I can’t find my chapstick. I can never find my chapstick. I enter full-blown panic mode the moment I think of my chapstick and don’t immediately see it. I get loud, “Where is my chapstick? Have you seen it!? I know I put it in here!” then I get mad, because if I don’t have instant gratification I will probably combust. So I need that chapstick, like, yesterday. I believe this is where the phrase, “Don’t sweat the small stuff” would come to mind. I have been working on this for quite some time now. It is much easier said than done. And here is what I have learned. If I can’t find my chapstick, the odds are I will find at least one stick within five minutes of realizing there isn’t any in arms reach. If I could wait five minutes before overreacting, I could avoid the entire situation. By not waiting five minutes, I’m actually generating stress that never would have existed.
Did you know that your body reacts to all stress the same way, whether it is good stress or bad stress? Getting married is good/positive stress (I hope…), but your brain and your heart rate could potentially respond the same way it would if you were heading to the dentist to get a cavity filled. The long-term effects of stress can increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke. There are so many things in my life that will trigger stress naturally, both good and bad. So why do I let myself create additional stress? Why is it so hard to break the cycle? I am at a point in my life where I am aware of when it is constructed stress and when it is naturally occurring. I can stop creating my own stress. I have the power to do so. I can’t stop something I can’t control, however I can control how I respond. If you distract yourself with something positive for two minutes, you can dramatically reduce the anxiety and stress that you are feeling. Don’t believe me? Try it. It is possible to stop the replaying of an event, or stop worrying about something that hasn’t happened yet. Part of what causes my stress is not feeling in control and not knowing what will happen. But the reality is that I do have control. I can utilize these methods to stop letting the little things get the best of me. So I’m going to keep working on reducing stress in my life, and every day I will remind myself not to sweat the small stuff. Now, if you will excuse me, I have to go find my chapstick.
(I would love it if anyone reading this would comment below and share healthy techniques that they have found useful to reduce stress!)