How Do You Spell Stress Relief?
We all know that stress is a huge problem in developing nations and that we need stress relief. Our lives are very stressful, and stress causes a lot of health problems. It makes us more susceptible to whatever virus is going around, it makes us tired, and it makes it more likely that we will get lifestyle illnesses, like heart disease and cancer.
When we try to find stress relief, we learn stress management techniques that help us deal with stress. We learn lifestyle management techniques, like time management or organizational skills, to help prevent stress. We learn to live a healthier lifestyle to ameliorate the effects of stress, but we rarely talk about stress relief.
Stress Relief is Counter-Cultural
We don't talk about stress relief because it's counter-cultural. We're kind of proud of being stressed out, because if we have a lot of stress, maybe it means we're important. We have lots of responsibility and people who depend on us. We're stressed because the world can't operate without us.
We don't talk about stress relief because we'd have to ask some hard questions and examine the basic assumptions of a modern lifestyle. We might have to think about why a six-figure American executive is more stressed than a Columbian coffee picker, who barely makes enough to keep body and soul together. We might have to challenge the assumptions that we have to work harder and longer to keep up, and that we have to have a certain lifestyle, a certain level of affluence. We might have to challenge the assumption that something bad will happen if we fail to provide everything our families and we want.
How Do You Spell Stress Relief - Margin
Margin is a concept introduced by Dr. Richard Swenson in his book, Margin. Having margin means you don't fill everything up to the very edges. A page of writing with margins is easier to read because it's not filled up. The white space is necessary, and without it the text is unreadable and useless.
Our lives work the same way. The stress response is supposed to be for those extraordinary times when we need extra energy, extra alertness because we are faced with a threat that takes more than we have to meet it. Our stress response goes off all of the time, because we don't leave anything in reserve for those emergencies.
We fill our time up, and when one of the kids gets sick and has to stay home from school, we are stressed because we have to figure out how to add taking care of a sick child to an already maxed-out schedule.
We spend our bank accounts down to the last penny, and when the car breaks down, we are stressed out because we have to figure out how to pay for repairs. We even fill our leisure time and our vacations up so full that there is no room for impulsively or for taking advantage of something unexpected.
The stress response is supposed to be for emergencies, not for the unexpected events of every day. Everything is an emergency, however, you can't leave any reserves for the unexpected this way. Perhaps the Columbian coffee picker has less stress than a six-figure executive, because he works hard for ten or twelve hours and then goes home and rests. If his kid gets sick, he stays home and takes care of him. He doesn't have a car to break down, and his own two feet are pretty reliable transportation.
The only way to get stress relief is to back off and give ourselves a break - to introduce margin into our lives. We get stress relief by leaving blank spots in our schedule, by saving more and spending less, and by leaving time, energy, and resources in reserve so that not everything is an emergency. You spell stress relief, margin.
Add to Favorites
Add to Del.icio.us
Send to a Friend