As is well documented on this blog (as well as on my credit card statements…), I have fairly recently become a regular yoga practitioner. As someone who is inflexible, yoga is beneficial for me because it helps me to stretch out my muscles and slowly gain some flexibility. As an exercise, yoga is great because after a long day of basically doing nothing but sitting on my butt, it’s really hard to get myself excited to do anything too strenuous.
I mean, sitting at a desk all day is hard. Now you want me to come home and jog or lift weights or whatever? Yeah, I don’t think so.
It’s much easier to mentally prepare myself for yoga after a long day in Corporate America™. Not only is yoga good for you physically, but it’s also very good for people like me who stress out over Every. Little. Thing. I do yoga because I want to become a go-with-the-flow Type B, even though I am hopelessly Type A.
Seriously, if they gave out a prize for having a constant stress response for absolutely no reason whatsoever, I would need more space on my walls for awards and trophies…as well as several different social media pages for my various fan clubs…that I would constantly stress about maintaining.
What do I worry about, you may ask? The list includes (but is not limited to): things that are currently happening in my life, things that happened in the past, things that may one day happen, and things that will probably never happen. In short: ALL OF THE THINGS.
I honestly don’t believe that I hold grudges, but my good memory coupled with the fact that I feel all of the feelings and all of the stress all of the time means that I acutely remember a lot of things that happened in my past and can recall exactly how I felt about them.
Remember that thing you said/did to me that one time? No? Well, I shouldn’t either, but I do…and no matter how hard I try to forget it, it keeps taking up the space that I could use for better, more important things. Like coming up with blog post topics…
You know how Type B people are always telling Type A people to not stress out about the worst-case scenario because that scenario will never happen? Yeah well, I don’t even think of the worst case scenario…thinking of any mildly unpleasant scenario will throw me into a stressed-out tizzy.
Have you ever gotten in a scuffle with someone on the internet? So inconsequential, right? It was probably someone that you didn’t even know. Just a small blip on the radar of your life. Yeah, interactions like that take me days to get over. I just keep replaying them in my head ad nauseum, wondering if I could’ve said something smarter or snarkier. “Why didn’t I say [insert sassy thing here]. That really would’ve gotten to them!”
Although, in reality, probably it wouldn’t have…because they aren’t stressing and overthinking for hours after like I am!
But this extends to everything — something small that happens on the road when I’m driving, my daily routine getting thrown slightly out of whack. At this point, when something mildly inconvenient happens to me, I just approach it with the thought that it’s going to throw me off for most of my day, and to try and recognize that I probably won’t even feel upset about it tomorrow.
Our office is moving into a different building this year, and while I was looking at the (awesome) pictures of the new building, I thought, “Wow, this is such a huge change that I just know that I’m going to cry about.” But then I realized that for some people, it would just be a change of scenery and commute and very few people would be crying about a building. Only when you assign way too much meaning and significance to something does it become a big deal. And assigning way too much meaning to things is my specialty.
The strangest thing, though, is that my brain is selectively stressed about infinitesimally small things. Have an awkward conversation with the Starbucks barista? Everything is the worst, and I’m going to agonize for hours and hours. Got to the airport late and missed my flight? Oh well, crap happens. I’ll just get on the next flight to my destination or somewhere near there. No big deal. It’s like my system is just too overloaded to care about absolutely anything else. It waves the white flag and retreats.
This journey in becoming Type B has made me some strange combination of Leslie Knope and Ron Swanson. I go back and forth constantly between passionately caring about all of the things and trying not to care about all of the things. The only thing that my mood swings can agree on is that breakfast food is the best.
Have you ever actively tried to not care about stuff? It’s really hard. Spending all of your energy caring about all of the things and then subsequently forcing yourself to not care about all of the things takes a lot out of you.
I find it crazy that there are some people who can just not care without even trying. While some people are trying to emulate the Elon Musks and the Oprah Winfreys of the world, I’m just trying to become more like the honey badger that doesn’t give a damn.
I’ve come to realize that I can’t really combat chronic stress without regular stress management. There is no short-term cure when your sympathetic nervous system switches on for every little thing. So I struggle every day to find the things that help me to actually slow down and stop overthinking and try to incorporate them into my life.
And that’s why I’m writing this blog. 🙂
How about you? Are you Type A or Type B? What helps you to calm down and enjoy life?