Judy was feeling so entangled with her stress; she asked me; Is this stress going to be permanent?
What would you answer if you were me?
You may say, nothing in life is permanent. If circumstances are painful, they pass. If they are enjoyable, they pass too.
So what is your best option? Accept whatever is and do the best within your circle of influence. Some challenges in life come from outside you and others you create due to your reactions. You don’t have control of external stressors, but you can influence how you react.
You are feeling more stressed because you think that your life challenges are never going to end. Let’s consider these stressors as traffic lights on the road of life.
Traffic lights are sometimes frustrating, yet they help the flow of traffic.
Sometimes you get all green lights, and you drive along smoothly.
Sometimes the lights are yellow, and you have a choice. Push that accelerator and get through if you are close to the intersection, or slow down for a brief stop.
Sometimes the lights are red, and you have to stop for a short while and then move on.
Occasionally, the lights aren’t working. In that situation, the traffic jams. Usually, external help is needed. You need someone who can direct the traffic, ease the jam, and allow the traffic flow to resume.
No matter how bad the jam, things start flowing after some time.
The bigger the jam, the longer it may take. It depends on;
promptness of response,
the cooperation of people, and
the effectiveness of the techniques that are used to direct the traffic.
All these factors help people go from stuck to unstuck and allow them to get on with their lives.
Let’s use this analogy to think through different times in your life.
- When the lights are green, life is going smoothly. There are no significant problems or challenges. You feel happy. It is time to strengthen your emotional muscles and build resilience.
- When the lights are yellow, you are facing some challenges in life. You get through by either; accelerating your efforts or slowing down.
- When the lights are red, you need to stop and regroup. Increased stress, illness, or loss may have made you stop. Life cannot continue “as is” for a short time. You must stop what you are doing, assess your situation, then make some choices to change your situation.
- When the lights are not working, life gets jammed. A catastrophe may have occurred. A significant loss may be causing substantial disruption in the flow of life. You get stuck; everything is chaotic. You can’t seem to figure out how to get unstuck and cope with the challenges. Those are the times to ask for help. A professional can help you and guide you through your challenges.
Judy’s situation wasn’t horrible; she was just overwhelmed with the usual demands of life. She needed to slow down and assess the situation. She made some changes in her expectations and felt better.
What is the color of your traffic light at this time?
Is it green, yellow, or red? Has it stopped working altogether?
Enjoy if its green, slow down if it is yellow, stop for a while and seek help if it’s red or malfunctioning.
Know that no matter what color is your light, it will change. No matter how big the challenge, it will pass, and you will be able to continue your journey on the road of life.
I hope this analogy helps you. Let me know what you think.
Dedicated to your health and happiness,
look for The Stress to Joy® online course coming soon to Stress.org