Wednesday, August 28, 2013

From Stress to Serenity in 10 Seconds - The Power of Personal Strengths

U.S. Mail in my community is served by a central outdoor shelter that houses hundreds of keyed mailboxes. Round-trip, it's a five-mile errand.

The other day I grabbed my keys and sunglasses and told my wife I was going to get the mail. "Oh, while you're at it, would you return that rug to Lowes and pick up a couple things at the grocery store?" she asked.

Ugh. Lowes is 12 miles from here. A much longer errand than I thought I was in for. But I knew why she asked. The rug was heavy.

So I loaded the rug into the car and took off.

Twenty minutes later I pulled into the Lowes parking lot, and I realized something important: I had forgotten to pick up my wallet. I had come all this way for nothing. I'd have to return home without having accomplished anything. And then repeat the errand! As if I had nothing else to do that day.

Don't imagine that my frustration went unexpressed. A four-letter word escaped from my mouth.

But I quickly calmed down as some realistic thoughts flooded into my head.

"It is what it is, and I can't change it. I'll do the only thing I can do right now, which is to return home." ACCEPTANCE

"I should have checked to make sure I had everything before I left. Actions have consequences, and I have no one to blame but myself." RESPONSIBILITY and ACCOUNTABILITY.

"I'll just go with it and do what I have to do." PATIENCE and EFFORT.

So my errand took twice as long to accomplish, but I was able to do it in a calm, low-stress way.

I even composed this blog post in my mind while I drove.

I've known people who lived with unrelieved, intense anger. They seemed to fume with anger and resentment all the time. They were no fun to be around! The three people I'm thinking about all died in their early 60s - a relatively young age, from my perspective.

It's not worth it!

I'm almost 70 years old, and if I get lucky I might live as long as my four grandparents did - meaning I have a quarter-century left to go.

I'm familiar with what's involved in the behavior patterns of acceptance, responsibility, accountability, patience and effort; so it was easy for me to consciously choose to exercise them.

And I know that the more you exercise them, the easier they get.

And that when you exercise them, life is a whole lot more pleasant and fulfilling.

Live long and prosper!

Post by Dennis E. Coates, Ph.D., Copyright 2013. Building Personal Strength .

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