February is the month of love, it’s also heart month. Like other body parts, it’s so easy to forget about what keeps us alive, unless it pounds after you’ve done something strenuous or something’s wrong with it. Stress is something that affects our whole bodies including our hearts, so it’s important to try to learn to manage our stress. Even if it’s not possible in this world we live in to be completely stress free, I still think there are some choices we can make that help us better manage our stress, and better control how much stress-inducing things have access to us.
The other day on the radio I heard a lady sharing about how she had turned off more of the notifications on her phone. I love silent notifications (no sound, no vibration), because they’re not as intrusive, but they do communicate updates to you that you can see instantly when you check your phone. If you’re looking at your phone you’ll know they’re there, but otherwise you aren’t constantly interrupted (or stressed out) by pings and other sounds. Yes, it’s important to be part of a community and stay connected, and we do have phones today because of how connected and in-touch with each other we are. But let’s be honest, if you’re expecting an important email or other message, there’s a good chance you’re checking your phone every 5 minutes anyway and the ping won’t be necessary. And if there’s something you absolutely need to know about like an sick child you would get a phone call. Just about everything else that comes with a notification can wait an hour or six until you’ve got a minute to check.
The idea here is that rather than letting the world control you, you take back some of the control. Much of how stress is created has to do with feeling out of control and overwhelmed, and when you let the world (or your phone) run everything, it’s easy to increase stress. So go ahead and make your own rules for how often you check the news and what news you see and how much you see. Make your own rules for your phone and what notifications you get and how much you do on it. Make your own rules for emails and other communication (as long as you’re productive, of course). Make your own rules for social media and how much time you spend there, the people you’re connected to and the content you see. Taking control of even these little things can help you reduce some of your stress and make more victories in your life.