I giggle at a conversation I remember hearing a few years back that went something
So and So asked me to pray that the devil (trials and temptations) will leave them alone.Then I
said, “You want me to pray for you to die?” And the response was “NO!” Then I said, “Well,
that’s the only way you will never be bothered with the devil (trials and temptations) again.”
Trials, temptations, pressures, stressors, tension (and on and on the list can go) are part of life
at varying levels. The more realistic request would be to have wisdom and understanding...
To have help to develop strategies to face and overcome the stressors of life.
In expat living, stressors come. Some people view expat living as one big vacation! Ha! It may be a life that we
have chosen, and at the same time, stressors come knocking at the door in various forms. And the great news with
this is…there is nothing new under the sun regarding stress and stressors. Whether living life as an expatriate in
another nation or living life in your own nation, we are all on equal ground with stressors and stress.
As we traveled almost 6,000 miles in our home country this summer some stress knocked at my door. Oh, this is
not the first time to experience this…just another opportunity. Since I know you experience this same visitor at your
door, I would like to share some tidbits that have helped me in life. (Click on Read More)
(John and his friend Gary armed and ready to take out the Big Bad Wolf! hahaha!)
1. Bites vs Chunks; Steps vs Leaps
As I have learned to think in this way, I have decreased my level of anxiety.
Making lists is a tool that helps me focus on bites and steps.It breaks the BIG mountain down into manageable tasks and shorter destinations.As I complete the smaller tasks, I can also feel the pressure coming down.I can see “this is getting done.” I don’t have to wait for the full goal to be accomplished before I start experiencing the relief. Oh Ya!!
2. Today vs Tomorrow
There are 2 sides to this type of thinking:
#1:Do today what you can. Avoid the trap of putting something off for tomorrow when it really can get done today.
#2:Focus on today. There maybe some other troubles that come tomorrow and at the same time live for today. Many times, what we do today prepares us for what comes tomorrow. A relationship that you nurture today may become the source of support that you will need tomorrow.
3. Find Your Flow
There are activities that re-energize and re-fuel you.Find these and be sure to make time for them.
Sometimes we think of these as extras in life. They actually become an anchor in life.
For me I love quiet moments to read and reflect. I love moments with my guitar. I need times where everything shuts down for a bit, and I just take a break, have a coffee, have a coke or iced tea, enjoy a funny show, listen to music, etc. etc.
4. Smile, Laugh, Have Fun
There are some varied thoughts with this one.
#1:In tough times, I will recognize that I haven’t been smiling. I realize that I must be looking pretty serious or have a scowl on my face. So…I SMILE! It’s amazed me how a purposeful smile can really change the attitude!
This works the same with Laughter. I will purpose to find things that bring a laugh to me.The internet can be a great source! Laughter is a medicine for my body and my soul.
#2:People! Often times having time with people is part of this tidbit. Enjoying a conversation or an activity with others sparks smiles, laughter, and just plain old fashion FUN! We need this!! When life gets too serious, it can make sense to plan a rest stop in the journey and just have some fun.
5. Focus on the Good
Thoughts are powerful containers. It’s the old question…half full or half empty?
When negative things happen, learning to re-frame the event with positive thoughts can totally change the dynamics of the stress experienced. Oh sure, life can deliver some pretty sour lemons at times.AND that doesn’t discount the tasty peaches and mangoes that I also have in my frig at the time.Learning to re-focus on the good, the potential, the hope, and the opportunity vs the despair and ugliness in the moment is an art to be developed.
I like this phrase: "See the good that still surrounds you". Zoom out and look past the stress to see the good.
6. Sleeping, Eating, and Moving
This tidbit focuses on how we take care of our bodies.
Be good to your body. Even when the deadlines and stressors are looming.
Your body needs sleep. Be sure to rest well!
Your body needs food. Be sure to fuel it well!
Your body needs to move. Be sure to take time to walk or move in ways that are healthy for you.
These lifestyle habits make a difference in how resilient I am when stressors pop up.
7. Pay Attention to Your Spiritual Well-Being
We are more than a body and a mind. We are spiritual as well.
Much has been said in research about the holistic approach of health and well-being.
In tackling the stressors of life and building a resilience to face and overcome the storms, our spiritual side must be
In my life, finding time to quietly reflect on my source of strength and hope is a major key. Being with people who share my values, love me, and encourage me is another key in this area.
I have found that when this area is on track and strong, I experience: peace, joy, forgiveness, hope, and strong
purpose in life. These qualities give me a resiliency in the storms of life.