Positive Stress

This month’s column will be an examination of positive stress because I have just been through a month of it!

What is positive stress?  It is the discomfort that positive change brings us: the tension and anxiety we experience whenever happy, constructive things happen which produce a change in our environment or our selves.  Let’s list some: buying a new home, getting married, getting hired for a job, bringing home a new dog, buying new electronics of any kind.  And that is where my story begins.

It started out simply enough.  The printer died and was not repairable.  The new one was not compatible with an essential software program I use to bill insurance companies, plus there were a few small problems with the computer, so off they both went to get fixed up.  When the computer returned with a few upgrades, some of the other software no longer worked.  Back for more work, it returned again with an upgraded operating system and now other software does not work.

Then the day after my computer returned for the second time, my cell phone (my only phone) started actively dying so I raced to AT&T for a new phone and left with a Blackberry which is akin to me buying a 747 airplane when I wanted a kite.  That day, and for many days, I relied on the online tutorials to help me with the phone. “How do I turn it on?  Where is the dial pad?  How do I make a call and then press a number for an extension when the dial pad disappears once the phone call goes through?  What ‘s that blinking light about and how do I shut it off?”  And my favorite tutorial, Shortcuts, to make my phone experience easier turned out to be 3 pages of single line directions for shortcuts! OMG!

So I talked myself through it all “Just think of how I will be able to do so much more with my phone” and “Wow, I need to buckle up my seatbelt before I turn on this computer!” even though I never used even 25% of my last non-smartphone and I was quite content with my desktop computer when it was slower and more familiar.

So what is the point of this rant?  It is to point out that my experience was completely colored by my attitude.  On the days when I felt helpless and out of control, I was miserable and victim-y.  On the days I chose to see it all as a grand adventure, I felt in charge, forward-looking and full of anticipation of how I will be able to master these devices for my own betterment.  I had little control over these electronic devices but I had much control over me, and the choice I made each day (or hour) determined my experience of that moment.

I encourage you to begin experimenting with changing your attitude to have a different experience with something challenging in your life.