At the Cameron Wellness Center we commonly do simple physical exam techniques and certain blood tests that indicate how modern stress is affecting our patients. It is of great interest to us that the number of folks tending toward negative physiological responses to stressors is dramatically increasing…and has been for the past 4 years.
Stress in America
Recently, the American Psychological Association published a survey entitled “Stress In America.” Eight major stressors were ranked. Among them were presidential debates and elections…hhmmm, roughly 4 years ago.
It would seem, at that time, the volume knob on the stress meter was CRANKED UP! It sure is noisy out there!! As a way to assess and temper the stress response, there is an exercise that we suggest our patients take seriously. On an evening when it’s not too crazy at home, take paper and pen and write down every stressor that comes into your head until you can’t write anymore. Don’t judge, just write.
Put that paper in a drawer and forget about it. In about a week, take the paper out, get another piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. On one side the heading states “stressors I can do something about,” on the other, “stressors I can’t do anything about.” Try your best to categorize them and throw the papers in the drawer and forget about them. In a week, categorize again, increasing the accuracy of your second list.
On the “I can do something about” side, that’s where you delegate and negotiate. For example, “honey, I cooked tonight will you do the dishes?” or “I’ll do my laundry, could you do yours?” or “this project is intense, can we work together? I’ll tackle this, you work on that.”
On the “I can’t do anything about” side, you become the island in the storm. Those of you who have had appointments with me (Todd Cameron) will undoubtedly remember my dedication to the Five Agreements; ancient Toltec wisdom as taught by Don Miguel and Don Jose Ruiz.
These simple, timeless guidelines will change your life, but you must practice them every day. Eventually, your virtual reality (we ALL create a virtual reality) can be transformed toward a more positive experience in life versus a negative one. We can spend much more of our lives being the island in the storm, diminishing the negative effects of stress if we simply:
- Be Impeccable with our words
- Take nothing personally
- Make no assumptions
- Try our best
- Be skeptical, and learn to listen
BUT…we need to understand what these REALLY mean…and this can take years (as it has for me). With a few finger punches, you can download a brief summary, a one pager, of the Five Agreements. Please, do it now. AND, NEVER, EVER, EVER GIVE UP!