Thursday, 12 March 2009

Who Has Stress Today ?

I seem to have picked a particularly bad week to post my eating habits. Are all weeks the same as this ? I honestly can't remember. I thought I ate more healthily than this. The truth is we're having friction with our resident teenager. My daughter is an angel. She is thoughtful, fun , mature and kind beyond her years, gifted at school, and a pleasure to have in the house. I am VERY proud of her. But occasionally a little devil who I think is called Hormones comes to stay with her. At these times we spark off each other and neither of us can seem to say anything right, and looks - don't even think about looking at each other !!! I know everyone goes through it, but sometimes it gets unbearable. That's what this week has been like so far. Tomorrow's always another day and I just can't wait for things to settle down again !! Unfortunately it is impacting on how I cope and what I eat, and how much energy I have to prepare and plan food choices. How do others cope because I'm sure I'm not alone. I don't usually talk about it because I think I'm being disloyal, but it's not. It's just normal life. I'm reassured when I talk to others and feel a lot better when they soothe me with similar experiences they have had. It's so much easier to be open and let people help but I still feel this tug of fearing I am disloyal. Isn't life a dance ? Offsetting our own best interests and those of the ones we love the most ? I'm actually a very private person which everyone who knows me would confirm, and I'm a little frightened of spilling too much to the whole world thinking I'm in the privacy of my sitting room - just me and a keyboard. How do you strike a balance of connection with others whilst protecting the privacy of those nearest you who you share your life with ?

Instant De-stresser
This technique - I collect these things and am always grateful for new ones - was given to me by Steve my Macmillan Nurse.

Breathe. It's a breathing exercise. Breathe in through your nose . On the exhalation pay attention to what is outside your body -

  • it can be the feel of the chair you're sitting on, the heat of the sun, the coolness of the breeze, or the proximity of a loved one.
  • the sound of birds singing or conversation in another part of the room or any sound you can perceive
  • the smell of hyacinths, lilies, or coffee - whatever you notice
  • the sight of your surroundings could be brought into sharp focus- colour, texture,light and shade.
  • the taste and mouth feel of something, perhaps your cup of tea or a mint, in your mouth.

Concentrate on just one sense but give it your full attention. The theory behind it is that it overrides your brain and all the worries it is concentrating on. You overload it, and by multitasking you are forced to choose what you concentrate on. It's powerful stuff and it works. I've tried it , and strangely, I really quite enjoy the experience. It feels wonderful because you concentrate on something pleasurable ( though if you have a bad taste in your mouth it'll either make your perception of it worse, or still work, but be more a masochistic pleasure !! I don't know, and I don't feel any urge to try ! ) It is a sensuous experience and can feel like quite a luxury at a time when you may need that most. Try it out yourself and let me know about your experience . I think of it as quite akin to a gratitude journal ,but unlike a journal , as it's title implies, it's instant, takes only a moment and requires no office supplies or paraphernalia, and can be done anywhere at all. You can do it as unobtrusively as the occasion warrants, so as long as you remember it you can use it in any situation. The trick is to remember these techniques at the times of stress when you most need them. I admit that there are occasions when they would work, but my mind is elsewhere and the help is temporarily unavailable. But for when you do connect with the storeroom in your mind these techniques are invaluable, or so I have found.

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