Once upon a time there was a young, insecure woman who longed to have a child of her own. Truth be told, this little lady was still very much a child herself. She accumulated all the accolades of a five star general in the eyes of her family and friends, but it came at a high cost. Most of the time the substitutionary sacrifice for her happiness, was her hurriedness. You see, adrenaline is an amazing hormone. Many people who are victims of blunt trauma, such as being shot or stabbed, may not feel pain immediately due to the rush of epinephrine. It allows us to begin the fight or flight internal nuclear launch sequence known as the defense cascade. There’s nothing inherently wrong with flight, or a good fight as a last resort. However, what if no opponent is facing you and no assailant is chasing you?
According to an article by Schauer & Elbert, “Dissociation following traumatic stress: Etiology and treatment,” in the Journal of Psychology (2010), dissociation follows traumatic stress. I don’t know much about construction, but I do know the word stress originated from the work of Hans Selye, a Hungarian-Canadian endocrinologist. It eventually became a frequently used word amongst builders as it referred to the internal reaction force in materials, such as sheetrock or wood, caused by external loading. Think HGTV, and no, I wasn’t about to use the phrases “price point,” or “great for entertaining.” I was about to mention the term “load bearing.” Although the wonderful designs you have in your mind are aesthetically appealing, if your plan entails knocking down a load bearing wall for that open concept floor plan, things are about to get real. However visually obstructive that load bearing wall may be, it prevents your roof from caving in and leaving your chimney in the living room. Likewise, we may desire an open concept in our lives. We clear out tasks and items we deem unnecessary such as rest, work life balance, and community to name a few. But what are the long term effects of removing these systems from our lives that are designed to prevent stress, replacing them with items that add stress?
As the old saying goes, shoot for the stars, you might hit the moon. Since the moon is 240,000 miles away from us, I think hitting a target like that is pretty darn good. I like the former first lady Michelle Obama quote that reads, “Make decisions based on what should happen, not what shouldn’t.” This helps me to stop talking myself out of things I ought to do and also helps me eliminate excuses. Procrastination leads to doubt irrigation. As a dear friend always asks when I’m hesitant, “Do you think tomorrow will be better?” The answer is typically no, and in my mind I know the snowball of deferred deadlines all too well. Backing ourselves into corners and time crunches from not properly managing our 168 hours we get each week causes severe health consequences. There is a phenomenon known as “common reactions to abnormal events” according to cdc.gov, and they can be one time isolated events or lifelong landmines with triggers that must be avoided or managed properly. Unmet, and many times uncommunicated, expectations can place an intangible strain on relationships that cause tangible diseases. I’m not trying to put doctors out of a job, but a lot of the ulcers and migraines could come from me worrying about my grains (You like that don’t you?), and wondering how I’m going to feed my family.
That young lady I mentioned earlier was yours truly, Dr. Trudy. With my birthday being December 23rd, after waking up from my decade long success induced coma, I demanded my husband give me a baby so I could have my best Christmas and holiday season ever. If we aren't careful, social media idolatry mixed with a pinch of arrogance, makes a humble pie to die for. As Tim Jackson said, “We spend money we don’t have, on things we don’t need, to make impressions that don’t matter.” This holiday season, I am asking you to stay away from unrealistic goals. Stretch goals are good, but unrealistic ones are not. Set SMART goals with the assistance of close friends who know you well and can help you to watch for tendencies and pitfalls. Take time to examine the complaints about you from your harshest critics. I once read a book called, “Thanks for the Feedback,” by Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen. It’s forever altered how I viewed difficult situations, scenarios, and members of society.