Taking Control of Stress

Stress is my enemy. It can wreck my day, make my heart race, and take my breath away. How those of us with COPD handle stress impacts our daily life. It can make the difference in a "breathe easy day" and one where we are gasping for air. They say if in five years it won’t matter, don’t spend more than five minutes stressing over it today. So I am taking control of the things that stress me the most.

My stress triggers

We all have our own personal triggers that cause our stress levels to rise. Two of the things that stress me out the most are walking into my house and realizing it is a mess and running late. Life is going to throw us unexpected events but we can control how we react.

I love a clean house

In our house, there is me, my spouse, Grant, and our sweet dog, Rosie. I love them both and wouldn’t trade them for the world, they are my family. So, why would it feel as if my life was falling apart when I go home and find dirt on the floor, dog hair on the rugs, or clutter lying around? A spotless, sparkling clean house is nice but having a family is much more valuable to me.

I have found that if I stop and take a deep breath, it really isn’t going to be the end of the world. I can easily sweep the big stuff up and then forget about it until we do a housekeeping day. Unfortunately, the mess isn’t going to pick itself up and sneak off so I can deal with it later. It will still be there when I get the urge to do a deep cleaning.

I hate to run late

I have always been a fanatic about being on time, especially if my being late is going to impact others. My pet peeve is waiting on others, so goodness knows I don’t want someone to be waiting on me. Yet, the more I rush, the shorter of breath I get and the more behind I become.

I’m learning to stop rushing, sit down, catch my breath, and call whoever it is I am planning on meeting. People are pretty forgiving and we can usually find a solution so that I am not feeling the stress of rushing around and they are not waiting on me.

The little things

Usually, the things we are stressing over are just little things when we consider the big picture of our life. For me, a little mess in my house or having to admit I can’t be where I planned at the time I planned to be there really are just fleeting issues. They have no long-term effect on my life or anyone else’s.

Take a breath and say awe

When you are feeling stressed from life’s day to day events, ask yourself, "Will this matter in five years"? If the answer is no, don’t let anxiety take over. Let yourself stress for five minutes and then move on to more important matters. Important things like sharing your love with someone, reading a good book, or simply breathing. Then close your eyes and take a deep breath.

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