Wednesday, August 12, 2009

DeStress Your Life - Part 5

Time Outs are for adults too!

How many of us remember giving our kids a "time out" when they got cranky, snippy, or found themselves in the midst of a temper tantrum? It was actually a very kind gift we gave them: time in a quiet place to regroup, renew and then re-join the family when they got their pieces put back together.

As adults we have learned not to toss our selves on the floor of the supermarket flailing around with expletives spewing from our mouths if our desired item is not on the shelf, but we may feel the beginnings of that old feeling swirl around our psyche.

At a stop light today, a rather long one I'll admit, the lady in the next car started gesturing and screaming at the light. Really, no kidding. And then, instead of waiting for the light to change to head straight as seemed to be her plan, she gunned her engine and peeled away turning right. If we were going to the same place, I bet I would have reached the destination before her, but she needed to move NOW and roared away taking her tension with her.

And on this very same morning, I was having breakfast downtown at a little diner we like and a man stormed in the restaurant, shouting a wide range of swear words, but favoring the f-bomb, and saying that he would never come back to the restaurant, ever! Which to the management, and those of us at the tables, was a pretty good deal. When the waiter came over, we asked what the trauma of the drama was, and he replied, "the guy got a parking ticket while he was eating here and blamed us." Hmmmm.

See how tense and keyed up people can be.

Not that you and I are going to go around acting like a bunch of nuts, but I know that you and I occasionally feel like the world just dumped all over us, or like we are twisted and pulled by life's situations to the point where we want to snap to get release from the tension. Life happens, and it is not always pretty.

And this brings us to yet another suggestion: TAKE A TIME OUT. Even if it is just, "I need a few minutes to go out and get some fresh air." Or, "excuse me a minute, I need to go collect myself." or "Would you mind if we talked about this tomorrow, after a night's sleep." Sometimes just stepping away from a situation helps us to come back and look at it with a fresh perspective. And even if we are alone and find ourselves in a mental stew, switch gears and stop stewing and go to a different room or outside and do something different until the mood passes.

Sometimes I feel like I have the midas touch in reverse: every thing I touch or every project I begin runs into snags. When I have a few of these in a row, I may just call a time out, and go sit in meditation for awhile until the energy changes. When I come back to the world, I feel refreshed and can tackle my projects in a new way.

My son's father and I had a saying when we got into a tuss, "Excuse me, I need to go brush my teeth." That was our signal that we needed to stand down and get a clear perspective. And actually, at least I would go and brush my teeth which was enough just to change gears and re-group.

Stress is a part of life. It happens. What we need to learn is how much stress we bring upon ourselves, and how much control we have over the stress that wops us upside the head when we least expect it. Time Outs are a valuable tool for us each to have in our quiver.

Think of some wonderful Time Outs you can give yourself next time you feel your knickers knotting ......take a break and rejoin the world when you can breathe freer and have your pieces put back in place.


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