Yesterday, I was discussing stress with a client. He said that he had no stress and I laughed out loud in disbelief – “If you have no stress, I am a grapefruit!” The discussion turned to one of good stress vs. bad stress, and I tried repeatedly to explain that one’s body doesn’t have the ability to differentiate between the two. Stress happens, and whether you “like” the stress or not, it doesn’t alter the physical affects. I cited my recent trip to NYC, a place both my client and I adore. While buying some bagels at the awesome Tal Bagels on 90th and Broadway, I noticed at least five things that would have driven my husband bananas. I, however, was in heaven. I loved the two regulars who ordered small coffees with 3 Splendas and lots of milk (skim), the three college friends who, while ordering (demanding) six different bagel combinations (scooped with lowfat tofu cream cheese was the grossest) were dodging out for better coffee, texting and being kinda rude. I loved the guy who wanted the Nova in the back, wrapped to go, with a pint of the chopped liver. Did I mention is all happened in under five minutes? The staff was at peace with all the particular demands.
But stressful? Sure. Did I love every minute? Absolutely! Would it have made Eric want to start shooting? Oh my dear, yes. Good stress for me, bad for my boy.
There are other kinds of stress that we don’t always consider. I had forgotten how hard the cement is under your feet. My dogs were barking by lunch time. Lucky for me, I have a happy-to-rub-my-toes husband. If you do not, clear your calendar this Friday, December 3rd at 5pm for my free foot massage class. You have to call to reserve a spot because space is limited – 458-0321.
There is also the stress of longing and memory – longing to be in my NYC heyday and the memory of Molly before kids. The loneliness of thinking those rich years are dying with me. Loving something and trying not to let on that you are desperate for your children to like it too. That is stressful. I don’t know how those thoughts can be helped, but what sweet relief when they are eased. Darlie, Zoe, and I were plowing through the overeager crowd between the M&M store and Toys ‘R’ Us, when Darlie stopped and said, “Everyone is one.” Thinking I had missed something, I bent down to see her face and she went on, “Everyone is so different here that we all become the same…I mean, you could wear a turtle on your head and there isn’t a person here who could judge you.” My baby is Buddha.
Of course, pain is also stress. As are fatigue, problem solving, and bad thoughts. It all adds up, and I think if you judge it, that adds up too. Hamlet says, “For there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” Shakespeare hit it there. How you think of stress is your choice, just don’t blame the stressor.