I was thrashing about in an emotional pit of quicksand. As I wildly kicked at feelings of depression, annoyance, frustration and hurt, I sank deeper into the sludge of negative emotions.
In September, I enthusiastically and whole-heartedly began a year-long blogging project. On A Rheumful of Tips, I share an assortment of tips, tricks, techniques and strategies that document how I've moved through thirty-four years of living life with rheumatoid arthritis. By providing an intimate look at how I live with this disease, my goal is to inspire people to live their life well, in spite of a devastating diagnosis.
It sounds good so far, right? You see, I was getting mired by things over which I had little or no control.
Before I go on, I'd like to share a definition of stress with which I like to work. Then, I'll explain how I used it as a "big stick" to help me move onto solid ground. Stress is your interpretation of external events that causes internal distortion or strain. How you feel determines whether or not the stress response is triggered - a cascade of fourteen-hundred chemicals that flood your body, prepping it for flight, fight or freeze. By learning to treat the cause of your stress, not just the symptoms, you can transform our stress.
I was getting bogged down (internal strain) by my interpretation of what I thought should be happening with my blog by this point in time. My readership was something over which I had no control (an external event).
Fortunately, I soon recognized that I was feeling disappointment. I was doing the best I could by sharing a part of my life that I don't typically discuss in such detail - three-hundred and sixty-five days worth of details! I was condensing thirty-four years of my life into one year. It seemed that my common-sense strategies for living with a disease that is debilitating wasn't of much interest to many people.
Quit! After all, I know these strategies, so why spend so much time blogging about them, if it doesn't matter?
Undress my stress! I did a heart-based stress technique that helps to bring the nervous system back into balance. This then enabled me to make a better and more informed decision - one that was not made from the position of stress. In my case, the negative emotions I felt - disappointment, frustration, hurt - only contributed to more of the same. I was up to my neck in it!
I gained several insights from doing the technique:
- Continue on with A Rheumful of Tips because I am helping the readers I do have.
- It takes time to gain a readership.
- Recognize that I am in over-care, which impacts the quality of my writing.
Now, you may be thinking that these are common-sense solutions. Indeed they are! Remember, that stinkin' stress thinkin' often results in far-from-common-sense self-talk.