May 1, 2012

PREF: How I Defuse Stress and Anxiety

It seems like everybody's scrambling. I think most people are so stressed out they forget about patience, could care less about anyone else's problems and while we're at, nobody sleeps at night either.

This past year I found myself spinning in the same relentless cycle. At some point driving from point A to point B and flipping out because I was not going to be on time, I realized that all I could do was be prepared and plan and then I had to let go. Else go on blood pressure medication.

After some thought, I came up with the acronym, PREF:

F-Flex (As in, be flexible!)

PREF-ing with some friends. 2009

I came to understand that we're doing it all wrong. For some reason, "relaxing" doesn't happen until everything is over, said and done. Why? All it does is give us gray hair! As long as we plan and prepare our days and weeks, there's no reason to fall apart when the rest of the world does. I've learned to do the best I can and then just take a long, deep breath. I relax, even as I'm executing my day. Of course, I have to take a second breath sometimes and remind myself to be flexible. We can't control the universe. Things happen.

Since imprinting PREF into my subconsciousness, I handle stress a lot better. I'm able to remind myself I've done all I can and it's time to carry out the plan with a smile on my face, even if things change. My recent foray into fitness (I'm up to 2.1 miles now!) and trying to eat healthy seem to help, too.

My parents PREF-ing on the front porch.
There are some days I'd be better off writing PREF on my hand in black Sharpie, but for the most part, this little mantra really helps me uncoil when I feel myself getting all wound up. Try it. Memorize the steps, and see if it helps you get through your day. And remember, "relax" is step two!

P.S. Don't forget the dark chocolate. Up to 1.6 ounces a day!

Try some melted dark chocolate over plain air popped popcorn for a healthy, relaxing snack. I love this treat. It's divine!

~Danielle Thorne


Anne Patrick said...

Great advice, Danielle. I hope things have calmed down in your life. Congrats on the two miles. That's fantastic! Since I run like Forrest Gump, I'll stick to hiking ;). I wish you continued success, my friend!

Cindy A Christiansen said...

Great blog. Something I needed to hear today. (lol)
I'm blogging about gratitude. Same concept: TAKE THE TIME TO APPRECIATE WHAT YOU HAVE.
Thanks, Danielle.

StephB said...

Dani, I think you're spot on with the advice. I find that planning helps me out a lot, but there is an element of flexablity you have to have or you'll go gray. Glad to see it's working for you.

Any summer vacation plans? *wink*


Danielle Thorne said...

Thanks for stopping by, ya'll. I hope the acronym helps you out some time. I really am learning to be more flexible, Steph. Maybe it's just old age and not caring anymore, haha.

The Thorne family has a trip planned to the Pacific Northwest this year. Very excited.

Tina Pinson said...

We all do need to take that break. I add prayer to that mix. And I can honestly say I love that rest. Nap, nap, nap. Crawl into that dark room of your mind and let the world slip away. It may still be there when you get back, but now you might be able to have a clearer outlook.
It is pretty amazing how good DARK chocolate is for the body.

thanks for sharing.

I just thought I would comment as well that I could be a very smart Robot putting in those strange security words that most humans can't decipher and no one would know. LOL

E.A. West said...

Wonderful advice, Danielle! PREF is going up on my office wall and possibly a few other places as a reminder that relaxing is a good thing, even in the midst of working on however many projects. I've learned in the past that taking a little time for myself actually increases my productivity. Maybe by posting PREF in a prominent place, I'll remember to follow the advice more often.

Now I just need to get some dark chocolate and popcorn. That snack looks delicious!

Angela Britnell said...

Great advice there and being a dark chocolate fan before it was fashionable I'm thrilled everyone's finally realized its benefits!

Danielle Thorne said...

Hope you enjoy the popcorn, EA--it sure makes me feel better.

Ms. Tina, you are so right. Prayer is definitely an important part of the mix. I imagine most of the time when we are pref-ing, we are praying, too. ;)

Danielle Thorne said...

@Angela... I am so glad dark chocolate is good for me! ;)

Gail Pallotta said...

Good advice for us, Danielle. Thanks for sharing. Our world is too busy for sure, and you're right, it doesn't mean we have to be. I'm glad things are slowing down for you and hope they stay that way. The chocolate's a great idea. I think I'll have some right now.

Miss Mae said...

Yes, we've got to relax somehow in this crazy world we live in, and what can be better than dark chocolate? :) Seriously, though, I keep reminding myself, "This day won't matter a hundred years from now, so let it go." And then I carry a cloak of relaxed faith too. :)

But, um...stress didn't give me gray hair at 13! LOL Unless it was because I couldn't make that Last Train to Clarksville and visit the Monkees. Hmm....

Sherry Gloag said...

Love your mantra, will try it out :-) Great post.

Destiny Booze, Novelist said...

I love this blog! Great acronym. But, I am glad you remembered to add in the chocolate! lol

Celia Yeary said...

Danielle--I think you've hit on the perfect way to relax--you should copyright it. I like the popcorn+chocolate idea. Maybe I'll try that one first.

Diane Craver said...

Hi Danielle,
Great post - thanks for sharing. We all need to relax. Have a wonderful evening!