And the Day Goes On…

STOP.

Stop.
Take a deep breath.
Observe what’s happening inside emotionally and be aware of what’s happening around you, then
Proceed.

In the past, a morning like mine could have ruined my whole day…well at least part of it anyway. Starting with the fact I was out-for-the-count sick yesterday and only stomached a bowl of chicken soup all day long. Waking up at 5am after a day like that is rough. Moving slower than usual, I put on my layers and headed out the door for my mile walk to the bus stop. In the snow. (Uphill both ways…). I had to run the last 5 blocks to make it there before it pulled away, almost slipping along the way. Twenty minutes into the ride, the bus breaks down. And we stay stalled for more than 15 minutes. And now I’m late for work. And I’m hungry.

It’s nearly impossible to go through your day without stress. Work, kids, commuting, and even the thought of tonight’s WOD (hello butterflies) all bring about types of stress. Generally, stress comes from two different areas.

Stress manifests itself from both externally and internally. External stress, such as work, toxins, relationships, injuries and school are the day-to-day occurrences that “impose” themselves on us and influence our mood, energy level and motivation. The internal stress comes from inside of us and determines our body’s ability to respond to (and deal with) the external stress: elevated heart rate, sleep patterns, hunger, hormone fluctuation and attitude.

So, I stopped to take a deep breath and repeat to myself, “It’s out of my control, so don’t let it ruin any more precious minutes of your day.” I proceeded with my plan of attack for the day and listened to some tunes. And by plan of attack, I mean a detailed to-do list for work and my workout.

We’ve all heard it before: stress directly affects our health. “75% to 90% of all doctor’s office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints.” And, according to the American Psychological Association, 75% of people in the United States “feel stressed out”. Almost half of us eat unhealthy because of it and 47% of us can’t sleep because of it. There is so much out there taunting us to cause anxiety these days, I hope we all also remember that breaking a sweat can help you rewire your brain for happiness. “According to some studies, regular exercise works as well as medication for some people to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, and the effects can be long lasting.”

Now, no one can be mindful in every stressful situation, but the more you practice it, eventually your default emotional setting will be easier to control. And since life has a way of testing us (a lot), practice “S.T.O.P.” (get your WOD on) and see if that helps your reaction to the situation.

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