January 29 2013 Editor Assistance Newsletter
I do have a few pending email from editors, so if you're waiting on something from me, I will strive to get to it by tomorrow. My son visited last weekend and somehow gave me the flu, so my brain isn't quite working smoothly :). I want to heal up a bit before I offer advice or work through code fixes. I feel a bit like a zombie right now.
That makes this the a perfect time to talk about stress management! I'm in week four of six of my Stress Management course at Northeastern. The book has covered quite fascinating studies into how biology and hormones and such all affect our stress levels, and how stress then damages our body. It's important to take stress seriously. It's not just "in our head". It does cause physical damage to organs and such. It's worth investing time into handling.
This week's reading examined that stress is not "caused" by the world - it's a result of how a given person *views* the world. So one person could hit Event A and have no stress at all. Another person could hit Event A and be extremely stressed. It's about that person's perception of the threat and their own coping ability.
So the book had two sets of suggestions.
First, it indicated that it's nearly impossible for a person to "control" their thoughts. If anything, the more a person tries to squelch a thought, the more energy that thought is receiving and the more it is branded as an "important thought to remember" by the brain. So the more effective technique is to acknowledge the thought, accept it's there, then find something else to do. Watch a fun movie. Dance around. Motion helps, because it involves more brain-involving body parts and the brain pays attention to them. If the thought comes back, that's OK. It's natural. Accept it, and then once again focus on your fun activity. The more one practices, the easier it gets.
Second, the book laid out a six-part system to help create a buffer against stress, to prevent the stressful reaction from happening in the first place. These are:
1) Solidify your values, and write them down. This is the "priority setting" exercise we've been doing in the forums. If you haven't done that yet, come join us!
2) Accept the things out of your control. It doesn't help to be angry or upset about those things. Just accept them and then move forward with the things you *can* control. If it's raining, it's raining. See what you can do with that rain.
3) Set clear goals. This is also part of our forum thread system. Once the priorities are set, find clear, measurable goals that move in service of those priorities. Break them into small, easy to understand steps.
4) Be mindful. In a given situation, focus on that situation. Appreciate what it has to teach you. Find the beauty in it. Be in that moment.
5) Step back. The world is rarely going to come to an end. Whatever is going on, it will pass eventually. Think of the larger picture, of what a tiny piece of history this one day is.
6) Accept that change is natural and normal. Change is the way our universe works. Change brings a seed into a flower. Change brings a caterpillar into a butterfly. Each day, appreciate the change and look to see what it is bringing you to next.
Come on by the various forums on Stress Management, Life Coaching, and the related areas to join in our threads! Just one little step can bring a substantial change in stress levels.
Lisa Shea, owner
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