Big Month

So, it’s been a while.

This past month and a bit has been filled with unexpected and not often pleasant circumstances, which have kept me away.

I will not go into detail except for one item.

My brother-in-law passed away last week.  It was quite sudden and unexpected, he went into the hospital quite sick, and a week later he was gone.

I mention this only because for me it brought to light a few things that seemed quite significant.

Number 1 – life is short, every day is precious and we need to live our lives while we can.

Number 2 – something about all this happiness “stuff” that I’m doing must be working, because my stress level did not go through the roof, despite little sleep and highly emotional events.

Less than a year ago, things that were much more trivial than this were stressing me out much more.

So what kept me so even keeled?

Well I did a seminar this past Tuesday on stress and realized there that everything I was talking about as ways to deal with and release stress, were things that I had been doing.

First – because we did know a couple days ahead of time that he was dying, that gave everyone time to see him and do what they needed to do to “say good-bye”.  For myself,  I did not say those words, in fact I said very little, but I was able  to accept that this was happening (then had happened) quite quickly.

And since in my mind there are only two real ways of eliminating a stressor – one being to change it, the other being to accept it, that part was completed.

But I was also around family a lot in that time (my in-laws mostly) and social support is another way to help deal with stress.

I also took lots of little mental vacations – distracting myself with thoughts of a new play I was writing – which helped to calm down me and get me back to “level” for a time.

Finally, and what I consider to be most important, I laughed as much as I could.

Now I know you are probably thinking that this seems insensitive.  Well don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.

Mostly I was laughing when I was alone, going through laughter exercises to create some laughter if needed.  But also during those times helping the family out, there would be moments of laughter that would spring up.  I now know that laughter is something that happens in times of great stress, because it helps people to cope (some may call it hysterical laughter, but it’s really just a way to release built up stress – it’s either that or cry or sometimes both at the same time).

Now I did my share of crying too, don’t get me wrong.  And yes there were places that I did not laugh as that might have been taken as bad form, but whenever I got that chance, I laughed, and gave myself over to laughing, because I know it is such an effective way to release stress.

I’ll do another post on laughter and stress later.

I will end by saying … Bob, you will be missed, and wherever you are now, I hope you are able to find some laughter.

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