I hate junk mail, spam, forwards, chain letters…etc. As soon as I see the letters FW or FWD I hit delete. If I get email from someone I don’t know, delete; email from my foward-happy, afraid-of-breaking-chain-letters friend, delete. But the other day I got an email forward from a friend that doesn’t normally forward emails, so I figured it must be something good.

Unlike most forwards, this one actually resonated with me. It started off with a lecturer holding a glass of water and asking the students how much it weighed. Students answered with varying weights, but the lecturer stated that the weight wasn’t important. If he had been holding the glass for 10 seconds the weight would be relatively insignificant. But if he had been holding the glass for 24 hours, someone may need to call a doctor.

He went on to relate the glass of water to stress. Stress starts to affect people in terrible ways when they hold onto the stress for long periods of time. Just like the glass of water stress can be relatively insignificant if you’re only holding onto it for short periods of time. But if you hold onto stress for too long you start to feel the weight of that stress.

I thought this was a great analogy because when the subject of stress comes up I always respond that I don’t get stressed. But from reading that email forward, I realized that I do get stressed; I just don’t hold onto the stress long enough for it to have any real effect on me.

This may be beating a dead horse but stress can and does have detrimental effects on our health. These include hypertension, depression, diabetes, hair loss, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety disorder, sexual dysfunction, heart disease, obesity and ulcers…to name a few.

I know it’s tough to let go of the things that stress you out (job, kids, co-workers, parents, money, big projects, little projects, spouse, ex-spouse, stalker) but you have to find a moment or two to just let go. You can do anything from taking a few deep breaths to taking a month-long vacation. And don’t be afraid to ask for help with your stress. Just talking about it can help. See if you can get someone to share the load with you, even if it’s temporary.

See, if I asked you to carry a glass of water for a whole day, you shouldn’t worry about how much your arm is going to hurt. You can always put the glass down and pick it back up. Do yourself a favor and do the same with your stress. Put it down for a little while. You can always pick it up later (after your arm stops hurting).

Until next time, cheers to a better you!

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