Cutting Off Anxiety at the Roots (repost)

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This book I’ve been reading, Daring Greatly, talks about two different kinds of stress responses: in one case, people try to manage their circumstances such that all the stress is organized, prioritized, and handled. The other group of people try to seek root causes and remove the problems that cause the stress. The example Brené Brown gives is people who save time at the end of every night and beginning of every day to handle all their unread emails, versus people who make it clear that they may take a while to read emails and delete all unnecessary ones without responses.

I must admit that in everything from cooking to home care to work to gardening, my habit is to try to minimize impact, not eliminate stress from the roots. Something I’ve always felt under my actions was a belief that I should be able to deal with all the things that get thrown at me, and changing the rules of the game (i.e. asking people to email less!) would mean some kind of failure. But I’ve seen how less-stressed people are, and how their lives look more like a celebration than like a failure.

It makes me think that some of the things I need to do in the coming year should have to do with root causes: rather than constantly making time to scramble and cook in the evening, finding a way to enjoy the nights of take-out and also budget weekend time for meal prep. I want to plan our garden ahead of time but also modulate my expectations – we are lucky and our garden is for fun, not for sustenance, so there’s no reason to let it cause me stress. Even little things, like the ways Husband talks about keeping the house neater and more tidy, I need to put in perspective: even he tells me how when he talks about changing our house care, he’s talking about himself doing more, not about me doing more. It’s a good thing to be reminded that some stress is caused by our unrealistic expectations of ourselves, not by externally imposed strain. Now, to remember this next time something doesn’t go my way… It’s always a process!

Cutting Off Anxiety at the Roots

IMG_4212

This book I’ve been reading, Daring Greatly, talks about two different kinds of stress responses: in one case, people try to manage their circumstances such that all the stress is organized, prioritized, and handled. The other group of people try to seek root causes and remove the problems that cause the stress. The example Brené Brown gives is people who save time at the end of every night and beginning of every day to handle all their unread emails, versus people who make it clear that they may take a while to read emails and delete all unnecessary ones without responses.

I must admit that in everything from cooking to home care to work to gardening, my habit is to try to minimize impact, not eliminate stress from the roots. Something I’ve always felt under my actions was a belief that I should be able to deal with all the things that get thrown at me, and changing the rules of the game (i.e. asking people to email less!) would mean some kind of failure. But I’ve seen how less-stressed people are, and how their lives look more like a celebration than like a failure.

It makes me think that some of the things I need to do in the coming year should have to do with root causes: rather than constantly making time to scramble and cook in the evening, finding a way to enjoy the nights of take-out and also budget weekend time for meal prep. I want to plan our garden ahead of time but also modulate my expectations – we are lucky and our garden is for fun, not for sustenance, so there’s no reason to let it cause me stress. Even little things, like the ways Husband talks about keeping the house neater and more tidy, I need to put in perspective: even he tells me how when he talks about changing our house care, he’s talking about himself doing more, not about me doing more. It’s a good thing to be reminded that some stress is caused by our unrealistic expectations of ourselves, not by externally imposed strain. Now, to remember this next time something doesn’t go my way… It’s always a process!

Mindful Eating in a Rushed World

Today, I’m grateful that someone else is cooking – namely, the school cafeteria. Many of the people at the school where I work gather for lunch on Wednesdays, and it’s a wonderful morning when I don’t have to, in a tizzy, see if there are leftovers in the fridge. I didn’t appreciate at all what I had going for me as a child and when attending college; other people made my food, and I didn’t have to spend hours a day making or thinking about the food I would eat.

No lie, I love taking time to cook (really, you think?) – I think mindful cooking is one of the most wonderful experiences, when you are letting your worries go and thinking about food as a nourishing part of life. The problem comes when cooking isn’t mindful at all – you don’t really have time to cook anything so you choose something fast that doesn’t nourish you well, or you cook something with resentment in your heart because you wish you weren’t so rushed. No one can help having these times once in a while, and I’ve had a lot of them lately with school starting up again.

However, the one nice thing about experiencing these difficult moments of non-mindful cooking is that it makes me so much MORE mindful when I have time to sit down to a meal prepared by someone else. The folks who work at our school cafeteria are so kind and good, so accommodating of the staff and students, and I am always a little honored to eat the food they make. Plus, in this case, by not having to cook myself, I’m winning a few minutes to really enjoy every bite of salad, every forkful of potatoes, and definitely the dash of whipped cream on top of dessert. I know it would have taken me ages to make even the most simple of cafeteria food spreads, and getting to eat them quickly and in good company is a blessing.

Do you have a favorite memory of a meal prepared for you? It can be a restaurant or a particular person, but what meal really makes you grateful for food and for those who make it?