positive stress

Wait, what?!?

The word ‘stress’ has always held such a negative connotation for me. And 95% of the articles and conversations in my life, that have been read, heard or participated in, have all been regarding the negative side of stress – distress, as some refer to it. It has never crossed my mind that there could be a ‘positive’ type of stress… until today.

I happened to be glancing through a backlog of emails, and the subject of one was ‘positive stress’. So that is the first one I read, of course! 😉
The official term for it is ‘Eustress’. It is defined as being ‘a positive form of stress having a beneficial effect on health, motivation, performance, and emotional well-being‘.

The good stress is the kind that is nerve and hormone driven – it has to do with excitement, even if we are stepping into the unknown. The list of triggers for this kind of stress is very long, and as I read through them, I understood another statement I had read just moments earlier.

The statement was this : ”Many times good stress itself turns bad… because instead of continuing to challenge ourselves in a healthy way, we often tend to overwhelm ourselves by placing unrealistic expectations on ourselves, even though we know our resources are limited.”

One of the triggers for ‘good stress’ was ‘taking on a project that will help you showcase your strengths, which will not only bring you professional satisfaction, but many positive reactions in your emotional well-being too’.

My first reaction to reading that as being an example for eustress was a firm shake of my head. Because it didn’t happen that way for me at all! And as I pondered my reaction, I reread this statement : ”Many times good stress itself turns bad… because instead of continuing to challenge ourselves in a healthy way, we often tend to overwhelm ourselves by placing unrealistic expectations on ourselves, even though we know our resources are limited.”
And I realised that THAT was in fact what had happened to me in my situation!

In my late twenties, I had been offered an amazing opportunity to use my talents and head up a new project that my current boss was considering taking on. It would mean a lot of research, but I was going to be able to not only draft the presentation, but actually present it myself, to a group of influential people in that line of work. I hardly slept that night because I was just so excited, and the ideas swimming around in my head were ‘Olympic quality swimmers’ 😉
By lunchtime the next day, I was sick to my stomach, and convinced my heart was gearing up to fail me.
In our meeting of opportunity, my boss had actually been the one to fail me. He’d handed me the Dessert, before showing me the full menu!

The presentation meeting had already been scheduled – I had three days, start to finish!
None of the presentation work could be done during working hours, as I was already busy all day, handling all the administration for his other three businesses – this included payroll and bookkeeping etc. I was newly divorced with an eighteen-month-old baby girl, and an eight-year-old son, with no child care options available to me.
Eustress escalated quickly into distress. And by the time the meeting arrived, I was physically ill as a result of lack of sleep, and, well, ‘bad’ stress.

And at the end of it all, I was not only physically ill, but unhappy emotionally too – I knew it wasn’t my best work, I was disappointed in myself and felt inadequate…. and my confidence definitely took a knock.
I suppose the lesson in my personal experience with work stress was simply this : to know myself, to be realistic about the resources I have, and to learn to speak up before I get overwhelmed (or overwhelm myself, I suppose).
And, in all honesty, it would serve me to remember to apply that to all areas in my life 😉

I’ll close with this little list, which was provided as ways to include/introduce more positive stress in your life :

• Make an effort to learn something new every day – even if it is something small
• Get out of your comfort zone – try taking on a new challenge in the ‘great unknown’.
• Boost your positive endorphins by getting some exercise!
• Start delving into ways to set realistic, yet challenging, goals and try a new way each week, growing these over time.

And that’s all from me for today ❤
I’m off to spend some time on the new course I signed up for 😉

What are the odds that you’re awesome?

I don’t listen to podcasts – well not really, anyway. And it’s not just a personal thing.

My children love apples – but only the Granny Smith kind, and so there’s always a few on the kitchen counter. When they complain that there’s ‘nothing to eat in this house’ (usually in reference to nothing that they consider worth eating – no sugary substances or other such junk food – and I know you have this problem too), I am able to point at the apple supply with satisfaction and a murmur of, ‘see? you won’t starve’!

But those are the only ‘apples’ in our house.

I don’t know the exact year, but after asking a few friends, and based on my own knowledge, I think Apple only really became popular in South Africa about 6 years ago. And over here, if you have an iPhone, you’re pretty much top-notch.

As I mentioned above, I am only top-notch with my endless supply of Granny Smith Apples. 😛

I discovered midway through last year, due to a friend sharing a link to a ‘must hear’ podcast with me, that my computer can actually access these, despite it not being Apple related. Since then, I have listened to a few. The thing is that they don’t really ‘work for me’. I can’t get on with my day while I am listening – I need to give it my attention and a lot of times I want to be able to make notes to remember things that are important to me. When I half listen and wash the dishes, I can’t make notes… and I miss a lot.

I need to connect. I need to see you talking to me. Somehow words work in written format for me – I am able to connect. But if you’re telling me something important so that I can grow and be a better me, then just hearing your voice isn’t going to cut it. I need to see you. So the better option for me is always video – thus YouTube is my ‘go to’. So now the point of this blog post (gosh, yes! I took a long time to get here!) :

I watched a YouTube video the other day and something that was said has been on my mind ever since. (Thanks, Mel Robbins!) I did check what I heard and saw, and there were tons of other equally astounding odds in relation to this.

“Scientists estimate the probability of your being born at about one in 400 trillion.”

 

Wait, what???!!!!???

^^^Read it again^^^That’s a BIG number, and those odds are mind blowing!

Now I totally get it when someone has gone through experiences in life that has robbed them of their self-worth. I totally get it that sometimes life is hard, circumstances are devastating, peace feels like it’s only ever going to be a sign from the 60’s.

I totally get it because I have experienced it first hand. I sometimes still do. Life ain’t perfect, and neither am I. We can’t control everything.

BUT …. 1:400 TRILLION ???

COME ON! 

Your existence is extraordinary! It surpasses all known human or natural powers. You’re a miracle that breathes! 

You ARE awesome!

And the next time you begin to question why you ever born… or someone else questions it and tells you that you shouldn’t have been – that you are unwanted and unworthy? PLEASE remember the above! Because with odds like that, there is DEFINITELY a reason for your birth – your life definitely serves a purpose!

It doesn’t matter what you’ve done, or where you’ve been, or where you’re at right now. It doesn’t matter what other people tell you, or what you have been led to believe. 

It matters that you let the above sink in, and take a chance to make a change, if need be. Put in that little bit extra… because YOU’RE WORTH IT! With odds like that, stop underestimating yourself!

Go and be the awesome ‘you’ that you are!

Hearts Cry

A lengthy post.. but worth a read. Not all sunshine and happiness – sorry! I’ll do better next post!

 

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I sure am trying… but yesterday, my morning wake up didn’t even allow for time to smell the coffee. Because there wasn’t any. For four hours. No electricity, and no water.

Further to Monday’s post, let me add this :

There is a schedule for loadshedding. Provided to us in an attempt to help us plan ahead. The electricity cuts fall into different stages. So for example, if Stage 2 has been implemented, you can check the schedule for your area and plan around the hours that you will be without electricity. It’s great – if and when it works.

Yesterday – Tuesday, (in case I don’t get this posted today) they jumped between stages without advising anyone, until after they had switched the electricity off. There was no time to prepare for it. So yesterday, in a space of 14 hours, we were without electricity for 8 of them!

For the first time ever (loadshedding has been happening on and off for many years now), there has been a stage 6 implemented. Things just got serious. Stage 6 means that 8 hours of the day without electricity needs to be expected.

What needs to be understood is this : the tension and total failure in this country is already at dangerous levels – loadshedding is adding to an already highly sensitive situation, and things are looking more than grim.

I always giggle when ‘foreigners’ are not aware of the state of things here. I don’t expect any of you to be. Speaking with family in the UK, and my ‘sister’ in the US, I am well aware that a lot of the time there is a media blackout of sorts with regards to most issues. And who wants to sit and troll through the awful crime and failures of government in other countries when their own areas are enough to deal with.

The other reason I am so ‘well educated’ with regards to other countries (other than the having family and a best friend living overseas) is that I do a lot of homework and research because if I ever get out of this country, I need to be well aware of where we are going, for my children’s sake.

I made a comment on someone else’s blog post, that I think is fitting to share here, and now. Please understand that I am under NO illusion that ‘the grass is greener on the other side’. EVERY country has its issues and nowhere is paradise – unless humans have never found it. But I will say that the severity of our issues is a lot less than what my family and friends overseas face. And this is factual – not just based on hearsay. The countries and places I have investigated are numerous – of course I always start with crime statistics and the types of crime committed. But I also do lengthy research in the form of reading their local online newspapers. It’s not all stored in my head…but I know where we wouldn’t go 😛

Getting back to that grass….

I saw a sign the other day, and I had to laugh. (Although it’s sad when you think of it…but there’s definitely a funny side to it.)
The sign said, “The grass is only greener where you water it.”
I didn’t laugh at the sign as such… I laughed because at the time I didn’t have any water in my taps. How am I supposed to water the grass? Another thought popped into my head… our water is contaminated a lot of the time and municipal advisories are to not drink the tap water in my area – so if there is water and I water the grass? Pfft.

As much as I research other places to live, I avoid our own news. I no longer watch it, and I refuse to buy a newspaper. Our local paper was giving away free copies a month back, and my son got one – and dumped it in the trash after the first three pages. His comment? “Not one good thing. And now I’m more scared.”
I have Facebook – and our local community page is enough to upset and anger me. But I can’t stick my head completely in the sand – I need to know what is happening around me for our safety. Especially considering that most of the things never make actual news.  Every now and then, the radio news catches me. I listen with one ear, but sometimes have to mute it. I know my daughter did the same the other day when they were reporting on yet another baby that had been raped and she said, “Sorry, but I just can’t listen to this stuff anymore.” (My cousin runs a safehouse/children’s home, and we have held and poured love out onto a nine month old baby who required extensive reconstructive surgery due to this very thing, and will have a colostomy bag for the rest of her life…so it hits very close to home for us every time we hear reports of this happening.) 😥

Yesterday, I heard an economist speaking about loadshedding and its impact on us, and this morning I had a look at what he said in a broader light – ie. I went to look at some financial reporting.
Basically our economy is facing its second recession in two years. Mines have had to shut down. Everyone is already financially drained – businesses that are not corporate cannot afford generators and so no electricity means a halt in productivity, which means an inability to generate income, which means difficulty paying staff – forget about business running costs. A local man, someone I am acquainted with, committed suicide last week due to the financial pressures. He’s not the first this year, and I think that the way things are going, even though the year is nearly up, he won’t be the last 😦

Please forgive me for feeling despondent and frustrated and sad. And angry. All of which are emotions that are ridiculous when you take into consideration that they are all because of things that are completely not within my control. But I’m feeling them anyway. And I’m struggling a bit.

It hasn’t robbed me of my joy completely. And I am very grateful that for now the children and I have what we need and we woke up this morning, safe. So I know the negative emotions are a contradiction… but I can’t help feeling them. 😦
And yes, I have been a victim of crime – but the angels were working overtime and my protection was in place. I’ve been stabbed and robbed on a beach walk – saved from worse by fishermen nearby who heard my screams. My home has been broken into – and I live in the centre of a secure complex (a gated community with electric fencing all around). I am grateful we were not harmed – the stuff they can have. I don’t have much anyway.

I’ve never been a material person. In fact, it’s always been a standing joke : Show Meg a brochure without prices and she’ll still somehow love the cheapest things in it. That even applies to jewelry. It’s hilarious. I guess I don’t have expensive taste 😛 But what I really want most in all the world is the most expensive thing – strange huh? I want out of my country.

Whatever you believe, here’s my hearts cry almost every day…..

Dear God,

I know it’s all about timing, but I am asking anyway… and I know that nowhere is ideal… but please can we move overseas? Please make a way where it is completely impossible and unattainable for us. Please.

I want my children’s education to MEAN something – I want them to have a future.

We want jobs that will provide for us.

I want our lives to mean something.

We don’t want to live in fear anymore.

We don’t want to be where human life has so little value – where petty theft is no longer just that.
Where people are killed for the few coins they have on them.
Where rape and murder are everyday occurrences.
Where even the ‘good and previously safe areas’ are areas of violent crime.
Where the sexual violence rate is one of the highest in the world.
Where babies are raped due to a ‘virgin cleansing myth’ that this will cure men of AIDS.
Where a house break in when people are home almost always involves rape, torture and murder.

That’s what we want. The timing may not be right. I get that.
Thank you for your complete protection this far. If this is where we have to be, please continue to provide and protect. Please.

And please help my heart to stay filled with joy. Please help me to continue to be kind to those around me.

Amen

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