I look forward to Thursdays when I can publish thoughts on my spiritual journey and hear the thoughts of others on a weekly theme topic. It has become a space for an encouraging and fortifying community to come together. We welcome anyone who would like to join us!
This week's topic is STRESS.
School started this week. For all you teachers, students, and parents out there, you know why the topic of stress might have been on my mind. Summer already seems like a distant memory! I love my job, but it comes with its share of stressors. However, a couple things came my way this week that reminded me that our attitudes about stress and difficult situations can be controlled. We can choose whether to look at times of stress negatively or positively. On the first day of school on Monday, our in-service day, I had "Good Morning America" on in the background as I was making breakfast and sleepily pouring my first cup of coffee. Lo and behold, GMA was doing a week-long series on stress. How apropos! We've all heard and seen lots of things on how to handle stress, but this one caught my attention.
ABC Latest News | Latest News Videos
“You don’t necessarily have to embrace the situation that’s stressful, but you can embrace your capacity to rise to the challenge,” McGonigal told ABC News of the mindset shift.
“Stress is basically a signal that something you care about is at stake,” McGonigal said.
Robin Roberts is an excellent example of how to handle stress with grace, faith, and a positive attitude! "If you change the way you think, you can change the way you feel." - Robin Roberts
Then, at my in-service, our principal introduced our theme and motto this year. This is my third year working for her at Kings, and I've loved our past ones. "If not you, then who?" inspired by Connor Grennan's Little Princes was our motto two years ago, and "Live above the line" which championed taking responsibility, ownership, and accountability instead of relying on blame, excuses, and denial, was last year's. This year, she chose "Choose Optimism" as a result of a staff book study we did last year over Jack Berckemeyer's book Deliberate Optimism: Reclaiming the Joy in Education. She showed us this TED Talk by Shawn Achor Monday afternoon in our staff meeting:
I enjoyed watching Achor so much (notice he mentioned taking a positive spin on stress), I searched for more videos of him and saw that he had been on "Super Soul Sunday" with Oprah. I think I saw it when it aired! I thought he seemed familiar.
In summary, one of my favorite things about what I've heard this week is that if we're experiencing stress, it's because we care about something. We care about our jobs, our children, our spouses, our students, our friends, our neighbors, our parents, etc. That knowledge alone can start to shift our attitudes about stress. Focus on the joy of caring about something enough to respond to it. Then focus on empowering yourself with the responses to stress, turning those responses to positive action. And lastly, focus on the One who has the power you can rely and lean on in times of stress. With Him, you can turn stress around and respond this way, "What is my stone? What is the gift that only I can do in this world to make it a better place? And spend the rest of your life trying to throw it well." - Kathie Lee Gifford
I've always loved this song by Kutless - it's a good go-to song for when stress gets the better of you!