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!

Forgetting to Eat!

Does it ever happen to you that your day is so busy and there are so many tasks to be done in a very set amount of time that you just don’t eat at all? That has been today for me – my body has figured that my levels of stress hormones, I guess, mean that appetite isn’t worth having.

It does occur to me that one way to prevent unnecessary snacking is to stay busy (too busy to be hungry!) but for the most part, I think this is a bad habit on my part. For one thing, when my appetite does return, it returns without any rules or reason: it wants all the food, right now, and in massive quantities.

I do have some pretty amazing memories on when my body was running on coffee and fumes, though: in college, A and I sat together in a coffee house for 7 or 8 hours finishing our enormous final projects for a class; people we knew stopped by here and there to chat with us and commiserate about final projects in general, and it felt like the whole world was trying to learn with us. While we realized all of a sudden that we needed to eat at some point that day, and had to take a break, the memory stuck with me.

Perhaps I don’t want a lifestyle that makes me forget to eat regularly, but I do want, once in a while, to encounter projects or challenges so consuming that I don’t need food to focus on them. I like sometimes wondering if something is just outside of my abilities, and trying to push myself. It’s a bit like Julie from Julie and Julia trying to make her final recipe, which involved boning a duck; sometimes, we just want to try something so difficult that our body needs all its attention right there. Hopefully, though, my appetite will return tonight and I can whip up something tasty.