Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Stress

I recently found myself carrying all my tension around with me.  I carry mine in my shoulders and in my chest.  Not good.  I discovered I was doing this when I went to visit my doctor for my annual check up and realized before the doc came in to check me that I was practically holding my breath.  Now I work in a hospital so doctor offices do not cause me any stress.  I do not care one way or the other about needles so that wasn't it.

However, I have a lot of other things in my life right now that are very stressful right now.  I have two major projects that are both in a hurry up and wait state.  I do not like things that leave me with a sense of incompleteness.  On going projects are fine but these are projects that require a major life transition and I feel like I am not making progress the way I would like, thus, the stress.

Sitting in the exam room I took several deep breaths and calmed myself.  Forgot about what I needed to do for the day.  Got rid of the lists and the tasks and the hurry.  And I especially got rid of the "wait".  Deep breath.

I did not stop thinking about everything I narrowed my thoughts to one thing.  At first my breathing and then a single topic that makes me happy.  First was the visualization I use to get away from things.  A secret place hidden away in my mind.  I used it a long time ago when I was a teenager and had trouble at home.  It is a very calming scene.  After a little bit I started thinking about some martial arts training I have been working on lately.  Again, it was relaxing to me.

By the time the nurse came in to get my vitals my blood pressure was down to 106/68.  Lower then I have had my BP in quite a while.  I have been working out more and I have been trying to eat better but this was a pretty good number for me still.

If nothing else, this exercise reminded me that a little time spent in meditation or prayer can help separate us from all the stress of the day to day.   That sometimes it is needed and not just something we should do every once in a while.  Time in prayer can also serve this purpose, and in fact, might even be better if you believe in that sort of thing.  Just relax, breath deep, and listen. 

Give it a try.