My Wellness Coach suggested I do some meditation to reduce my stress levels. I researched and finally came up with a plan (because I plan everything). My plan looked like this:
* Pray during my shower
* Read my daily scripture devotions at work (it come in my email every morning).
* During lunch recount at least 2 things I’m thankful for.
* Select my daily meditation focus word/phrase (I have a set of flash cards and a little book)
* Use that word/phrase during my drive home (sit in the car in the garage for 5-10 minutes to finish)
* Count my blessings in a prayer of thanksgiving before bed
So I had already been doing the prayers and the scripture devotions and just added the other stuff. Three weeks later I had to evaluate the effectiveness of my new meditation regimen. I was disappointed. It really didn’t help reduce my feelings of stress, at least not in a permanent or long lasting way. I found that as soon as I resumed my normal activities the stress jumped back up. I could only hold the tension at bay while actively engaged in prayer and active meditation. I thought I had failed. But the Wellness Coach had a different perspective. After discussing the sources of my stress and evaluating the circumstances of heightened stress, she suggested that the stress was exacerbated by my lack of control over the situations. As an alternative to meditation, she suggested I set boundaries and created a “zone of control”. What the heck is a zone of control you ask (as did I)? In short it is an area where I have absolute control, with imaginary rings (like ripples in the water) of lesser control radiating from the central area. Therefore as of this morning I’m staking out my zones of control.
1. My office – it is mine and everything therein is under my absolute control. DO NOT TOUCH MY STAPLER!
2. The locker room – there are several areas which I control exclusively (bulletin boards, locker, uniform bin)
3. My animal rooms – I share responsibility with another and we take turns.
4. The break room – is a shared space and although I have a spot in the refrigerator that I favor there is no guarantee I can put my stuff in that exact place (unless I get there first).
Knowing that as I move about my day there are areas where I can exert control, gives me an illusion of order and control. Sort of an umbrella against the chaos of the day… It just might be a paisley umbrella with a squirrel carved handle!