Stress #Stress Stress #DadChat

Category: Weekly Columns


The big problem of our contemporary world seems to be stress. Yes, of course there are bigger “Macro” problems, but in my life most everyone I know seems overwhelmed and drops the “S” word regularly. Wasn’t technology supposed to alleviate stress? Why has this happened? In my usual fashion, I have meticulously researched this subject and here forth my conclusions.

Stress cartoon

No, I haven’t done meticulous research, but I’ve lived a pretty long life and I am pretty observant so I will assert some opinions on this stressful topic!

Stress, much like happiness, is a choice in many cases. Like the great Viktor Frankl said, and I paraphrase, “I can’t control what happens in my life, but I can control my reaction to it.” Or, like I am fond of saying, “The only thing I control is what I eat for breakfast!”

Of course we cannot control external events in our lives. But, how we allow them to affect us is completely our choice.

Stress quote

I will give a personal example that many of you are aware of that happened to me in the world of Social Media. I became the target of some aggressive “Haters” and the recipient of some very mean, dishonest, and despicable tweets, Facebook posts, and one blog that I’m aware of. One of my son’s rose to my defense and was SHOUTED down by one of these “Haters.”

For about 24 hours, I was mortified. Then, I began to see the outpouring of support and love. The hate continued from a few people, but only a few. After one sleepless night, I chose to take this incident and learn from it. I chose to use this incident as a springboard for some changes I had planned to make but was procrastinating about. I went into action.

I had some first reactions that were BIG and foolish – the kind we make in the heat of the moment. I talked to friends I respected. I was given calm rational advice and I took it. I am now back on track, moving forward, oddly invigorated and encouraged by the love sent my way, and actually see the incident as having a positive effect.

Cartoon on stress

That was my choice. It could have STRESSED me out for days and weeks had I allowed it to.

Some stress is hard to ignore such as health-related concerns of our own or our family. Some stress is ubiquitous as we all have financial pressures now and then. And, some stress just comes with the territory – e.g. parenting.

But, we do have choices even in those circumstances. Look at how Christopher Reeve chose to live his life after his horrible accident. Look at the good he did and the people he inspired?

Stress - funny

Let’s consider this stress checklist and answer these questions any time you feel stress has got you by the …

~~ Will this (incident) pass?
~~ What can I do to moderate the impact of this event?
~~ Is there a positive step I can take or something I can learn from this thing?
~~ Am I loved?
~~ If I did do something wrong, how do I make it right?
~~ Who can learn from my story?
~~ How will I grow from this and become a better person?

Just answering these questions will put you on the path to handling most every event that creates stress in your life. I’m no Pollyanna or new-age thinking guru, but I do think an upbeat attitude translates to an upbeat and happier life.

Try it! What do you have to lose?