Tag Archive | stress

Irony

Isn’t it rather ironic how moods and attitudes can change in a blink? Why is that?

Well, to be honest it is because we have the power to affect how we feel. I guess Mom was right when I would come home in tears because somebody pushed me or something by saying that “You are the boss of you and only you can make you feel sad.” In a way, I guess that is a watered down version of how my life is now. Something happens and I can deal with it in a few ways: I can either get mad, upset,  do something about it, or not let it bother me. Each has its own implications–getting mad will both make you upset and won’t help the situation (it could make someone else upset), getting upset will just make it harder to make a rash decision, doing something about it will help to correct the problem (if you do it right), and leaving it alone means the problem may or may not go away (but either way you do not have permission to complain about the outcome).

So what sparked my enthusiasm for the topic was my views towards the university, specifically UR Self-Service. So, you may ask – what could possibly be wrong with the university? Haven’t they always been very very helpful and overly accomodating? (Can you hear the sarcasm?) Well, it turns out that they actually are! I registered for my classes this morning but to my dismay, PSYC 210 was FULL – to be exact there was already an extra body in the class that shouldn’t have even been there. Now, I tried everything the fake the computer into letting me take the course, but with no success. So I was angry and sad. Very sad. My schedule is such that I cannot possibly take any classes other than what I have because my uncle decided (a year ago) to get married in the middle of finals… in the Dominican Republic and my family is going. This means that all my finals had to be “crammed” into the small space before April 25, when we leave. The classes I wanted to take all had to have an early final, which was not easy! But I figured it out (fewf!). I was horrified when my 210 class was full.

So what did I do? I went to my education counsellor. She gave me a form. I filled it out. She sent me to the Department of Psychology. They looked at my form (giving me hope!) then said, “Go to the secretary at Campion” (my class is on Campion). So I went to see her.  She sent me to the Registrar, but on my way (literally 15 feet) I was intercepted with a “go to your prof’s office – it will for sure happen that way!” by a nice girl who was innocently doing homework. So I went back to the secretary to get my prof’s office number. I went to her office. She was away for a few hours. I went home. I went back to her office. She smiled, signed the box, and sent me to the Registrar (again!). I got there and she clicked a couple of times and said “You’re in.” That was easy – not really but in the end it wasn’t too bad. In the mean time, I had travelled the campus in a full circle and climbed 28 flights of stairs. But that is just what it took to get my university to work for me. In the long run, it was just a little excercise!

So, to explain my point – I origonally got very frustrated with the U of R for their lack of helping-out in my situation. Then I got upset and bogged down by the sixty billion offices I visited (but each with a smile on my face)  but when I had a chance to calm down and finally got my problem solved, I was really happy. Now, why couldn’t I have sucked it up and just been happy the whole time? Because I let little things control my emotions and ultimately my stress level. Really, to be utterly happy, I just need to not sweat the small stuff. It is that simple, yet so hard to do.

So I beg to ask why we let things control our emotions? Why should one small glitch in my otherwise great life be so upsetting? I understand it is partly human nature, but why should I let stress run my life? I read a study the other day where something like 50% of women age 20-25 let stress run (and drastically affect their health) their lives. It is crazy. So, what can I do to save my self from this contageous stress disease? Well, deep breaths and looking at the big picture. Was anyone hurt? No. Did anyone die? No. Did I potentially cause myself great harm? No. Would it have lost someone their job? No. Did I cause anyone any hurt feelings?  No. Was a baby crying because of it? Not even close. So why, even after all of this, do I let stress run my life? Well, I don’t know for sure, but I do know that I need to always take a moment, step back, and analyse the situation. For example, the MythBusters did an episode about escaping from a car when you drive off a bridge into water. The people who react and panic to get out drown, but if you are patient, you conserve your energy, hold your breath and then wait until the car fills up (to get equal pressure on either side of the door) to escape, you end up alive, with air to spare. This needs to be my new life. Patience is a virtue (as Mom allllllwaaaaayyyysss says).

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So this is what it’s like…

I have finally begun to feel like a university student! Good news or bad news? What you you like first?

Good news? Good answer. Well, I feel older (and slightly taller, not sure why). Today my computer decided to act like a child having a temper tantrum and flicker and then totally shut me out (it went into permanent hibernate), so what did this “adult” do? I simply called Dell IT support all by my very own self! I origonally called the US IT guys, but they refered me to the Canada. From then, I was easily able to explain my situation and fix the problem, without the help of my dad or my mom. They don’t even know, actually. I was pretty stoked that I could do this alone. I have to admit, I was a little nervous before I called. But once I was on the line with someone (and off hold, which only lasted a surprising 3-ish minutes) I calmly explained myself and went to work. I patted myself on the back for it. Oh, and I would also like to highlight that I was really stressed over the problem, but didn’t let my voice get all high pitched (or more high pitched, I should say).

Bad news? Okay, hold on tight. I’ve always thought that yes, I would have lots of work, but never thought I would get so overwhelmed with it all. It’s like one of those magicians who pull all the scarves out of his sleeve and they are all knotted together and they just keep coming and you think to yourself, “where on earth (or a similar phrase, depending on your stress level!) are all these scarves coming from? When will they end? Oh dear! They just keep coming! Now he’s pulling them out faster! AHHHHHH! This is way to freaky!” Well, my profs are the magician with their never ending tricks up their sleeves. I’m not saying that its a bad thing – I rather enjoy all the work I do, but there is a lot of it. Needless to say, I have lost a lot of sleep, and plan on not sleeping most of the night tonight in order to get a project done.

So needless to say, I am beginning to see why everyone is concerned over stress levels and sleep. It is a huge deal. Any twenty minutes I can get is pure love.

This leads me to my next point – I was reading an article (its not online, sadly) from a magazine about how young women (especially women) are over stressed. Some psychologists are now diagnosising stress as an addiction. Fourty five percent of young women constantly live under chronic stress. Stress now is seen as a status symbol, just like having a lot of money. The more stressed you are is related to how much people demand of you, so women like to flaunt it as an asset. A perfect example of this: smoking from several years back. Smoking was considered “cool” and a status symbol. If you were anybody, you smoked. It was just the thing to do. It meant you had a purpose and everyone did it, especially in front of others to show off (ever wonder why smoke rings were invented? Showboating!). Well, the more addicted you were, the more important you were. Same thing here, except with stress. Stress is this century’s smoking, a drug of choice, if you will. But the parallels don’t stop here: stress causes heart and cardio vascular problems (so does smoking), produces epinephrine/norepinephrine/cortisol (have you ever seen the commercial on the guide channel? “Stressed out? Stress causes cortisol; cortisol increases belly fat; relacore reduces cortisol; you need relacore!” I love that commercial!), reduced immune system, and lots of other problems. Good news, though. Like smoking, you can “quit” stressing so much. Like most things (except smoking), a little bit of stress is good. It gives you a natural high, helps you get more organized and productive, and many other great benefits! But when it gets too much, you need to take a step back and ask if what you’re really doing is that important. Oh, and prioritize! One final parallel to smoking: learn to say “no!”  It’s okay to say no to something. It may cause a little tension, but its not worth your health or your stress.

So, thank you for listening/reading. I really needed to get that off my chest and refocus! Back to work on a project (one thing I can’t say “no” to unless I wish to fail – umm…. nope, so I better get to work!). Hope I can learn to take my own medicine!