I wasn't sure really what to call this post.... Chapter One? No, because I doubt that I'll go in order reading this book:
I'll probably skip around and maybe I'll just post commentaries from time to time that aren't really about a chapter at all and, after all.... this won't be the only book or source I'll use in my challenge to reduce stress and its negative effects on me.
So what to name it/them? Well, I decided with just simply #3 since it's the third post on this topic (The other two are here and here in case you're just reading this and didn't see them...) and will hopefully be a series - more hope for more posts and more hope that I stick with it!!
So..... onto the topic.
I read chapter one. A lot of it was review for me. I took psychology in high school and college. I knew all about sources of stress, the fact that there really positive stresses, not just negative and about the fight-or-flight response, etc. I also knew about the life events that make stress higher and how it can affect your health overall, etc., including that MOVING is certainly a big one along with several others I've been experiencing over the last year. The first chapter did offer a chart, however, which I used to determine which chapters were probably going to help me the most as it addressed which chapters were most beneficial for particular stress symptoms.... obviously I need to read the ones that address the majority of my symptoms first.
But now onto chapter two...(The introduction recommends that I read the first two chapters before choosing on my own what to read next). Chapter two was and has the potential to be pretty beneficial. It was on body awareness. Frankly, I don't have it. Not until I am hunched over in pain from back spasms or have a major headache...though my headaches are normally from dehydration - yet another reason for developing body awareness. Perhaps I should notice that I need liquid BEFORE reaching dehydration?? You get my point. Our bodies register stress loooooonnnngggggg before our conscious minds do. Muscle tension is probably the biggest way it does this. Those of us who have particular beliefs or attitudes tend to be the ones with chronic muscular tension. Yep, that's me. Not the greatest self-esteem, always worried about what other's might think, always doubting myself, etc.... yeah, that leads to beliefs/attitudes that work themselves into chronic muscular tension. Anyone with me on that?
The chapter offers several 'exercises' to help increase body awareness. I've tried them. They seem awkward at first but I can see that if one got into the habit of doing them, it would be easier to be aware of what's going on internally.... but that will be key! THE BUILDING OF THE HABIT! - This is the same person that sets a timer throughout the day (when I think of it) to remind myself to drink water. Yes. I really do have to do that. 🙁 But I've taken the timer to be a reminder for something else now too. It's sort of a body check/relax check. It goes off, I drink my 4 ounces....and then I force myself to take a moment to breathe. Deep breathing....at least a few and to just close my eyes and ask myself: What's going on right now? Am I relaxed? Do I feel tension? Aches? What's going on around me and how is it affecting me?
I'm not keeping the diary as it suggests but I am trying to at least get a sense of how the day's events and environment affect how my body feels. It's not a great huge leap into the world of relaxation but it's a small step and that's better than not addressing it at all. I have, by the way, also started to read chapter 16 on time management. No commentaries on that today as I'm not that far into it. But this is where I'm at with my challenge so far:
1. Reading about relaxation and stress
2. Getting back into my daily prayer/devotion time.
3. Making time for writing. (So far it's just the blog here but I have reached out to my critique partners and have goals of getting back to my children's writing within just a few days if all goes well....)
4. Drinking my goal of 64 ounces of water a day This may not sound stress related but it is! Part of my issues, I believe, is that I don't make time for me....taking care of myself physically, emotionally or spiritually...so I need to set these things as priority! Let's face it. Dehydration doesn't exactly HELP alleviate stress. With that, I weave in some deep breathing and attempt body awareness.