Monday, September 24, 2012

Managing Stress

Set Worries Down

The instructor of a stress management class walked into the room holding out a half glass of water. Everyone in the class thought they knew what was coming: “Is the glass half full or half empty?”

But the instructor surprised the students by asking with a smile, “How heavy do you think this glass of water is?”  People called out answers ranging from 6 ounces to 20 ounces.

The teacher replied, “It changes.  It depends on how long I hold it—the absolute weight doesn’t matter.  If I hold it a minute, it is light.  If I hold it an hour, it is heavy and I will have an ache in my arm.  If I hold it for a day, it will be too heavy to lift and I will drop it. 

“It seems the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.  If, however, I set it down when it feels heavy and rest a while, I have the strength to hold it again.

“It is the same way with stress,” she said.  “If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, the burden becomes too heavy and we won’t be able to carry on.

“Just like with the glass of water, you have to put down your burdens for a while and rest before shouldering them again.  When you are refreshed, you will be able to take up the burden, stronger again.”

So, put aside your burdens whenever you can; they will still be there after you have rested and you will be able to carry on as strong as ever.

This article was originally published in Pathways Residential Care Journal - Issue 4.  To download this issue in PDF format, or past issues, visit our newsletter archives online at

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