Posted on : May 15th, 2018
Stress is in the news today! The American Psychiatric Association reports that a large proportion of Americans feel anxiety for a variety of reasons (finances, health, politics, personal safety, relationships) and that number has gone up by 39% in the last year! This is actually a public health concern as high stress is correlated with high rates of heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s Disease and even infertility! So taking time to deal with stress is a really important undertaking.
Interestingly, the Almond Board has recently been posting about ways to be happier and healthier by “Owning Your Day.” Their most recent post included an interview with Victoria Arlen, a Paralympian and motivational speaker, who lives by the motto “Face It. Embrace It. Defy It. Conquer It.” When Arlen was 11 years old, she contracted two rare viral diseases that left her in a vegetative state for four years. The experience left her trapped in her own body, unable to move or communicate, but she did regain consciousness and then spent many years relearning how to speak, eat and even swim. She eventually qualified for the London Paralympic Games in 2012 and won one gold and three silver medals. Now she is an ESPN correspondent and was recently an inspiring semi-finalist on “Dancing with the Stars.”
Talk about overcoming a stressful set of earlier experiences! So let’s take a look at Victoria Arlen’s approach: “Face It. Embrace It. Defy It. Conquer It.” To me that means don’t run from what’s worrying you through drugs or other escapist activities. Instead acknowledge what’s going on with the intention to do something to improve your life. There are things we can change and things that are beyond our current control. Bad things happen but that doesn’t mean it gets to control the rest of your life! We can embrace our ability to do what IS in power to do! We can imagine what we’d like to achieve, set goals and game plans, and make the commitment to move forward on them, even if it’s just a single step each week.
But we can’t be in push harder, push harder, go, go, go mode ALL the time! Because most of us are stressed about long-term, ongoing issues that will take persistence and faith over the long haul to overcome (as well as things that we can’t do anything about, at least not yet or not alone), we need to rest, eat right, and find something to enjoy about the present day! Yesterday is gone and tomorrow isn’t yet known. But today, in this very moment, things might actually be quite good . . if we stop long enough to pay attention to it. Or make sure we have plenty of positive present time moments to pay attention to!
Speaking for myself, having plenty of positive present time moments to enjoy and look forward to is essential. So sometimes I take Victoria Arlen’s advice:
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