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YEARS AGO I TOOK AN ADULT EDUCATION night class about managing your stress. The 4-part class was offered by a regional hospital and was taught by a woman with a background in massage therapy who was at that time working on a graduate degree in religious studies.
She was wise & funny. Delightful in her pragmatic approach to life.
To be clear this was not a class aimed at finding the causes of your stress or analyzing why you had this stress. It was a class based on the assumption that the sources of your stress were your own business, specific to your own life.
The class was about creating a “tool box” of positive coping behaviors; that is, by learning to breath in the moment or detach from your ego or chant a soothing mantra or acknowledge your own worth, you could deal with your stress in a healthy way.
The premise being, quite simply, that if you know how to calm down in any situation, then you’ll do better at whatever it is you’re doing.
Is this not true?
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ONE OF THE TOOLS I REMEMBER FROM this class was the question I posed in the title of this post. We were encouraged to think about who we were based on our own particular personality traits. [List of 600 personality traits here.]
This was trickier to do than you might think it’d be.
To wit, we were NOT describing ourselves in the sense of our relationships so saying I’m a wife, a niece, a sister-in-law was wrong. And we were NOT describing ourselves in the sense of our job titles/hobbies so saying I’m a manager, a writer, a walker was wrong.
While those descriptions of myself were accurate they weren’t the point of this mental health exercise. They were considered a distraction from understanding yourself better, a way to gloss over who you really were.
NOPE, we had to state who we were based on our own self-awareness. We had to acknowledge our individual personality traits whether they be considered a strength or a weakness, then accept the trait.
To thine own self be true, you know?
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I HADN’T THOUGHT ABOUT THIS CLASS IN a long time, but over the weekend I realized I was reminding myself each day to focus on three personality traits, allowing myself to feel empowered as a result of it.
I realized why I was asking myself this question and thought that maybe someone else might benefit from using this simple approach to stress management.
So in conclusion here is my answer to the question. For me, most of the time my personality traits that are helping me deal with my days during the pandemic are: 1) I’m organized, 2) I’m creative, and 3) I’m perceptive.
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What about you, kids? Care to share which three personality traits are helping you stay above the fray, cool in every way? Or if not cool, at least sane for most of the day?
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