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Thursday, July 31, 2014

We All Have It

Posted Thursday, December 3, 2009, at 8:56 AM

Stress is one of those things you need in order to live because it keeps all the independent parts of us working together as a team.

Stress is one of those things you don't need in abundance because it starts robbing your life energy from helping you accomplish the goals of "the team."

Too much stress threatens your enjoyment of life.

We all have it. We all need it. We have to keep it from overwhelming us. And the month of December can be one of the most stress-filled of our lives.

I have a check list that tells me when the stress is overwhelming me. If I monitor myself and evaluate myself with this check list, I'll be able to gauge when I need to cut back on stressful situations and even when I need to declare a break from the world and get away from the stress producers at war with my greater self.

My check list looks like this:
* Reading the daily newspapers;

* Opening my mail each day;

* Processing my mail each day;
* Getting enough sleep each night (at least 7 hours during this season);
* Not having any episodes of insomnia;
* Getting an appropriate amount of exercise for each day;
* Watching at least two hours of television each day;
* Watching no more than four hours of television each day;
* Keeping my work week above thirty hours a week;
* Keeping my work week below seventy hours a week;
* Keeping office paper work from becoming mountains on my work desk;
* Keeping office paper work from becoming stacks on the floor;
* Eating at least two balanced meals a day;
* Eating out with friends at least five times a week;

* Eating out with friends less than ten times a week.

I will self-evaluate as healthy if I score ten or more out of these fifteen. I will self-evaluate as under too much stress if I score between a five and nine.

I will take a break from the world and get away if I score below a four.

I need to confess that in recent months I've been scoring around a constant seven. In fact, that dropped down to three points for two weeks after which I declared a break from the world and got away. I now find myself scoring back above ten during these last seven days and so I declare victory (at least temporarily!) from the stress that tried to take away my very soul.

It's mine; the stresses of my life can't have it!

I've shown you mine. What does your stress check list look like? I invite you to develop your own. You can even borrow some of the categories I use and then add on the particular markers that make sense to you.

The point is this: You've got to monitor your stress. There will be times when it may seem overpowering to you. With the right tools you'll be able to monitor and self-evaluate and then know when to do something to reclaim your autonomy.

You can't let the stresses win, especially during the month of December.

Take charge now.

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Sunshine for the Soul
Rev. P.T. Wilson
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P.T. Wilson is the senior pastor at Gobin Memorial United Methodist Church, Greencastle, and is also the University Chaplain at DePauw University.
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