Stress and Coping: Are you finding Life to be a rough ride at present?

If so, how do you keep your (metaphorical) tyres pumped up (in the wild ride through your life), especially at this time of year?

This morning I was speaking to a close friend who is currently under a lot of pressure – both at work and at home. Usually he is a full of bounce, with an ascerbic wit and a lighthearted and often irreverant take on Life. Today, however, I could tell that he was not his usual self – he sounded irritated and frustrated, with none of his usual sense of fun or enjoyment of life. What I noticed, too, was that when he was desribing his recent interactions with important people in his life, like his wife for instance, that he was not showing his usual levels of warmth, understanding and empathy. It was as though he was “running on empty”.

When I reflected upon this, what came to mind was an analogy of a driver taking part in a race through harsh terrain. At times the ride is fun, at times challenging and often also hard work – the obstacles can be daunting. The route can be tough, exhausting and at times the driver will also lose the way. But ultimately there is (hopefully) a sense of achievement that the perseverence involved was worth it and a lot has been learnt along the way.

If one’s vehicle is in good working order, the journey will be a great deal easier and the driver may even enjoy the whole experience, despite it being such a tough challenge.

Aren’t there strong parallel’s with Life? I felt strongly that in my friend’s case, the recent stressors he has been experiencing have mounted up. If we take the analogy of the car, each experience of stress (which is largely unconscious) is asif a certain amount of air is escaping from the tyres – too much will have the effect that each bump in the road jars the spine. Very soon the race is not enjoyable anymore, but becomes somewhat of an ordeal to be endured. Perspective is lost. too. No longer can one think about the race as a whole in relation to all the other races. Instead, attention is focused solely on “holding on”.

So what aspects of your life contribute to deflating your car tyres?

What serves to keep these tyres pumped up and your vehicle in good working order, ready for the challenges ahead?

And how can you lessen the impact of the stress in your life?

I will suggest some answers to these questions in my next post.





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