I had the unfortunate experience of reading a list of the top stressors in human life. You may have seen that list. Death of a loved one, divorce, losing a friend, major illness, moving, caregiving … the usual suspects. Then, thanks to grazing on brainpickings.org, I discovered the link between unrelenting stress and the deleterious effect on your memory, physical well-being and emotional stability. What a bummer. All bad news.
Well, there was a bit of good news. In the moment, a sudden stressor shuts down any unnecessary bodily function so the organs, systems and limbs you need get fully funded by your central nervous system. Plus they get first priority on blood flow and other physiological processes.
That’s why the caveman wasn’t standing at the sink eating a sandwich when the saber tooth tiger roared outside the opening of his cave. Caveman was suddenly in the mood to flee, or if necessary, fend off the beast. He got super focused in a hurry. Tunnel vision. Got his priorities in order.
The occasional rush deadline or your boss screaming about a missed delivery isn’t in that league of stressor. Most of us turn a blind eye, a deaf ear, or claim we were hacked so we didn’t get that email.
It’s when unrelenting problems meet unsympathetic responses that stress tears you down. It’s physiological, not a character issue. It’s your chemicals: hypothalamic, pituitary, and adrenal hormones that over time cause inflammation in the oddest places. Arthritis, colds, migraines … almost any ailment you can imagine may be triggered by stress.
So that creates more stress. Unmitigated, ongoing stress leads to a kind of numbness. We call that burnout.
The cure doesn’t seem obvious. “Gutting through it” isn’t a long term strategy. Running away isn’t always possible.
Probably the least obvious stress reliever is helping someone else. We’ve known for a long time that altruism benefits the giver more than the receiver. There is something about doing service for someone who could use your help that breathes new life into your worn out soul.
Maybe it’s walking shelter dogs. Lending your couch to someone who is temporarily displaced. Washing your roommate’s dishes. Reconciling a checkbook, doing the weekly shop or whatever else you can for a disabled or elderly neighbor.
Giving the gift of yourself reminds you that you are a gift.
Don’t do the old “give ‘til it hurts.”
Think: If it hurts, give.
You know how badly you need some go-to life hacks that really work.
We all do. We need super effective strategies that don’t involve buying one more app, signing up for a new dashboard or watching instructions on YouTube.
You certainly don’t need to be touted about TaskRabbit or Fiverr or any of these so-called insta-help services, because they actually involve a ton of communication and constant checking up. You can quit pretending that a stranger is somehow committed to your success for the princely sum of 5 bucks.
I have coached people through a tidal wave of their worst problems. Some of them were involved in hundreds of micro-projects because big success is often a process of taking countless small steps.
What’s worse at this time in your life? You don’t have an abundance of anything. You don’t have a lot of space, money, time or support.
You are beginning to feel a weird kinship with whomever said, “If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.”
You ARE doing most everything yourself. It’s the way work is set up now. You and everyone else are supposed to do more with less. That means less of you to do more of anything.
It’s like you are no longer a person, but more like a self-cleaning oven. You’re pressured to make it, bake it and clean it up fast. Then: next!
So I assembled one simple set of 11 rhyming words that can instantly cue an abundance of solutions.
These words stand in for heavy lifting like: project management, increased productivity, people skills, and perfected processes.
Whatever is stopping you cold or making you pull out your hair, see if any of these words lead you to a fast way past a problem you’re stuck on.
1. Mending (making a quick fix)
2. Sending (getting it off your desk)
3. Depending (on someone else to handle)
4. Lending (or borrowing)
5. Bending (think rules or “normal” ways of doing things)
6. Fending (off and avoiding certain people entirely)
7. Pending (leaving open to see if it’s really worth tackling)
8. Rendering (doing a quick draft and letting it go)
9. Tending (improving rather than wasting)
10. Vending (sell, sell, sell)
11. Wending (finding a way out, to do what you REALLY want to do)
That’s my 11 word rhyming solution set for life hacking some of the projects, processes and people who are driving you nuts, and weighing you down.
Love to hear if you have other action words that get you over the humps (rhyming or not). Email: Nance@NanceRosen.com. Subject line: Problems