Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Black dot

Went back to my clinic class last night just so I could check in and keep getting my free health club membership and the protein shakes. The topic was stress and how it affects health and eating behavior.

Ho hum, heard it all before, lalalalalala. Then she handed out these little plastic discs, "stress dots." Applied to the hand, these give an indication of stress level. Black = severe stress, dark green a little less so, medium green = moderate stress, light green = relaxed. And on it goes. I'd recite the other colors but it doesn't matter because I couldn't get off of black.

Black black black, even after deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, even a little cheating. I put my other hand over it for a minute, tucked it under my arm. Black.

I think if I could learn to shut off my mind, it would be better. I don't know how to stop thinking. I think it's a spiritual task and it relates to being in the moment, but I'm stuck in this moment, this morning, thinking about 40 things that must be done, 10 things I want to do, another dozen or so that ought to be managed in some way or other.

There's not enough time, not enough daylight, not enough. Doing too much is a favorite old groove of dysfunction for me. I line up a dozen "musts" and face them, paralyzed by the impossibility of it all. At that point, escape via Krispy Kreme begins to look appealing.

All is well for today, but I know I have to deal with this. Exercise, more rest (did that last night, feel pretty good this morning), start and end time for work, actual days off which don't include any work. I want a light green dot and I want it now. I think the last time I felt calm and relaxed was December 1 on the beach at Mazatlan. Deep breaths, relax, be calm.

How do you get rid of stress? Do you?

5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yoga helps, and I try meditation. I must stress the Try part, because the voices in my head never completely shut up. Not the psychozoid type, thank you, but the ones that say "you should be doing something now, my knees hurt, my back itches, is that my cat trying to open the door? etc. It takes a lot of practice, which in itself can become stressful, but when I do it regularly, meditation does calm the voices, and the body. The thing that helped me the most was making sure I got at least 7.5 hours of sleep a night. The more sleep, the less stress. I had to really make an effort to cut out the few tasks, skip the news, and get to sleep.

tater

February 13, 2007 4:58 PM  
Blogger evilganome said...

If you put the stress dots on me, they'd turn black and then smoke would start pouring off them. I really have to start making time for yoga classes again. The physical relaxation aspect of it, for me anyway does wonders.

February 13, 2007 5:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Although stress is usually bad, don't put too much faith in the dot thing...it just measures skin temp...the theory being that when you are stressed your blood vessels are constricted and your skin is colder. when relaxed, vessels open up and you are warmer. The temperature is what changes the colors. We actually did experiments with those in college...I worked around halogen lights...even though I was completely stressed there it always showed most relaxed because of the heat....it's more something to remind you to take a deep breath and try to relax.

HS Maggie

February 13, 2007 9:35 PM  
Blogger Red7Eric said...

I'm with Maggie. The best way to combat stress is to not read too much into these little black dots. You could be as relaxed as you could get and for whatever reason, your skin wouldn't be warm enough to turn those little buggers green.

I have the opposite problem. I'm Mr. Heat Miser, so I can be the biggest stress case in the world and those friggin' little dots will tell me that everything is just peachy. Stupid dots ...

February 14, 2007 10:26 AM  
Blogger David said...

Definitely deep breathing works for me. Any kind of exercise that requires concentration takes my mind off things and usually has me in a better mood by the end of it. But I also think part of it is genetic. I'm a naturally cheery person. It's hard for me to stay in a funk. Others find it hard to get out of one. Cut yourself some slack.

February 15, 2007 4:46 PM  

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