Coping with stress. Nearly all of us have to deal with these three words in our everyday lives. Some more so than others, but in some way we all face this challenge.
These three little words ensnare a wide net of participants and also creates an equally wide range of solutions. In fact an industry has been built around methods of coping with stress.
As with so many other "cures," here at books-empower.com we tend to gravitate toward the natural methods. Yes, there is a place for medication in certain situations involving health. And this problem of stress relief is certainly a health topic.
Lost work time and ineffective effort is so often an end result of an inability to cope with stress. Personal relationships are a casualty as well. And for whatever reasons, the holiday season seems to ramp up the pressure on many people suffering from the physical and mental ramifications of this type of pressure.
In this page I'm going to offer you one simple method of coping with stress. It may seem overly simplistic. When you first read it, your initial response might be to scoff and dismiss the idea right off. I'm hopeful that you'll read further anyway. I think the message might appear with some reflection.
We've used this image at the top of the blog header in the past. "Creating A Groundswell" is the idea of starting with small groups of people working together to improve the lives of as many people as possible.
So how can you ease the pain of coping with stress? Take your thoughts away from your personal challenges and work diligently in some effort to create something better for someone else.
Stephen Covey writes about changing our thinking. He has described the value of paradigm shifts. How we view certain things and how we respond to challenges, directly effects our own well being.
I'm sure many people reading this page are wondering how trying to improve the situation of someone else could possibly help relieve stress. Some will recite in their own minds, "He doesn't know what I'm dealing with right now." And that is true.
But I do know that whatever it is, how we feel about the chances of overcoming it is either a motivating force of power or an albatross around our necks, certain to drag us deeper into depression and poor health.
I'll give you two examples of the power of changing your focus. One is very local and the other is worldwide. In the latter example I'll include some pictures of a group of people utilizing their talents, energy and stewardship to make a positive difference.
Our town is pretty small. We have about six churches here. The ministers of these churches work well together to link the collaborative efforts of all their groups. This year the goal was to put together 10,000 meals to be distributed to those in need in our town. When the call went out for donations to pay for the supplies, the response was overwhelming.
Our local group was able to buy enough for 20,000 meals. Originally it was estimated to be a three hour project to package the planned 10,000 meals. Because of the large outpouring of volunteers, 20,000 meals were built in 90 minutes.
I spoke to one man who decided to just show up that day. He has dealt with some challenges over the years. And he does seem pretty down most of the time. But that 90 minutes spent working to help those who have it worse than he does was the best natural method of coping with stress he could ever find.
And as the old saying goes, "There is always someone else willing to trade our problems for theirs."
One of our family traditions is to attend the yearly Christmas concert performed by "The Trans-Siberian Orchestra." This group has a long history of using their amazing musical talents to give back to those in need. They went over the $10 million dollar overall donation mark this year.
As always, one dollar from every ticket sold goes back to the local city in which they perform. In our case, the Boys and Girls Club of Grand Rapids Michigan received half of that $16,000 check for the two shows performed by TSO in one day. You read that correctly. Two power-packed shows in one day. Each lasting about 2 and 1/2 hours.
The other half of that check went to "Hells Kitchen" which is a place serving hot meals to hungry people in Grand Rapids. This group is truly inspiring.
For those of you in Europe reading this page, you'll get to see this powerful band this summer in Germany. They will continue their tradition of giving back there as well. Your attendance will help that cause. And you'll see some tremendous skill from these world class musicians and singers.
Relaxation is a perfect method for coping with stress. As is an exciting evening. Everyone leaving a Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert walks out with a smile.
So is it possible that by simply taking our focus off ourselves for a while we can create our own method of coping with stress? I think it is more than possible. I think it is certain.
Yes, the challenges will still be there. But the mindset might be different. As with all things, how we think about them is really the determining factor in our response.
If we think we can fix it or if we think we have no hope, we are right. Either way, stress is part of every life. Coping with stress varies from person to person. So if we can beat it by changing our thinking and changing our focus, what is stopping us?
Please join us in creating a groundswell. You'll feel better and you'll be making a real, positive difference.
Just below you'll find some pictures taken by my daughter from the TSO show last Sunday. And a video highlighting my favorite Trans-Siberian Orchestra song.
We were near the front of the second deck at Van Andel Arena. As you can see, the place was full.
This was directly in front of us. You can see how high these two guys are while not missing a beat. They roamed throughout the crowd slapping hands and greeting guests.
Lasers and fire are part of this show. My daughter's favorite is the power violinist shown on the lift located near the stage. He is a fantastic musician.
The shot features one of the terrific singers and the entire band. Note over the left shoulder of the singer a man sitting on a chair. He is the narrator of the story. He is excellent as well. A sort of James Earl Jones voice.
Do you like lights and lasers?
And now a video featuring my favorite Trans-Siberian Orchestra song. They can rock the house or they can deliver a softer message song. One of these singers is also a great guitarist. In the second half of their show, she joins the band with her guitar. At the end of each show, she gives her instrument to some unsuspecting young fan. I think they include oven mitts because that guitar is still smoking when she lets it go.
This video was from a show earlier in the tour, but was sung by the very same TSO ladies. I thought this version would give you a better idea of their amazing talent.