Handling Stress


A lecturer, when explaining stress management to an audience, raised a glass of water and asked, “How heavy is this glass of water?”

Answers called out ranged from 20g to 500g.  The lecturer replied, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends how long you try to hold it. If I hold it for a minute, that’s not a problem.  If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it for a day, you’ll have to call an ambulance. In each case, it’s the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.”

He continued, “And that’s the way it is with stress management. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won’t be able to carry on. As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When we’re refreshed, we can carry on with the burden. So, before you return home tonight, put the burden of work down. Don’t carry it home. You can pick it up tomorrow.  Whatever burdens you’re carrying now, let them down for a moment if you can.”

Most of us know that we have to face reality and deal with our problems as we can. The important thing to remember, though, is to separate those things over which we have control from those things over which we don’t.  Trying to eliminate those worries that we cannot control is one thing, but what do we do about the rest? Yes, we even need a rest from those daily stressful burdens that accumulate at work, at home, and in our personal, intimate lives. The key is to take the time to relax, and at least temporarily put all our worries out of our minds.  Constant worry will only increase physical tension, which manifests itself in all sorts of undesirable ways; headaches, loss of energy, irritability, feelings of hopelessness, etc. – the list goes on and on.

So put down that glass of water. Put down anything that may be a burden to you right now. Don’t pick it up again until after you’ve rested a while, and can look at your problems with a rested, relaxed mind.

Michelle Sanders, A.P.C.

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