Empty Rooms are Honest Places

By Darrel Wang

Let’s talk about the different types of stress that can (and do) affect us.image1

First, let’s get started with physical stress – exercise-induced stress, to be more specific. We’ve all been through it… 2 minutes into a 1-Mile Time Trial  where we came out too quickly and can’t maintain this bat-out-of-hell pace. Your mind races with negativity and thoughts of throwing in the towel for the workout. What do you do in that situation? Go home, crawl into bed, and start Monday over tomorrow? Surely not.

There’s a lesson to be learned in every mistake that is made. With the above example, you now know that the pace or effort put forth was not sustainable – lesson learned. Next time, we’ll be a better judge of our own capabilities. This holds even truer when your training partner calls in sick and you’re in the gym all by yourself. In the words of my favorite singing duo, Penny & Sparrow, “Empty rooms are honest places.”

Next, let’s talk about mental stressors: work projects, family issues, or financial burdens. All of these cases are surely to arise at some point or another. If you go into the real world thinking that mother earth and her occupants owe you something, you’re in for a terribly rude awakening.  

“Darrel, if I know stress is going to come knocking on my door, how can I prepare for it?”

To be prepared to face stress, we need to understand that just because circumstances are bad now doesn’t mean that they’ll last forever. But, in all reality, the daunting face of stress will rear its ugly head and hang around for a little bit. This is relatable to sitting in a dark room – don’t worry, your eyes, at some point, will adapt to the darkness. Sometimes it’s acceptable to not go seeking for the pinprick of light in a dark room. Sometimes it’s healthy and character-developing to accept discomfort.

To be clear, none of us are saying that you should let yourself be upset for an extended period of time – enough is enough and you know yourself better than anybody else. Know when to turn the page.

So, to answer your question, the response back to stress knocking at your door would be, “Hey old friend, I wasn’t expecting you today, but come on in.”

Here are some things we can do to manage stress:

1 – Breathe. Deeply and often. 10 breaths can change your whole state of mind.

2 – Expect adversity and expect to overcome it.

3 – Fail. Take notes, create a game plan, and fail better next time.

4 – Meditate. ‘nuff said.

5 – Phone a friend. Cliché, but expressing your feelings with somebody who is close to you may help you unwind and break down the frustrating situation.

6 – Change. If you can’t change the stressor, change the way you feel about it.

We here at Shift care for each and every single one of you. Speaking as somebody who has lost dear friends to depression, reach out. No matter what time, no matter what form of contact, find one of us. Don’t let physical or mental stress get the best of you. Instead, use that stress to help you be the best you.