Undress the Stress: Day 1

Today was the first day of my 6-week Stress Management class.  I think it’s weird that I’m taking a Stress Management class because I am probably in the top percentile of least stressed people in the world.  But I guess since stress never really goes away, you can never be too good at managing it.  Am I right or am I right?

Class discussion today was basically an introduction to the course and the professor.  Both seem pretty great so far.  The first and most obvious question she proposed was: What is stress?

The concluding definition we came to was something like “pressure caused by various responsibilities and outside sources that can cause unwanted physical and mental effects.”  I was actually surprised to hear some of the physical and health effects of stress, from TMJ and ulcers, to cancer and in the most severe cases, death.  I’m still finding it hard to believe how directly stress can affect us physically and mentally.

Another point made today is that the physical and the mental are the same.  Your outlook on life, and the way you handle your various stresses, will carry through to the physical aspect.  Being calm and positive makes you less prone to the physical damage that stress can bring.  And in that respect, the physical and the mental really are one.  More specifically, that “one” is you.

I can’t wait to learn from this class.  We’re going to learn meditation techniques, which I’m really looking forward to so that I can enhance my daily morning meditation/stretching routine.  We are going to learn about confrontation and how to have effective, useful confrontations.  Generally, I think we’re going to be learning about how to be more positive about life, something I think everyone could be a little better at.  I hope to share a lot of these lessons with you guys.  Just trying to share the wealth.

Last but not least.  We were asked to keep a nightly journal of the stress we feel in our daily lives; where it comes from, how it makes us feel, the way we chose to deal with it, etc.  I considered being the average college student and not doing this journal until the week before it’s due, but then I realized that I really want to learn something about myself.

The purpose of this journal is to keep record of daily happenings, in hopes that at the end of the 6 weeks, I can pinpoint the cause of stress in my life.  Maybe I’m the reason I’m stressed out.  Maybe there’s a person in my life that is sending me negative energy.  Maybe I’m not even stressed out.

Hopefully I will find a pattern of negativity, or the source of all this unnecessary stress.  And so I guess I’m choosing to publicly keep this stress journal (it shall be an angry one I’m sure) because I want to keep it honest and real so that the results are best.  Here goes.

Day 1.

  • Study abroad paperwork.  I woke up to not one, not two, but THREE e-mails from API Study Abroad about my financial information, billing statement, and post-acceptance paperwork.  It was a whole lot of reading, a whole lot of money to deal with, and about fifteen documents to read, print, sign, fill out, e-mail, etc.  I filled out as many papers as I could at the time and got several done, so I felt accomplished, but since none of that was on my agenda today I felt like I wasted a lot of time that I needed for other responsibilities.
  • Internship.  I woke up early to get work done for my internship, but after seeing those e-mails from API I kind of put the work on hold for an hour or two because it stressed me out that there was so much paperwork to deal with.
  • Study abroad form.  This is another document I’ve been dealing with for too long now.  It’s been passed around to offices all over campus since the beginning of September and is still not completed.  What stressed me out about this is how time consuming it is to need several people’s signatures, who are not always available.  It stressed me out that this paper was signed by the wrong people, and A LOT of miscommunication went on in the process of completing it.  I shed a few tears because I was extremely overwhelmed by every person I went to sending me to someone else.  It was endless.  Then I took a deep breath, made a list, and started one by one.
  • Lack of sleep.  I feel a lot of stress from lacking sleep.  And I haven’t really dealt with this one yet because I guess the only solution is sleep and I have yet to have any.  A temporary and horrible solution I’ve come up with is coffee.

Today was not a good start.  Normally I would have one or two minor causes of stress a day, not three major ones.  I guess right now it’s because I’m dealing with deadlines for this study abroad program, and it’s much harder because a lot of people are involved.

I have to say that I already learned something about myself, and what I need to do about it.  Most of the stress I felt today was caused by outside sources that I have no control over.  If this continues, I would think that I need to be more patient especially because dealing with this paperwork needs patience.  My need to get things done as soon as possible makes it hard for me to sit around and wait for others to pick up the pace.

Here’s one way of dealing with stress:

I wouldn’t recommend it as a permanent solution, but today I think I deserved it.


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