Stress Saved my Life

We are a mere few weeks into the new year.  How is your stress level?

Here is a great TED talk.  I love TED talks.

"Kelly McGonigal: How to make stress your friend." 

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.

Lean INTO the storm.

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