the usual answer, the boys are crazy, work is bananas, but we’re doing okay. And he looked me right in the eye and demanded that I tell him the truth.
At first, I laughed. But as I told him “the truth,” I realized that everything was not just okay. I was beyond stressed out. I was more stressed than I have ever been in my life. There are a dozen situations in my personal life that are causing me more stress than usual. And then he pointed out several other things that are probably causing me stress or anxiety without me even knowing. Turns out stress can cause dizziness. And while it’s a diagnosis by elimination, he said there’s a good chance the stress is causing me to be dizzy.
What Is Stress?
This made me wonder, exactly what is stress? We use that word all the time, but honestly, what is it?!? The dictionary essentially defines stress as your thoughts being out of balance, defining it as “bodily or mental tension resulting from factors that tend to alter an existent equilibrium.” The medical definition of stress goes further than just thoughts, and identifies it as “the perception of a real or imagined threat to your body or your ego.”
Both definitions are clear that stress is all in your mind. Stress is more than what you see through your eyes with work and kids and aging parents. It’s the gun control debate you see on Facebook, the fear of a school shooting in your neighborhood, the threat of your loved ones getting the flu, the winter blues in Michigan, the appointments you have to schedule, the paperwork you have to fill out for school, the ridiculous potholes that you know are going to get your tire one day soon, trying to figure out whats for dinner, the messy bathroom, the hateful political rhetoric that doesn’t stop, and more.
The Million Dollar Question
This, of course, begs the million dollar question, how do we eliminate stress? You certainly can’t turn off your brain. My internet search results returned hundreds of suggestions, from lighting a candle to exercise to “just stop worrying.” Riiiight, just stop worrying, if only it were that simple.
Obviously, I don’t have the answer. For some, it may be lighting a candle and deep breathing. Others, exercise does it. Quite a few people I know, its Xanax. Whatever works for you is your solution to the stress problem. I can’t tell you what will work for you. But I can tell you what doesn’t work: doing nothing. I can also tell you awareness is key; look beyond the obvious that you can see on the outside. Once you know what is causing all your stress, you can work to find a solution. I haven’t found my solution yet, but I’ll keep trying things until I do.
What things stress you out? What do you do to try and reduce it?