Another mentor (thanks Amy!) forwarded me the following story over a year ago and I’ve held on to it knowing I just might need to reflect on it from time to time:
A psychologist walked around a room while teaching stress management to an audience. As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they’d be asked the “half empty or half full” question. Instead, with a smile on her face, she inquired: “How heavy is this glass of water?”
Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz.
She replied, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, it’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn’t change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.” She continued, “The stresses and worries in life are like that glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and they begin to hurt. And if you think about them all day long, you will feel paralyzed – incapable of doing anything.”
It’s important to remember to let go of your stresses. We have had one heck of a winter and the blahs can really take a toll on some of us. Here at Child Care Answers we have seen an increase in calls requesting technical assistance for challenging behaviors…this can be very stressful for early childhood educators. It’s tax time, another contributor to our stress! I saw there’s more snow coming Wednesday…stress! It’s only Monday…stress! The list goes on and on and on…
Television actress and author Marilu Henner said, “Being in control of your life and having realistic expectations about your day-to-day challenges are the keys to stress management, which is perhaps the most important ingredient to living a happy, healthy, and rewarding life.”
American philosopher and psychologist William James wants us to change our thinking when we begin to feel stress, “The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.”
As early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Ask yourself if you are being realistic and consider alternative responses to the stress you are feeling. Don’t carry your burdens through the evening and into the night. Remember to put your glass down!