COPING AND STRESS

“Don’t sweat the small stuff.” Keep in mind that no one escapes ‘coping,’ but what you choose to do about it is entirely in your hands.

Life deals us it’s resistance to who we are, or what we think we want at the moment.

As babies, if we are hungry, we learn to wait until food arrives, and it begins, the pattern of learning to cope until we get the desired effect. Oh, we complain, sometimes loudly, until that need is met. By and large, it becomes a way of life, always wanting something beyond our reach. For some, it is learning to speak with a lisp, or being satisfied with curly hair when you envy straight, or recognizing you aren’t intelligent, but you are smart in the commonplace.

Growing up often challenges our coping with what life has dealt us. Our goals keep changing with our needs at the moment, but  we all have goals, and that’s a good thing. It’s how we get there that makes us constantly cope.

As adults we become more complacent, having studied or worked to whatever we feel is our lot in life. At that point we begin to realize that we are still coping. It may be with an unsatisfactory job, or an unhappy marriage, or the challenge of raising children, but the need to cope is still there.

It shows itself in day to day problems: making ends meet, saying the right words at the right moment, meeting all our responsibilities. On a higher plane there is the climate change, the threat of war, the flu epidemic, the violence that afflicts our nation.

There are many places we learn to cope, some big and some small. Somewhere in the scheme of things there comes the recognition that everyone, no matter how rich or poor, how educated or uninformed we are, we always remain coping, trying to make the best of the life we are given. Someone once said, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” It is a truth that we need to live by. Change what you can and COPE with the rest in your own comfort zone, knowing some problems don’t go away, but even they, often diminish with time.

Stress is a big factor in the coping mechanism It often manifests itself in shoulders held tight and high, in dryness of the mouth and throat, in  stomach cramps, and a myriad other symptoms that feel real to us, but never seem to present themselves as other than annoying complaints.  There are different ways to reduce this type of stress. Meditation often helps, as does getting away from the source of your problem with a few minutes of exercise each day, or beginning some new creativity such as gardening, painting, or playing or listening to music. You may have to just take a five minute walk, or sit in the fresh air and sunshine for  few minutes to break the chain of coping, and to begin to free yourself from its grip. Take those few moments to change your life. Remember, you are worth it.