Posts tagged ‘stress’

Think About It Thursday: How Uncomfortable Are You?


I think it’s funny that certain subjects/ideas/quotes sometimes seem to come up for me around the same time of year.  I discovered I posted about this almost exactly 2 years ago:

Metaphysics Monday: Are You Uncomfortable Yet?

I’ve really been thinking about this again.  Do you feel comfortable?  REALLY comfortable?  If you do, that may not be a good sign!

Oftentimes discomfort comes from reaching the edge of our boundaries, from stretching farther than we ever have before.  It can feel pretty awkward — even painful!

But then, once we make it through that boundary, extend that wall, we have more space.  We are freer.  And this continues until we completely break through all of our walls, until we no longer have any limitations.

So, how comfortable do you feel now?  Is it time for a little stretch?  I’m telling you, it’s worth it!

“Slow Down!”

Image courtesy of zirconicusso /".

Image courtesy of zirconicusso /”.

Presently all of my life experiences are  telling me to slow down/ de-busy-ify/stop and smell the roses, etc.  But as long as I can remember I’ve kept myself busy, moving.  It’s a tough life lesson to learn, and I’ve been resisting it.

For example,  it was a “slow” day at work today — The perfect opportunity to practice slowing down, right? — and I couldn’t handle it.  Instead of letting off the accelerator and coasting through my activities, I kept myself busy.  I picked up a broom and swept.  Multiple times.  I wiped counters; I grabbed carts that could wait; I rushed crammed in as many carts as I could at the end of the day.  Why so frenetic, Teri?  What’s the rush?

Yesterday I was late for almost every appointment I had.  I was incredibly stressed about the first one, and yet I proceeded to be late for each proceeding event.  Strangely, I felt I had no control over it.  It was like I was on auto-pilot, disconnected from myself and watching in amazement and horror as I re-lived the same mistake again and again.   What was going on?  I figure I was squeezing too much in.  And it was compounding to the point that I had lost control.

Now I’ve finally noticed that I’m so accustomed to rushing around, that I’ve unconsciously been visualizing rushing around. Before I go to sleep, as I’m planning out my morning, I actually see myself rushing around the house, flying from room to room and sweeping my lunch bag, book, water bottle, and study materials into the whirlwind that is me, as I put Bowser away in his crate and fly out the door.

I cram every minute of every day with something.  I take classes, I add tutoring students, I do homework, I go to events.  While driving I listen to my intuitive reports, practice with the holiday concert recording, and do metaphysics exercises.  I find myself contemplating what to squeeze in while I’m waiting to punch in to work, waiting for my next tutoring appointment, or waiting for my food to be ready.

What would it be like to be bored?  I sometimes wonder if that’s what I am afraid of.  Or maybe it’s something deeper?  A memory pops into my mind: I’m a kid, and I hear a friend talking about how bored she was the past weekend, and I remember thinking “Oh, not me.  Never me. I’m never bored.”  So is that it?  Am I afraid of being some kind of bored loser? Does being busy make me feel important?  Or is it more  of a metaphysical issue, that I am afraid of  quiet . . . of simplicity . . .  of nothingness. . . (of everything-ness?)   What would happen if I were just . . .  still?  What would it be like to have nothing to do, nothing on the agenda, nothing in the works?  What would it be like to let it be and not fill in the blanks with work/projects/visits/chores/homework/Facebook/e-mail, etc?

How about you, out there?  Are you a void-filler, too?

Here’s my plan for this week:

  • First, notice the needs to squeeze.  When I have those extra minutes, am I using it as a nice traffic buffer for my commute?  Or do I feel the need to squeeze in one more metaphysics exercise or check my mail?
  • Second, take those 15 minutes to just be.  Instead of pulling out my phone to make a phonecall while sitting at that red light, how about I just sit there at that red light?  Instead of trying to read my lesson while standing at the time clock, what if I just stand there at the time clock?  I can relax.  Breathe.  Notice my surroundings.  Feel what it’s like to be inside my body, and feel what it’s like to still my mind.
  • Third, take a good look at those big events and commitments.  (Proper perspective!)  No more tight back-to-back scheduling.  Or, in positive form: leave lots and lots of space! Allow myself to just relax,  linger.  Maybe I chit-chat a little with one my tutoring parents or a random stranger.  Maybe I sit outside for a bit, if it’s warm  Maybe I read or journal a bit. . . or maybe not. Maybe I just sit.  There’s no rush.  There is time.   I have an abundance of time.  (Affirmation alert!)

This lesson is a big one. (I think I’ve been working on this one since fourth grade!)  What have you been learning this week?

Free Form

"Wooden Path Walk To Tropical Forest" courtesy of Keerati /

“Wooden Path Walk To Tropical Forest” courtesy of Keerati / 

I’m afraid if I don’t post today that I’m not going to post at all.  So this is the “suck it up and post” post.  I’m not really sure where to go with this. . .  let’s see.

I’ve been thinking again about what direction to take with my blog.  I know I want it to be positive, but I also want it to be real, and sometimes things feel tough, and I do feel it in those times. But at the end of the day, I want a pick-me-up.  As much as I like my melancholy songs and commiserations, it’s dangerous for me to stay in that mood for too long.  Sometimes it consumes me.

I have some issue with nervousness/fidgety-ness/I don’t know what-ness.  Like I can’t be still.  And my hands can’t be still.  And then my skin or my hair take a beating.  (Is that better than nail chewing or nail picking?  Probably not.)

I’m very angry and unhappy lately, and I think that’s because I’m still working a stressful job AND have the added stress about what is going to replace it.  And, of course, before that, the worry of what I’m going to do this summer.  I have not worked a single summer since college.  It’s not that I don’t want to.  It’s just that I’m not used to it, and it freaks me out a bit.

Sometimes I imagine myself going at it and working my life away at 3 jobs (as some have to do).  And then I think I’m probably crazy.

My students always surprise me.  Sometimes I love that.  Sometimes I hate that.  (Depending on which way they surprise me.)  Today some students from one of my generally  more focused and hard-working classes were repeatedly goofing off to the point where I wanted to write them up (and may have to next time).  I was stressed about it for the next hour.  (I don’t know if I was more stressed about their behavior or more stressed about not writing them up.)  On the other hand, some of my most difficult tutoring students have been fantastic lately.   I once had to psych myself up to see them, and now I’m looking forward to it!

Sometimes I really feel like I’m making a difference.  Sometimes I’m like: “Yeah, it’s a good thing I’m here doing this.”  Many times I feel like I’m just trying to survive.  I feel so lost.  It doesn’t help that my routine has slipped — daily blogging, daily exercise, daily vitamins . . .  out the window.

I think one of these days I’m going to look back and appreciate all that I’ve gone through.  I will be in a better place and I will have arrived.  I’ll see the path for what it was.  In the meantime, it’s time to pick myself up and to get myself back on track.

The Best Part of the Past is That It Is Over

"Milky Way Constellation" courtesy of koratmember /

“Milky Way Constellation” courtesy of koratmember /

I’ve had a few rough patches this week.  But I’ve had a bit of a break through.  When the stress-inducers had passed, I felt myself thinking: “It’s over.”  It dwells in the past only, only alive as long as my mind makes it so.  Step 1: Continue along this path.  Step 2: Find a way to make the present more pleasant.

Since I’ve Been Gone

“Woman in Discomfort” courtesy of David Castillo Dominici /

I miss spring break.  And my week of happiness. I really do.  I had thought it didn’t feel different.  I thought this week went by quickly.  And it did.  I was surprised by how quickly this week actually went by.  But the stress has been crazy.  My face was almost completely clear last week, and this week it is destroyed. Make-up free?  Not a chance now.  Sunday evening and Monday morning I was overwhelmed with the mounting anticipation of the week, exhibited through stomach-clenching stress and undulating tremors of fear.

As usual I had worked myself up way more than was necessary, but I couldn’t believe what a difference I’d experienced between last week’s in-the-moment week and the never-ending constant stress and fear of this week.  Am I exaggerating?  Yes.  But there was a noticeable difference.

I did have some great moments this week that helped me appreciate teaching.  An activity that went well.  A bond made with a student.  A compliment from another.  For a while I questioned why I wanted to leave teaching.  And then the weekend hit, and I became obsessed with worry about grading and planning, and that’s when I remembered a big part of why I didn’t want to be a teacher anymore.

I’m scared now.  I don’t know what’s going to happen with me.  With my life.  I thought about music therapy.  Now I’m considering dance/movement therapy, and I’m still interested in different types of healing.  But my doubts plague me.  I know I could be excited about all of this.  I should be excited.  The last thing I need is to be attracting more fear in my life!  But even when I can shut off my own protective, critical voice, I hear concern in the voices of others.  Why would I consider leaving a job when I’m not sure of its replacement? Isn’t this a bad economy?  Don’t I need money?  Education costs money!  How will you get by?

Everything will be fine.  I know it will.  I will not join the panhandlers near the highway (although I’ve imagined discussing it with them).  I will not starve.  I will find a way.  I know that I should appreciate what I have.  I also know that I can’t settle for what I have.  I have settled for years, trying to reason and work through the unpleasantness until the unhappiness consumed and corrupted every piece of me.  I will not fall into that trap again.  Nor do I want to leap from the flame to the blade.  I will be happy.  It’s time to move on.  But where?  And how?

Today’s Inspiration (brought to you by Buddha and Powered by Intuition)

"Tired Businesswoman" courtesy of Ambro /

“Tired Businesswoman” courtesy of Ambro / 

“Each morning we are born again.  What we do today is what matters most.” — Buddha

(And each moment — in that moment — is what matters most, too!)

I saw this is in my Facebook stream, and it really hit home.  I’ve tried to observe my thought processes lately, and I realized that I spend an awful lot of my day worrying.  Worrying! Which we all know is completely useless.  Why on Earth do we do it?

I am hardly ever in the moment lately.  If I am in the moment, it is often about how unhappy I am at that moment, and then I carry that displeasure on to the next activity.  Or if I am happy in the moment, it soon gives way to a nervousness about what is to come next.  This is no way to live!

Which leads me to another Facebook quote from today: “You are what you believe about yourself.” (

I’ve noticed that I can “trick” my feelings a bit into feeling something different from worry, if only for a short time.  If I am dreading the day or the next session, I try these: “This is going to be a great day!” or “I can’t wait to work with this class!” or “I can’t wait to work with this student!” or  “This will be awesome!” I can actually feel a lift in my face and my head when I think it, and sometimes that attitude has given my day a complete 180!

What it all comes down to over and over again is that I THINK TOO MUCH.  Unfortunately, I am not an android, and I cannot simply shut off my emotions — though I wish, I wish, I wish I could!  I may not be able to control my emotions, but I don’t wish to add to them.  Freaking out about getting freaked out is only compounding the problem.  My goal is to take on the role of the interested observer, to look upon myself — at my emotional and bodily reactions to situations — as if from a distance, and to give myself the ability to relax and let go.

Takin’ it Back

"Happy Girl Jumping" courtesy of Stuart Miles /

“Happy Girl Jumping” courtesy of Stuart Miles / 

Sometimes you just need to get away.   Mini-vacations are great —  you don’t go very far, but you can get out of the house — they are really just as good as a “real” vacation because they still give you that breath of fresh air, that badly needed change of perspective.  This weekend I got a great taste of that when we drove up and visited some family friends for our annual pizza/movie/game sleepover.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was a completely different person while I was there.  And by different person, I mean the real me.  I was dancing around to my own imaginary beat, smiling, laughing, and playing.  I was happy.

Besides the overall wonderful time I had with everyone, I had a particularly fulfilling conversation after breakfast.  Everyone was sharing about jobs (some venting involved, of course), and we got around to me and my jobs.  Here I was, out of the situation I was in last year, but feeling similar unhappy feelings.  What had gone wrong?

Well, there were multiple theories and suggestions on the subject, but most important of all were these ideas that I took from it:

Life is about the journey; live for now.  I should be working so that I can live, not living to work.

I am the type of person that loves activity.  I need to make fun activity part of my life.  And I like a variety of activities.  I sing karaoke; I’ve been in orchestra; I like to read, to draw, and to write; I’ve been in theater; I bike ride; I walk, I do yoga, and I Zumba; I go to book club, have game nights, watch movies, and like to hang out with people.   I NEED to be able to do what I like to do.

So, when my job takes over my free time, I am extremely unhappy.  I need to go back to karaoke on Tuesday nights.  I would like to rejoin orchestra.  I need to start reading again and writing every day.  My friends and family said that these activities are my light; they fuel me up to face life.  And I’ve been double-punishing myself lately by dropping these fun activities and replacing them with extra work that is unpleasant and energy-sapping.

Well, today I start making time for these things.  I’m writing this blog, then I’m going to work out to Zumba.  Then, I’m going to hang out and play some games with some good friends.  Unjust self-punishment is over.  I’m taking my life back!

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