This week I had the opportunity to participate in a stress management session. It was enlightening and challenging. The facilitator began with this story
A psychologist walked around a room while teaching stress management to an audience. As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they'd be asked the "half empty or half full" question. Instead, with a smile on her face, she inquired: "How heavy is this glass of water?" Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz. She replied, "The absolute weight doesn't matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, it's not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn't change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes." She continued, "The stresses and worries in life are like that glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and they begin to hurt. And if you think about them all day long, you will feel paralyzed – incapable of doing anything." It’s important to remember to let go of your stresses. As early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don't carry them through the evening and into the night. Remember to put the glass down!
This is a story that I have heard before and it always holds a solid point for each and every person. All of life brings a certain degree of stress, some events more than others, but we all experience stress. Most of the time we all think that we are handling it well and like the glass of water we hold it for so long that the weight begins to pull us down and we need a reminder to put it all down and let it go even if it is only for a very short period of time.
The other point that the facilitator made was that we can lose ourselves in the stress that we live with and it is important to check in with ourselves from time to time to see how we are doing and to consider our strengths. To consider positive things people have told us about ourselves if we have lost sight of them. The exercises were a timely reminder and a thoughtful practice as the group considered and reflected on the challenges that were presented to us.
It could be good discipline for everyone to take time out to re-evaluate, to focus on the positive, and to hear the good things that others say to and about us. It, for a moment at least, rejuvenates us and lightens whatever burdens we carry and for a short time we can rest, put down the glass and just enjoy the simplicity and the beauty that surrounds us.