I mention stress as I have a stress-related story.
Back in the mid 90's I was stressed, so very stressed. I made a choice to leave an unhealthy relationship, running away from a wife and 2 children. The problem was I couldn't outrun my problems, and I didn't have the skills to deal with the turmoil of emotions I was experiencing. As a result of shouldering this stress, I ended up needing surgery on a shoulder, so that the blood in that arm could flow back to my heart. I now know I could have learned how to breathe, how to relax, how to shift my thoughts.
Clearly, I did not learn the lesson. In 2008 I had a pair of heart attacks five days apart. The second heart attack put me into a hospital bed for 5 days having all the heart-related tests imaginable. Why did I have a pair of heart attacks? I WAS STRESSED. At the time, I felt overwhelmed, out-of-control, and with no options.
Life's second kick in the ass finally helped cement the lesson -- I began to take baby steps of taking care of myself physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Stress is inevitable for most of us. How do I handle stress now? I lean into it. I tell myself: just accept the situation. i assess myself. I determine what must be done. I determine what I need to do. I then lean into what needs to be done. If it's not working, I start at the beginning again. Lesson learned! I now know that I can only ever control my own thoughts, and my actions.