People often say to me, “You seem so calm, all the time. You really must have no stress in your life.” I must admit, I’m terribly flattered…and also surprised.
It’s a lovely compliment which no doubt speaks to how much I’ve learned over the years about stress management and time management.
As I’ve mentioned here before, I have not been, historically, a calm person. But I think it was the fact that I so often found myself riddled with worries and anxiety that led me to the practices that have helped me become the person I am today.
If you add to that the fact that I surround myself with positive and supportive people, I think it goes a long way toward explaining what other people perceive as a calm, stress-free life.
The changes in my life didn’t happen overnight. But as I began to make better decisions for myself, I began to experience much more peace and satisfaction in my life. And these became the foundation, the basis of a question I would ask myself, kind of a barometer for making choices: What brings me more peace and a greater sense of satisfaction in my overall life and circumstances?
It’s worth mentioning here that one definition of stress is not experiencing challenging situations in one’s life, but rather it is wanting things to be different than they are. That is what often leads to frustration and emotional turmoil.
Even if we define stress as a challenging situation or life event, the ways that we perceive that event and then respond to it are largely learned. And they can be re-learned.
It goes back to what we hold on to, and what we choose to let go of. Every day, we have the opportunity to make choices that will bring greater peace into our lives, or leave us greater ensnared in chaos and emotional drama.
How we structure our value system, and how we live those values, will largely determine not only our overall direction in life, but also whether we truly are able to live well.