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“The greatest weapon we have against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another ” – William James
Do you believe we can truly choose one thought over another? On this Monday (almost Tuesday), I’m really not sure. Personally, I think it takes a lot of effort to control what you think, when.
Usually, I wouldn’t say I’m overly stressed. I love my highly active, highly energetic life – but others would say I am.
The truth is, I did spend the whole weekend working non-stop, putting the finishing touches on my new marketing and productivity course for English teachers that launched this morning.
Then, something happened as soon as I was about ready to upload today’s blog post after teaching tonight. An upstream server connected to my host was down, causing my site to go offline for a bit. Now that’s blogger stress.
In reality, it was about 35 minutes, 20 of which I actually noticed – but it felt like forever.
Eeeek. So I guess you can be stressed doing something you love, especially when some parts are out of your control.
Can Stress Be Good? Can We Measure Stress?
So, maybe it’s possible to be stressed without knowing it! As you may know, I recently purchased my Garmin Vivosport, which I absolutely love. It’s great for tracking sleep, workouts, activity levels and even syncs with My Fitness Pal for calorie tracking.
While it’s true that you can’t do everything, I always feel so motivated when I’m working on projects I love (like my course, or this blog) that I don’t think I’m stressed.
What Does Garmin Say?
My beautiful Garmin watch begs to differ. In fact, while I can’t quite figure out how the “stress scores” work, it does seem to line up quite nicely with how I feel. When I feel more stressed overall, the ratings go up. DC Rainmaker, a blogger who has a comprehensive review on the Vivosport also finds it to be quite accurate.
Apparently, it uses technology from a company called Firstbeat, and your heart rate, to determine stress. It uses a scale of 1 to 100, which I suppose is basically a percentage. Mine was between 86 and 93 all day today. Despite my type of workout, hours of sleep, workload, or general to-do-list in a day, what scares me is that the daily stress summaries.
They only tell me one of two things:
It’s either “I’m going to exhaust myself” or “I haven’t had a single moment of relaxation time today and need to slow down and be careful”. Every. Single. Day.
So, despite all the medical tests telling me I’m super healthy, I wonder why the watch says what it does!
I’ll be the first to admit that I am not the expert on this one. Here are a few suggestions people have given me, though I’m trying my best to implement them. I read an interesting article from Thought Catalog the other day that basically explained why having chocolate and hot baths once in a while just doesn’t cut it.
1. Exercise – Well, that’s no problem for me at all! I’m super active, love training and trying new sports (even though I’m terrible at them ;). While it is true that exercise burns off some of the stress temporarily, I’m starting to think it’s not a long-term solution on its own.
2. Sleep and Meditate – The former I’m doing my best on, but the latter? Have you meditated before? It’s actually one of the items that is on my long-term goals list to see if it works.
3. Breathing and Yoga – Now, I suppose they mean a calm sort of yoga, and not the intense Bikram Yoga I used to go to. I have a really tough time staying still. In fact, I once had to walk out of a 90 minute Yin Yoga class (half-way through), because I just couldn’t handle it!
I’ll be completely honest and tell you that my Garmin Vivosport stress readings scare the hell out of me, so I’m looking to make some changes.
What stress relief strategies work best for you? I’d love to hear from you in the comments! (This time, it’s not just because I’m curious – I’m collecting a bunch of strategies to try myself 😉
Have a lovely and productive Monday (and week)!
P.S. The photo for today’s post (and poster) is one I took in the mountains in Geneva at New Year’s last year.
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