Friday, May 13, 2011

All I Wanted Was A Diet Mt. Dew!

I went to the 7-11 to get a Diet Mt. Dew. It had been a very long day at that point. The cashier asked if I would be interested in buying a snack, which I did. Then, upon leaving, and feeling great about my purchase (particularly the Mt. Dew), I heard a loud high-pitched voice. I turned to see a scene of a mother yelling at her toddler child for not sitting on the ground while she browsed the movie section. I saw two other children, who I assumed to be hers also walking around. She appeared distraught or frustrated or a combination of the two. As I opened my car door, I began to wonder what that mom had experienced that day. By no means was I judging her for her actions with her toddler. I can't imagine the toddler enjoyed being yelled at, but I've been in her shoes...a long day at the office, grading lots of school papers, and returning home to disgruntled children and me wanting to "blow up." The amount of stress and anxiousness she must have been feeling was apparent in her body movement, her facial expressions, her actions with her child, etc. I can imagine her body is being flooded with stress hormones and adrenaline at those times, and that over time it will wear down her body, her capacity to think and react in a rational and emotionally constructive manner. It sounds exhausting. I only say this, because I have felt it before, just as most of us do. Rather than focus on the moment, though, I would wonder what might help this woman to feel more calm generally, so that when stressful moments come her fuse is not shortened. Some thoughts come to mind with how to deal with day-to-day stressors. Most of them are behaviorally and cognitive in nature.

1. Organize and prioritize: I know that we all have many responsibilities. Organize them and prioritize them according to importance. Sometimes, even important things need to be put aside for a time. Trust me, the world will not stop turning if we can't get everything done NOW.

2. Ask for help: Life becomes overwhelmingly stressful when we feel alone. I wonder who that woman had to turn to for help. At times it requires a little bit of creativity to provide ourselves with respite, even if it is only at night when the kids are asleep. However, there is usually someone to turn to. Some examples are having friends to trade off with for babysitting when needed. Family members, church or club members, etc. Find someone.

3. Take time for yourself: This is something that is not done enough in society. Life is too busy. Give yourself time to slow things down and take a few moments to read a chapter in a book; call a friend; write in a journal; drink a soda (or something else you like--preferrably healthy); or write a blog!

4. Self-inventory: Make a list of the things that you say to yourself or mutter under your breath regarding yourself. What is positive and growth-promoting? What is not? Negative self-talk must be replaced.

If you have any other ideas, share them in the comments section.


Kenneth said...

Jamison. Change item 3 from "Give yourself to" to "Give yourself time to".

Lawdawg said...

Kenneth. You are hired as my unofficial editor. Thanks for that!