Stress management

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A story told to me recently…

A trainer confidently walked around the room whilst explaining stress management to an audience with a raised glass of water. Everyone knew she was going to ask the ultimate question, ‘Half empty or half full?’… She fooled them all …. “How heavy is this glass of water?” she inquired with a smile. Answers ranged from 200g to 500g.

She then went on to say, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter once I have picked it up. What matters now is how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, that’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it for a day, you’ll have to call an ambulance. In each case it’s the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes,” she continued, “and that’s the way it is with stress. If we carry our burdens constantly, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won’t be able to carry on.”

“As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When we’re refreshed, we can carry on with the burden – holding stress longer and better each time practised. So, as early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don’t carry them through the evening and into the night… Pick them up tomorrow.”

So how do you manage your stress?

Some Enneagram personality types will let go of their burdens with greater ease than others, and all for different reasons: 1s and 6s tend to be the main worriers, but 3s may find themselves over working and 2s will carry burdens for others. 4s may struggle more with the concept of letting go of their load, even for a short while, as they feel that the burdens give them a sense of worth; and rest may seem irrelevant to a safety seeking 5. Of all the types, the 7s and 9s are probably the ones to guide us here – the 7s remind us that life is supposed to be light and enjoyable; the 9s tell us to relax – somehow, all will be well!

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