Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Managing Stress Is Like (Playing) A Game of Chess – What Are Our Options?

You arrive at a train station and have literally five minutes before your train leaves, but you have a problem; you’re busting ‘to go.’ You have the option right there before you. Go to the toilet and stress a little about the possibility of missing the train, or go straight to the platform, and wait for the train without risk of missing it, but endure a 40 minute trip busting ‘to go.’ What do you choose? (Perhaps it’s leave home five minutes earlier so you don’t have to stress?!)

Provided I have sufficient time I consider the stress of the first option far more alluring than the stress of option two. This simply underscores a fact that managing stress is a moment-by-moment issue of life.

My logic’s about stressing a little to risk missing the train, as compared with stressing a lot more by ‘holding on.’ Of course, then there’s the relief (and perhaps even mild exhilaration) of having risked and yet then still having made the train.

Life is like a game of chess—a jigsaw puzzle consisting of pieces that we’d call life actions and reactions to the events and situations before us. The rules of the game of life (like chess) are largely open to our choice and order—we order many of the things we do. We must inevitably choose to do what we do using our wisdom; a wisdom unique to us as individuals.

Of course, it’s inherent in the design for life—in this fallen world—that we’ll occasionally get it wrong, notwithstanding what we’d term ‘our very best efforts.’

There are options we make or take in planning our imminent moments and subsequent futures. Amongst these options is a commensurate or ancillary payload of stress, depending on the choice. And with this, managing and maintaining stress levels becomes a key life juggling act known to all.

An important “option” to leave you with perhaps... you board the train and then you’re “bombarded” with noise or some other irritating stimuli. What are the options; the options enshrined in wisdom?

Stress is a funny thing. It proves us both fickle and real, depending on the time and circumstance; the former avoidable, the latter, not.

© S. J. Wickham, 2009.

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