Every single day we are faced with choices.
We chose toast or cereal; to let someone else in when the traffic is bumper to bumper; just one wine with dinner. A lot of these choices we make without putting too much thought into – we choose what we know. Is choosing what we know disadvantaging us though?
Could your choices be better?
So I’m not talking about what you have for breakfast. We’re all (pretty much) adults here so you do you girl, eat the ice cream if that makes you happy. What I am talking about is how we choose to react to stress and trauma, how we observe ourselves in the face of adversity, and what we decide to do when the emotions have passed. When you can’t find a carpark at work in the morning and you choose to allow it to ruin your whole day, you are choosing to be the victim. Stop playing the victim game, and instead decide that you are a creator
(look, I created a new carpark in the hospital garden). When you stop being the victim, and start being the creator, amazing things happen. You regain control.
What should you do with stress?
Stress is something that is inevitable. In small doses, stress can in fact facilitate better performance, especially in athletes, creative professionals and individuals working to deadlines. Unfortunately, sometimes the doses of stress we encounter are not something we have power over – what we can do though is choose how to deal with it.
One of my current personal struggles and life lessons:
If you can’t change it, stop stressing over it.
Now I’m going to be really honest – I am an expert in stressing. I stress to the point of physical symptoms. But what I try to remind myself of every day is if I can’t change it, stop stressing over it. It’s going to 30° and I hate hot weather and I am not going to be able to sleep, how stressful! Well, you know what, I can’t change what the temperature is so stressing is pointless. Sure, it makes my anxiety brain feel good because it thinks it’s doing something about it, but we need to understand that sometimes doing just anything is not in fact helpful. Tomorrow I am going to wake up in the morning, the sun will be shining,
I will have icecream for breakfast and it will be another amazing day to be alive.
Post Traumatic Growth
The last thing I want to talk about is post traumatic growth. Sometimes stress can be incredibly severe, and is caused by an extremely frightening or dangerous event – this is called trauma. Trauma is something that can be tricky to recover from, and often results in a mental illness called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Healing through this is individual and personal, but something that seems to popping up in studies worldwide is ‘Post Traumatic Growth’. In summary, it is the growth and transformation that occurs during and after recovery. Post traumatic growth is a choice, and can happen years and years after the initial event occurs. You must choose to allow a terrible experience to facilitate you becoming a better person. It’s vital to understand the event was not your fault, and individuals who have experienced post traumatic growth have attributed it to being open about their experiences and recovery. Allowing other people in results in an increased feeling of acceptance and support, which facilitates positive transformation. TALKING. IS. IMPERATIVE.
Research shows this growth can lead to:
- More compassion for others experiencing trauma
- Increased self respect
- Advances in personal strength and resilience
- Heightened spirituality
- More meaningful relationships
It’s your choice
It is estimated that 2 in 5 Australians experience stress every day. So why are we surrounded by victims instead of creators? One word – choices. You have the power to chose whether a computer ruins your day, or whether it’s an opportunity to remember that you are alive and things aren’t that bad. Remember that today.