Bob’s stress test story related in the previous blog adds another dimension to the stress bucket concept. In addition to avoiding too many high-stress situations at one time, it is also possible to diminish the level of intensity for high-stress situations or circumstances by not internalizing the stress and having a positive outlook. After a tornado, we see on TV interviews two types of people – the ones who say, “My life is ruined.” and the ones who say, “I’ll live through this and rebuild what I’ve lost.” The former are on a path of anxiety and perhaps depression; the latter on a path of accepting the good and bad of life and moving on.
This is not pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps thinking. It’s a way of looking at life for the experientially depressed and the clinically depressed (and I lived in both categories for four years) that lessens stress by what you think (cognitive behavioral therapy) and your attitude on life. Remember that it’s not what happens to you that’s important; it’s what you think happens to you. Change your thinking and lessen your stress. And, oh yes, you may need medication to get you to a point of stability where you can think differently. That was part of my three-pronged path to the healing of my depression. Medication for my body, changing my thinking for my soul, and leaning on God for my spirit.