Ep. 25: A Very Simple Way to Deal With Stress

In this weeks podcast I share with you a simple process I found that really helped me relieve a lot of stress I was dealing with. I highly encourage you to subscribe to the podcast and listen to this weeks episode!

Before I get into the topic for the week on the podcast I share some information about someone I truly admire. Michael J. Chase founded The Kindness Center and speaks publicly, authored a book, and has helped thousands and thousands of people live a life of kindness.

He’s truly an inspiration and he recently found himself expressing how brave, courageous, and vulnerable he is by asking for support! He’s created a special page asking for donations for his non-profit so he’s not forced to shut down this amazing Organization. In addition to supporting Michael, a $25 donation will also get you access to his recent course, “9 Choices The Happiest Courses Make”. I’m personally donating and highly encourage you to do the same!

A Simple Way to Deal With Stress

Stress rears its ugly head all too often for many of us. If you have a demanding job, are married, have children, or even go to school, stress is probably not a foreign concept to you. Yet, as often as stress shows up in our lives we’re not often given a lot of tools for how to deal with it. In fact, for most of us it’s talked about as if we just have to put up with it – like an annoying cold.

Yet the difference between a cold and stress is that a cold is something that’s happening to our bodies. Stress on the other hand, is something that’s happening in our brains. Yes, it can be felt all over our bodies and has been linked to many diseases including heart disease it does originate in our heads.

I don’t say this to mitigate or minimize the affects of it in our lives. I am making this distinction because it actually tells us some very promising news. If stress originates in our brains that means we have control over it! At least to the extent that we can take actionable steps to mitigate or minimize its affects.

Last week was extra challenging for me and filled to the brim with stress. I was dealing with a lot of family issues in addition to a busy work week! There were some things I could physically do to take off my plate but others I just had to deal with. Sometimes when our plates get filled up there’s no other choice than for it to start to overflow. I think it’s when they overflow that we really start feeling those symptoms come on.

I would up taking care of myself last week without recognizing what was happening until I spoke to a friend last night. When I was sharing with him what a week I had he said, “Boy Josh, you have your plate full!”. I replied, “Actually, I have a lot of plates!” and that was true! What I had been doing was collecting more plates!

Let me explain…

I came to realize that some of the things I was dealing with couldn’t be “fixed”. There were situations that I knew I just had to feel uncomfortable about. So even though I couldn’t necessarily fix the problems I knew I didn’t have to become overwhelmed as a result. So I reached out for more plates. I tweeted a friend and shared a little bit about what was going on. So a little bit of that stress went onto that plate. Then I had a Facebook chat with another friend about what was going on and a little bit more went onto that plate. I spoke to people on the phone, talked to my wife, and again more plates became available to hold some of that stress.

I suddenly realized that by sharing my story with others I was able to take a little bit at a time off of my plate and know that it was safe on theirs. I didn’t ask anyone to “fix” me and simply asked for them to listen. Just the simple act of someone listening to you without giving any advice is healing in and of itself and that’s exactly what I got. I got some air and light on that stress and it thinned it out a bit. I took that weight off my plate and it was just a little bit lighter.

So while I may have not made everything go away somethings aren’t meant to just go away. Sure, eventually they will and already this week things are much easier but that’s only because I chose to reach out. I chose to collect more plates and I chose to spread out all the weight and overwhelm of that stress.

Take these steps for this weeks ISA Weekly Challenge:

1. When you feel stress come on remind yourself that because it’s in your brain you can do something about it!
2. Reach out to people (at least several people) and share whatever is comfortable for you just to get it out.
3. Ask them to listen to you without trying to fix or solve the problem.
4. Recognize that while the stress might still be there, you no longer have to bear all that weight.
5. Take a deep breath in appreciating that this is what self care and self love looks like.