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Sunday, June 07, 2015

On Worry and Stress and De-Stressing

Jean Sexton muses:

By nature I am a worrywart. Did I do "this" right? Was there a way of doing it better? What if it has something incorrect in it? Did I miss a comma? Did I hurt someone's feelings? These questions worry at me.

Now my worry is that I don't know enough about marketing in this age of social media mixed with traditional forms of getting the word out. I've been flying by the seat of my pants, learning as I go. Things are changing so rapidly that it is hard to keep up with them.

Worry leads to stress. I know this. My worst nightmares in college were that I got a note in my box along these lines:

Dear Miss Sexton,

You signed up for Chemistry 304, The Uses of Mercury in Industry. I hope you have an intuitive knowledge of the subject as you have missed every class. Please do not forget the finals on May 2 at 3:30 pm.


Dr. I Know Everything

I would awake with my heart racing and would rush to find the printed class schedule to make sure I hadn't signed up for such a class. (Usually it was something more likely such as History of the British Regency Period or Great Poetry of Women Authors.)

Now I worry that I am not effective at getting the word out to people. This failure has real-life consequences for real people beyond me. ADB needs to make money in order to pay its bills and the salaries of those who work for it.

Over the years I have learned that stress makes me less effective. I circle around from one idea to another, fretting over the concepts, never being able to decide which is better. It solves nothing and creates its own set of problems.

So how do I reduce the stress? It cannot be mental exercises, because my brain derails and goes back to the problem. The best way for me recently has been to walk with The Wolf. We have a pattern we walk and that frees my mind to observe that this apartment is empty, that car has been in an accident, the honeysuckle is blooming, and drat, someone threw out food and I cannot let Wolf get his mouth on it. After that I need to pet Wolf because he says so. Physical exercise and love seem to drive out mental work and worry.

Another way I reduce stress is to cook something. It is a form of creation; to me that drives away the chaos of stress. I just need to reduce how much I cook as I tend to cook for several healthy appetites. I also clean. Again, this brings order from chaos. Sometimes I work on updating lists that I have of books and movies I own. I think "creating order" must be the key. Stress and worry are chaotic and don't survive orderliness.

So I continue to work, but I am working on decreasing the new worries in my life. I think I am succeeding.