To paraphrase: Not all stress is bad. Stress can be tremendously destructive both physically and emotionally IF we’re stressed about something we’re engaged in that we feel doesn’t really matter. For example, if you have a job that you don’t enjoy and you feel like the product or service provided has no real value, eventually the resulting stress may well show up in frequent indigestion, depression or much worse.
However, if our stress is in the service of something we value -- say, a happy, healthy child with a good moral compass -- we don’t mind it so much. We’re not resisting showing up for parenting to the best of our ability, because THIS lines up with a value we hold dear.
Here’s some pure speculation: Maybe it’s the resistance to spending our precious time in activities we find meaningless that triggers the damage we associate with “bad” stress.
As Anne Marie articulates, bad stress occurs when we engage in something that does NOT line up with our values. Much more benign stress is the energy source we draw upon when we’re engaged in something we believe is purposeful and in alignment with our values.
Anne Marie suggested a nightly exercise to increase our awareness of the frequency with which we’re engaging in meaningful activity. Ask yourself this question before you go to sleep: “What did I do today that was in alignment with my values? What did I do today that was not in alignment with my values?”
My first reaction was that I immediately knew of one of each of these in the day just lived. Because I believe that awareness is always the first step in making a change, I’m now committed to this practice of measuring meaning in my life.
It’s the little daily shifts that make a life that matters. It’s the attention to what really counts that make us a resource to the people we care about the most.