Once upon a time, I thought that stress was something you would feel, something that would consume your thoughts and fill your heart with worry. So when I didn’t think I was worried about something consciously, I assumed that I wasn’t experience stress. (Side note: I did learn about stress in psych classes in college…I just didn’t take the bit on stress to heart.)
But when I discovered that stress was forcing me into silence (see May/June 2011 posts), I realized that I was experiencing more stress than I thought about. Repeatedly, even while silent from muscle tension, I professed how much less stressed I felt than ever before! The aftermath brought a lot of lessons about what my body can take (whether or not I want my limits to be so placed).
The last few months have been a reminder of this. Of course, the transition of moving to a new country, starting a new job, etc. has been stressful. But I didn’t feel worried and everything went well…so when my arms and legs started tingling and feeling like they were going to sleep a few weeks in, I didn’t even consider that stress could be playing a part.
Instead, I googled it and came up with all sorts of terrible options for what could cause this symptom. A few weeks of wondering and trying not to worry passed, and I was grateful that it wasn’t super uncomfortable…but still. I was just about to go to the doctor when I talked with the physical therapist/trainer at school (who also happens to be dad to one of my students). It turns out that muscle tension was putting pressure on my nerves, which were then freaking out.
What’s the point of this? Stress can be sneaky.
Sometimes Often, my body does a better job of speaking up than my mind does. So my challenge is to heed the red flags and not power through the not-so-bad results, choosing instead to be grateful for peace in my heart and the two-by-fours of warning that I sometimes need!