During my time in the military, I found out the hard way that often times we are ill equipped for the amount of difficult circumstances we face in life. I don’t mean literally ill equipped from a personal capability standpoint – I mean from a realistic human nature standpoint. The reality is, we are easily overwhelmed because life is so face-paced. We battle the stress of work, finances, home life, relationships, school, ambitions for the future, etc. all at the same time. The most difficult circumstances we face in life often come at the worst possible times. Seldom have I faced just one obstacle in life at a time. More often than not, life kicks my ass and just as I stand up again and begin to recover – here comes another!
But somehow, here I am – writing this post. Somehow, despite all of the stress and challenges that life has thrown at me, I survived. Better yet, the other day a member of my team at work told me, “Tim, no matter how stressful things get you never seem to get flustered”.
When I first heard this comment it took me by surprise but upon reflection, I guess she is right. Over the years I have dealt with so much stress and frustration that somehow I have grown to embrace it. The more I reflected on this, the more I began to understand why this may be…
I learned quickly during my Army days that the stress you face will be their regardless of whether or not it flusters you. If I had a job to do, I couldn’t let the stress of other aspects of life bog me down. I learned that no matter how hard you try, you can’t always control the aspects of life that stress you out the most but you can control how they affect you. Whether it is work, school, family life, problems at home, financial issues, or all of the above….stress doesn’t just disappear. You have to find a way to process it.
But here’s the hardest part. Everyone handles stress differently. There is not cookie cutter approach to managing stress – you just have to find what works for you. My teammate at work was right, I don’t get flustered and I hardly get overwhelmed by stress but here’s why..
When life becomes chaotic and everything around my seems to be going a million miles per hour, I tell myself one simple phrase; I’ll figure it out.
As cliché as it sounds it works for me. The reality is, I have what feels like a million tasks of my plate everyday and each week and it would be so easy to become overwhelmed but I don’t and here’s why. Telling myself that I will figure it out is my way of reminding myself that everything will get done in time. I might not know exactly how or when but I will figure it out…
My schoolwork will get done. My responsibilities at work will be completed. My chores at home, responsibilities within my family, etc. will all get done in time. God only knows how, but that’s what I will figure out. I have proven my ability to be resilient so when life gets stressful, I just remind myself that this isn’t my first rodeo – I will figure it out. I have been overwhelmed before but I made it through!
I challenge you to take some time and reflect on what works for you. Often times people laugh when I tell them how powerful that simple phrase is for me and my ability to manage stress but it works for me and that’s all that matters….
By: Timothy A. Natale
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