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Changing my view on stress

bumper to bumper traffic in downtown chicago

Last night I was stuck. Stuck on one of the main highways in the Chicago area. I saw construction signs… and I was annoyed… and then I saw an ambulance and tow truck race by. My heart ached for those people. I could wait in traffic as long as it took in order for them to get that person or people to safety and the medical care they needed. Perspective. As I sat in traffic I was working on my perspective on many things.

Right now I spend at least 10 hours in traffic a week. And this is Chicago traffic. On average it takes me an hour to drive the 11 miles to work. Then when I get to work it is normally high stress until I leave to go home… and then I’m stuck in traffic again… and then I have to battle for a parking spot. For 90% of my day I feel like I’m under extreme stress. 

But what if my view changes? What if I decide to be thankful I have that time in the morning to catch up with people and process through things. Be thankful I have a car that works and that I CAN drive to work. I love my job, and though it is high stress, I am trying to view it as a blessing to have a job I love so much. To have coworkers that in just 6 short months have become like family. To have patients who trust me enough to be vulnerable during one of the absolute hardest times of their life. And that at the end of the day I can get back in my car and drive home and walk into the my place that has heat and running water.

None of this removes the stress, but it does change my perspective. And perspective can change how I handle the stress. I don’t expect to be perfect with this, but I am hoping that as I continue to make a conscious effort, I will be thankful for the stress.

I’m going to make a conscious effort to have healthy relationships around me. To support those that are around me as well. I’m going to give more hugs. I’m going to make a conscious effort to spend time with people where I can support them. I’m going to be thankful that my body can respond to stress so well. I’m going to be thankful for the support I do have and that I don’t have to handle stress alone.

I am going to change my view on stress. Because life is full of stress, but it is ultimately from that stress that many of my blessings come.

This year, I am going to choose to be thankful for stress… and hug a lot more 🙂

How are you going to change your view on stress?

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