Resolving the Stress

man and woman sitting on brown wooden bench

When we left off yesterday, we asked you to think about those things that cause you stress and tension during the holiday season. If you did, great! This is the first step in eliminating stress – Defining the Challenge. The next step is figuring out what to do.

If you ask people about their “pet peeves,” waiting in traffic always comes up. Friends will refer to the local freeways as “slow moving parking lots.” So, there you are, stuck in traffic, inching along. Is it a situation that you can control? Probably not. Really, the only thing over which you do have control is how you react to the situation.

So how do you turn this apparent lemon into lemonade? First, it helps to realize that all traffic jams are not caused by stupid drivers. Accidents do happen. After all, we are only human. At any given moment, on any street or highway, there are hundreds of variables to consider. Now, you have the opportunity to fill the time with something productive that makes you feel like you are not “wasting” the time but accomplishing something. (And that would not mean talking on your cell phone or texting!)

Roger Moore, of James Bond fame, said that when stopped at traffic lights, he would suck in his stomach muscles and hold them until the light turned green. Roger may never have had six-pack abs, but he did have good posture. (No self-respecting Bond would slouch.) So, some folks burst into song, relieving the frustration with music. Some folks listen to audiobooks. Others do simple neck stretching exercises, which benefits the body as well as the mind.

What it comes down to is this: Is the goal to get frustrated and angry, or is the goal to get where you are going, safely, and get on with the business at hand? It comes down to the effective use of your energies. Do you spend them pounding on the steering wheel or yelling out the window? Or do you turn them toward accomplishment?

Once the goal is set, first, you relax and then you unleash that tremendous power within you to get it done. Once again, obstacles become opportunities by simply changing the way you look at them.