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Why are we all so STRESSED OUT?

It gives me some small comfort that pretty much everyone I know is on drugs.  Prescribed medications, of course.  Mostly.  I even joke that we should have someone at the door where I work, standing to the side like a WalMart greeter.  I envision them holding a platter with colorful pills of blue, yellow, pink and green, offering whichever flavor the incoming customer prefers.  It would just make everything so much easier if EVERYONE were on medication.

That said, when did we all become so stressed out?  Mental illness has been around for eons and ages.  People have been axe-murdering each other since forever ago.  But I have to wonder if it wasn’t television that gave us all the big boot into modern day neurosis.

From what I’ve read and in my own non-professional understanding, back before World War II we didn’t all realize that the guy next door could potentially be a serial killer.  We were all sort of content to smile at one another and believe the best in our neighbors.  Once war images started being televised, society realized that there was some ugly stuff going on in the world.  Not that we were really oblivious to the dark side of life, but maybe not aware of its reality on such a large, worldwide scale.

Nowadays it seems everyone is on something just to handle the craziness of everyday life, and social media isn’t making it any easier to maintain one’s sanity.  Seems like any stupid thing you do might be subject to millions of viewers on YouTube if you happen to be in the vicinity of someone with a cell phone, which – let’s face it – is pretty much everyone.  And the constant play by play of a life can wreak havoc on the mental condition of anyone.

My advice in a crazy mushed up world?  Think about what you WANT, and remember what you’ve already DONE.

* Think of the best case scenario for the day and hold that image in your mind.  Yesterday, for example, I was feeling punky, and I imagined myself out on a lake, just floatin’ on a boat.  Improved my mood immediately!  Did I get to go out on the lake?  No.  But seeing myself there made my body relax and set my mind at ease, so that I was better able to deal with what was right in front of me.

There are waayyyy too many of these kind of lists:  “I should have”; “I ought to”; “I didn’t”.  We all beat ourselves up over the littlest of things, because there are always so very many things to be doing.

* Keep a journal (I use an old unwanted book someone was tossing out, and use colorful Sharpie markers to write all this down) for your new lists.  In one column or page write the things you’d like to accomplish for the day:  Grocery Shopping, Pick up Dry Cleaning, Wash the Car, etc.  In the other column or page, write down what you actually accomplish that day.  Include little things like: Treated myself to lunch on the river.  Took the dog for a long walk.  Finished that short story I’ve been putting off.  Washed some dishes.  Took a long bath. bubbles 3

We tend to berate ourselves for things we DON’T accomplish instead of praising ourselves for the many things we do without thinking about it.  Try to remember and include all the awesome things you took care of today.

Will this increase your performance and efficiency?  I don’t care!  The fact is, being nice to yourself will probably give you a longer life expectancy than beating yourself up over a less than perfectly organized house.

Just my thoughts on how to be Accidentally Happy with just a little effort.

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Accidental Happiness, stardate 5.12.2010

 

My sister warned me about this month.
She came home from shopping one night with a case of light beer (with a twist of lime…yum) and said “We’ll be alcoholics for the next three weeks”.
“Alllright!” was my response.

Her job started up a project that she knew would be tedious, horrible, infuriating, stressful and time consuming. Not to mention mentally taxing and exhausting. So we popped some beers, and have been doing so since.

But Mercury went retrograde recently too. And although it just aligned itself (yesterday), for the last several weeks life has been a challenge. People arguing at work, miscommunication among the people who work and the people they are working for (or against). Unhappy, confused patrons who would rather yell than understand policy. It’s been a tense month.

Add to all of that the recent suicide threat that I went through last weekend, and am still going through now. Because what might have been a flippant comment from someone who needed a shoulder to cry on has now blown up into discussions with supervisors, heads of departments, and my own friends who I have to lean on when these kinds of things stress me out.

Because I don’t mean to get stressed out about things. God I’m creating my own little mantra and catch phrase just so I can remind myself NOT to worry so much. But I’m tender, you see. And despite my tough cookie outer shell, that is crunchy sweet with no calories, I’m really a big moosh pot inside. And I get all worked up when other people are involved in drama, trauma and despair and try to bring me in to the mess.

So today’s little surprise was truly welcome. Into my cubicle comes a young lady carrying a sort of suitcase and she says, “Would you like a sample from Jimmy John’s?” She’s offering me a teeny free sandwich. Surely she is unaware of the lousy week and month I’ve been having. Surely she is unaware of my tense frame of mind and my wishy washy mental state lately. Certainly she is unaware that food makes everything more fun for me, and here she is offering me a sandwich for no damn reason.

“Awesome!” I say, and eagerly consume the little buddy.

And while a teeny tiny sandwich may not right the downward spinning world, and won’t save the life of the person who might go ahead and kill herself, and won’t keep me from truly becoming an alcoholic by next month…it did brighten my day significantly. So thanks Jimmy John’s (I’ll be by soon!) for making a gloomy day brighter. You were definitely my Accidental Happiness of the week!