Here lately I have been extremely busy with work, family and life in general. Seems I have been stretched in too many directions and that is a lifestyle I am committed never to remain in. Now there are times in life that are busier than others, but if we are not careful those times can become our lifestyle rather than an exception to the way we normally live. In fact for many of you business and stress is the norm for you and the abnormal is a slower natural achievable stressless pace. That should not be your norm. It is bad for your health and your success, not to mention it’s detrimental to your family.
A few days ago I received a text message from a good friend that pointed out that I had not been as creative as I normally am. Yesterday in our staff meeting one of our staff members said He had not had time to think because he had been so busy and I thought to myself, yep me too. Monday of this week we filmed our first of 4 T-Rob videos for Summer Spectacular this year. (yes I know some of you do not know who T-Rob is) During this time I was at a creative loss and found myself relying on those around me for ideas rather than being a contributing factor to the whole process. These were all signs I needed to slow down and rest a bit. Stress had taken over.
That’s nice right?… But when do you know that you have slowed down enough? How do you know you have rested or slowed down enough to regain control of your life to the point stress is no longer active?
Here are a few signs I go by. Some of yours may be different but I am willing to bet most of these fit everyone.
1. When I laugh again.
Yes, when I find myself chuckling again, making jokes and just having a good time. Last night at a swim meet was when this kicked back in for me. I chuckled, laughed and made jokes, some of which were not understood… but thats ok. People that laugh are relaxed and have their life in balance. Those that have trouble laughing and smiling take life stressfully seriously.
2. When depression, worry and being overly self critical no longer plague me
People that are doing to much or stressed struggle with what people think of them. The reason is their bodies are trying to crash after the adrenaline rush they have been on (as a result of stress) and continue to be on. So they feel like no one likes what they have done or they enter into a depressive state of mind that says no one “values them”.
For those who preach this is why you feel this way when you finish a sermon. The sermon wasn’t good enough or it could have been better, happens because we have rushed to get the message prepared and ready at the last minute. Then we deliver it only to be disappointed about it after it is over. This is also the reason why Pastors want to quit on monday morning. They are coming down off of a stress high and haven’t taken the time to recuperate. A pastor who is not stressed is one who prepares ahead of time for his message, trusts God for the delivery and steps down afterward looking forward to the next time he gets to be part of another divine moment. It’s when monday comes (or Sunday afternoon) and there is no sign of resigning on his mind at all. A pastor who is not stressed is also one who has control of his schedule and doesn’t allow a bunch of things to schedule him.
3. When creativity comes back
When I start spontaneously creating new ideas, including ideas to communicate in a creative, I know stress has left and balance has set in. This does not apply to everyone, but there is something that happens to you that is similar in this regard. I’m just not sure what that is…
4. When my spirit is calm and in a ready state.
The fact is your brain can block you from filling stress when you are under it. The term calm here is the difference between your brain blocking stressful feelings and you actually being de-stressed. When the brain blocks the feeling of stress you feel numb to the impact of stress on your body and soul, therefore your brain has made you think you are not stressed by numbing it’s emotional effects on you. However the opposite is when you have a feeling of steady confident calmness. You are not uneasy, nor numb, instead you are secure and ready. When you truly feel calm you have moved beyond stress into a state of calm readiness.
5. When I no longer snap at the smallest things
When I no longer snap at my kids, my wife, the driver that doesn’t understand road signs or can multitask as well as they think they can ( it’s amazing how many people can’t drive the speed limit and talk on the phone at the same time). When the little things don’t bother me at all and the bigger things really don’t stress me out either (see #4) I know I have rested enough, taken a break long enough, slowed down enough to move beyond stress and it’s impact on my body, mind and emotions.
Last night all 5 of these became part of my experience and continue even now. It is not that I do not have things to do, (because I do and always will) it’s that I’ve come to the place where the pressure to get things done is no longer functioning in stress mode.
So there are the 5 ways you know you have moved beyond stress… “the thoughts for today”…. what are yours?
Comments below are welcome.