My spiritual director asked me how I was coping with several stressful situations I have been experiencing recently.
My first reaction was to reply, “I’m not dealing with them,” but a moment’s reflection led me to realize that, in fact, I do cope with stress much better now than I did before.
I’ve come to see that not all stress is bad – a healthy dose of it keeps me alert and ready to cope with challenges.
A good deal of my stress management, I think, is simply due to being older and understanding that some challenge or neuralgic issue is (probably) not going to be life-threatening or otherwise disastrous and so it is better to deal with it as best I can and then let the chips fall where they may.
I’ve also learned to appreciate my own company more and to go off alone to my room where I can sit and think and pray in silence. It helps me find calmness and clarity.
Helping others to work through their own fears and anxieties, I’ve found, is another good way for me to deal with a stressful situation. In helping to put a situation into perspective for others, I find comfort for myself.
And, yes, I do also sometimes still react to stress in less healthy ways, with excessive eating and drinking and even napping too much, but, all in all, it’s gotten better.
How about you?