I'm currently in a business communication class. One of the readings my professor assigned us this week came from the Harvard Business Review. If you've ever visited the HBR website, you know that they run on a subscription system. They give you three free articles before you need to pay to access future articles. It's a little expensive to subscribe, and I usually bookmark more articles than I finish, so I never bothered. Unfortunately though, when I traveled to the site for class yesterday, my free article supply was already depleted. During the only time I really needed access to the website to do my school work. Shit stressed me out.
My access is limited because on Monday I went down a rabbit's hole that left me without any free reading left for my school work. Ironically enough, the article that piqued my curiosity was called To Handle Stress, Build Your Resilience. The publishing of which coincided so perfectly with me taking on yet another obligation -- when I'm already too strapped for time -- that I considered the merit of synchronicity in the universe. Just as I started to feel the stress in earnest, my solution got handed to me. At the same time, it lent me more stress. But I read the article top to bottom, so I should be able to handle that added stress, right?
Honestly, I'm the one who tricked myself into thinking that the solution to one of life's biggest problems would be handed to me in an online article. Then I thought about it a bit, and realized I have a pretty good grasp on my stress, as defined by the article. The article illuminated some healthy habits I have to deal with stress.
For me, stress management comes down to a constant willingness to work on myself, and my craft. Those are the things that stress me most when I don't do them. So I make them a priority. I set goals for my fitness, nutrition, blog, novel, and education every week. I don't let those things slide. Those are the things that build me up as a person. They are the source of purpose and confidence in my world. They are the must-haves. When all those boxes are being checked off, a major stressful component is taken out of the mix.
Funnily enough, writing that list alone is my most stressful task most weeks. Putting in ink my vow to myself that all of those things will be taken care of is so concrete. In my mind, once it's in print, I can't go back on it. Which is powerful. It took me about a year to get myself committed to doing it on a weekly basis. In doing so, though, I realized that from there it's all momentum. Simply dedicating myself on paper is a catapult forward into my week. Facing that stress allows me to put the rest of my stressors in perspective.
Another factor for me is that I'm always ready to write. My limited experience writing has shown me that, if I turn my whole world into a creative wellspring, then it is easier to approach stressful situations. Allowing them to inform my work allows me to enter these situations with resolve in my belly. No matter how uncomfortable it might be, I'm constantly reminded that I will learn from the experience. I'm reminded that most uncomfortable moments will leave me with new material for my passion project. With that approach, I can take on stressful tasks with a clear mind.
Sometimes the stress gets to me, though. It manifests itself in unexpected moments. Moments where my waking mind is so tired, or so distracted that stress can find its way into my primitive brain. Usually, for just a moment, I feel it there, triggering ancient reactions that are ingratiated in my nature as a modern monkey. In those moments I can feel the link to the past reverberate inside of my head. Yet I don't see those reactions as failures. Just as I learned through struggles with my writing, I am learning that hardheadedness is both a flaw and a saving grace for me. Because I'm too stubborn to ever let myself feel as if stress has control over my life, I'll always fight for supremacy of it.