As a Texan, there is a part of me that is deeply devoted to the fall. For one, it is the end of another brutal summer. Second, it is also the kickoff of the football season. The latter is signified by an HBO show called, “Hard Knocks.” Essentially, cameras go behind the scenes of an NFL team during training camp and the viewer is invited to see all the nitty gritty action that happens off the field. This season, a well-established veteran visibly shows his displeasure at the lack of effort that his teammates are giving. So, he takes it upon himself to let the team know his true feelings. Now, I’m not advocating for a rant, but he does say something that caught my ear – and I’m editing – “the lazy effort and bad attitudes are contagious.” He then repeats this over and over (in fact, I’m sure there are memes trending right now about this scene).
I thought about what he said and felt that he had a solid point. Unfortunately, bad attitudes, poor work efforts, lack of direction, change in jobs, and difficult relationships, can be contagious. Sometimes it can feel like they just pile on – resulting in an overwhelming feeling of stress. We have all been there before. The work is piling up, school schedules are back in full swing, time with loved ones becomes mechanical – all of this can wear us down. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts to keep it together, our body keeps the score.
Stress can show up in the following ways:
- Chronic pain
- Changes in libido
- Digestive issues
And the list goes on and on….
We are built to survive and we learn to adapt to stressful situations. Many times we deny that things are stressful. Or, we avoid those stressful situations altogether. Or, we carry our stress like a trophy – bragging about how much more stress we have than the next person!
But, we can take a different approach – we could use the stress as an impetus to change. First, we could take a moment, every day, to dwell on something good. It sounds simple, but it works. Also, notice I use the word, “dwell.” Take some time to marvel at something and practice acceptance and gratitude – beginning with yourself.
You can do this by taking a walk, moving your body and activating your endorphins that help to naturally work as painkillers. Or, practice some mindfulness techniques like breathing and emptying out the daily pressures of life.
Finally, reach out to someone. It is ok to feel stress and it is perfectly natural. In fact, 7 out of 10 adults experience stress daily. However, just having someone that will listen, offer unconditional positive regard – free of judgment – helps. Therapy can help identify potential unhealthy coping mechanisms and develop a healthy ones to use instead.