• Stress management tip: Change is a marathon, not a sprint

    March 14, 2017 | curtrosengren

  • [Back to How to stop stressing so you can change the world]

    With so many things going sideways in the world right now, it’s soooooo tempting to be hijacked by the call to Make! Everything! Better! Right! Now!

    But here’s the reality. What’s happening right now isn’t going to change in one fell swoop. If you want to counter this, if you really feel called to be a voice to counter the madness you see going on in the world, you have to stay in it for the long haul.

    You can’t shut down. You can’t burn out.

    To be a force for good for the long haul you need to take a strategic, multi-faceted approach. Those interrelated facets include:

    Self-care: Physically, emotionally, or spiritually, taking care of yourself on a consistent, ongoing basis is vital. You are literally taking care of the equipment you will be using to change the world.

    Stress management: This means proactively working with various aspects of the stress experience. Think of it as asking these questions:

    • Can I change the source of the stress? Keep in mind that the stress in your life isn’t solely from what’s happening politically. Anywhere you can dial down stress in your life has a positive effect on the whole picture.
    • Can I change what I focus my attention on? Too often we inflame the stress with our own self-inflicted suffering. We insist on fanning the flames of what outrages us and ignore the beauty and goodness that exists simultaneously alongside it. You can remain aware of the darkness without losing touch with what is uplifting and inspiring.
    • Can I change how I respond to the stress? This is the direct engagement part of stress management. Whether you use breathing practices, questioning your stories, physical exertion, or any one of a bazillion other ways to reduce stress in the moment, it’s helpful to have a stockpile of techniques that work for you.

    Pace: If you try to sprint to the finish with this, you will fail, fail, fail! This is a marathon, not a mad dash for final results, however urgent it may feel.

    In a nutshell

    Bottom line, taking a long-haul approach is about taking care of yourself, not getting mired down in an addiction to stress, and recognizing that you need to set the pace of your action and expectations at a marathon level, not a sprint.

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