“It’s been six months since my last vacation,” I whined to the husband in the car the other night. “I want our vacation to come soon.” He lovingly listened and then informed me that we had a lot of (insert expletive here) to get through between now and then. Leave it to him to add even more ferocity to my hovering gray cloud rather than whisk it away with hope and levity.
He was right. We do have some “stuff” to get through between now and then, but more than “get through” they are things we enjoy, anticipate, and look forward to. Reframing in this way lessens the weight of obligations.
I live, work, and play with folks who experience stress and I am in that category. What I have discovered over the years is that one definition of stress is when your heart isn’t where your body is. A simple way to solve that is to put your body where your heart is—such as when my heart wants to be on vacation but my body can’t get there yet, but will soon enough!
Another way is to choose activities that put your body and heart in the same location. For example, I could sleep a little later each morning (okay, try to sleep later) rather than get up early and write for the Williams Family Blog, yet having the quiet time to compose is something my heart enjoys and therefore, making the time reduces stress. I hear it is the same for people who exercise in the morning!
And, yet another way is to trick your mind—or reframe your thinking—that what your body is doing is what your heart wants too. You know, when you are doing something and your mind is wandering to other things and you are creating the list in your head of all the other things you need/want to do or could be doing (I know it just isn’t me that does this). Well, instead of having your mind wander, bring it back. Become mentally present in what you are doing and find the pleasantness, even joy, in what you are currently doing. It’s amazing what adjusting this mental state will do for stress. Disney buffs may recall Polyanna and her “Glad Game.” Even when there were so many things that Polyanna could be sad or mad about, she would find the good, the happy, the “glad.”
So, while our next Disney vacation is still months away, I am going to find the “glad” in the activities that lay ahead—visits to pumpkin patches, soccer games, a fall parade and celebration, a theater production the husband is directing, the boy’s 10th birthday, and a trip to the “North Pole” via the Polar Express. Oh, so many things to be “glad” about!