When you look back at the past few weeks, what kinds of things do you remember? If you could categorize your thoughts, where would they go? Would you put them in the “Memories with the Kids” category? “Date Night with my Spouse”? “Vacation with my Family?”
Or would the majority of your thoughts fall into categories more like these:
- Budget is a Little Tight
- I Hate My Job
- I Ate Terribly/Didn’t Exercise
- I Gained Weight
- My Significant Other is Annoying Me
- My House is a Mess
- I’m Stressed
If you’re thoughts fall primarily into the latter category, welcome to the club. I can’t tell you how many times I have forgotten all the good things going on in my life because I am wrapped up in how much laundry there is and how I need to change my eating habits to see some weight loss. Shoot, we set ourselves up to thing this way when we make resolutions every year to lose the weight or eat clean. I can look back at 2014 and 2015 and remember thinking “I will be the fittest ever this year!” Neither year produced that for me. I remember that, but I have to think a little harder about the good things (aside from my daughter being born, of course).
It’s so sad how so many of us are focused on all the wrong things. All the time you spend stressing out about things could be spent doing things to alleviate that stress!
Think about it. Stressing about a tight budget isn’t going to help anything. Stressing never gave anyone some extra money in a bank account. Stressing never folded laundry or put away dishes. Stress is toxic.
Research has shown that stress can actually do physical damage to your body. Your body needs stress in certain amounts. It’s what helps pump your blood through your body so you can react appropriately in fight or flight situations. Stress is a good thing. The problem is that we are in a constant state of stress. Constant stress can cause respiratory problems, heart disease, kidney and liver issues, stomach ulcers, and it could even eliminate your ability to react to an emergency all together. Stress can literally kill you. (source).
Aside from the physical harm stress does, stress can kill your relationships. If you look at polls and surveys, stress about money nearly ALWAYS listed as a top reason for divorce. Stressing about how you look can push away friends and significant others for a multitude of reasons as well (I could literally write an entire post on how food and aesthetics can ruin a relationship).
With all of this stress, when are you finding time to actually LIVE? I have an answer for you – You’re NOT. You’re not living. You’re going through the motions and waiting for things to change. Guess what? Things don’t change if you don’t change them.
I was listening to Switchfoot this morning – The Beautiful Letdown album (yeah, yeah, throwback, I know)- and I think I actually listened to the words for the first time. We were meant to live for so much more than bills/food/weight/annoyances/insertotherstresseshere. We are not here to spend our days stressing about things that we can’t change. If you can change it, then change it. If you can’t, stressing is a waste of your time. It is literally a waste of your LIFE. We were meant to LIVE.