Stress Relief, an Apologia

An Apologia

Properly defined, an apologia is a formal defense of a position, or opinion. Today’s post isn’t that, it’s a little more colloquial. Don’t worry, we’ll get to that.

An Unselfish Act

Recently I wrote about the stress relief effects of selfishness, and selflessness. Short version, a selfish act such as taking a bit of time to yourself is actually an unselfish act, because it allows you to relieve your stress, which reduces the ripple out effect of your stress on those you love.

Conversely, a truly unselfish act, an act done for someone else, with no thought or expectation of personal gain, is a powerful way to reduce your stress.

Depression and Stress

Then last week I wrote about my bout with depression, and how the stresses of depression can send you into a vicious cycle, but that laughter proved a powerful tool to break the cycle, and end the depression.

Now that I’m out the other side, the bout with depression is no longer a source of stress. I’m back to being the husband and daddy my family deserve, and the engineer that my employer needs and hired. So it’s all good, right?

Ehhh, no.

My life is far more than just work and family. So is yours. So is everyone’s.

The trouble now is that this bout with depression cost me three weeks of my summer plans. I’m three weeks behind on:

  • My podcast
  • My course research
  • Creating my app
  • My kung fu training

Being behind on stuff, even if the deadlines are set by you and completely artificial, is a stressor in itself. At least it is for me.

What to Do?

So what am I to do? Easy, both problems, being behind and being stressed about it, have a single, simple solution; do something. So I did. What did I tell you about achieving success?

  • Start small
  • Start simple
  • Give yourself an easy win, and the dopamine hit from it
  • Build from there

On the weekend I had a chat about branding, and course building, with a man whose opinion I greatly value. On Monday I reached out to an entrepreneur friend to start the same conversation.

Also on Monday, I reached out to my course-building cohort at Mirasee. There I did two things, reach out for advice, and I made an offer to help anyone who was interested, you know, a selfish act, and an unselfish act.

An Apology

Finally, I reached out to someone who I had been ignoring through the depths of depression. I apologized, explained, and we arranged the meeting we’d been planning.

As I clicked “send” on that email, I felt physically better. Immediately. I had a very good reason for my behaviour, but she didn’t know it. And I knew she didn’t know it. And that knowledge weighed on me, and stressing me out. Sending that email making that apology lifted a weight off me, a weight I barely realized I was carrying.

Funny thing about negative emotions, they’re heavy. Anger, hatred, guilt? We say “you’re carrying” them, and it’s true. It takes energy to sustain those feelings and the best thing you can do for your life, your health and your mental well-being is to get rid of those things.

Let me say it again. Immediately after I apologized, I felt a weight lift off me, and I felt better. Even if the response was righteous anger, anger I deserved, I relieved myself of the burden of guilt I carried. And if the response was anger, then I would need to make amends. Fortunately I didn’t, she was very understanding.

So if the stress you’re feeling is from inaction, act.

If the stress you’re feeling is from guilt, apologize.

If the stress you’re feeling is from a debt, pay.