Stress simply comes from not accepting the current moment, according to Oprah. I know what you are thinking, “That can’t be true! Stress is so much more than that!”
Driving down the highway in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, Austin area, Houston area is a stressful situations — people are honking, cars jumping in front of you, semi-trucks too close on either side, kids screaming in the back seat and no space to move over for the exit you wanted to take. That is stress! Or is it? What if we shifted our mindset and accepted there will be traffic, too many cars, too little space, tensions running high and people behaving in ways that are not helpful. This is traffic — just traffic. It happens every day. I will eventually manuever through it. It’s simply part of getting to where I want to go. Acceptance does seem to melt the stress away.
I’m running late to the office which cuts out my prep time for the first meeting of the day. I’m stressed, driving too fast, rehearsing how this happened and how stupid I am for letting it happen. Obviously, I haven’t accepted that I am running late. Don’t work on fixing it, ignore it, or berate it, just accept it. Okay, I’m late. This reduces my prep time. Take a deep breath. I will go into the first meeting as prepared as possible given the circumstances. Tada! Stress-away.
Accepting the moment reduces our blood pressure, relaxes our tense muscles, releases our anxiety. If this is true — stress is simply not accepting the current moment, what does it take to accept the moment? My boss is yelling at me. My taxes are due. My child is under-performing. Accepting the moment requires me to be fully present. I have to quit worrying about what comes next and be present for right now. All the “what ifs?” have to stop and I need to get real clear on “what is!”
The boss is upset. That’s all. He’s just upset. Let’s clarify exactly what he’s upset about.
The taxes are due. That’s all. It happens every year. Let’s get clear on what is needed to fill out the taxes.
The child is under-performing. That’s simply telling us to shift something. Let’s figure out what is needed.
Oprah has lived through some stress, or at least, things we would call stress. And yet she says, “All stress comes from resisting what is.” Accept or resist, it’s your choice.