Setting limits can help lessen stress and reduce the impact of network news.
My grandmother Mur used to say, “If it weren’t for bad luck, I wouldn’t have any at all,” then she would coyly giggle. Having been born in 1912, she certainly learned to deal with many difficult events and manage – or learn to accept – things as they occurred. I never realized it but I learned a few things from Mur that have helped me in life.
Establishing limits with children, family, volunteering or friends, I have managed to pull myself back or pull them back when needed. I once got so involved in giving my time, money and gas that I was becoming stressed out and felt as though I was running at break-neck speed just to keep up.
Another example of limits I set with the children was with my belongings. Chelsey and Katie were very studious and active crafters and my office supplies or tools would disappear and I would have to search high and low until I located the items. They were not stealing they were borrowing and forgetting to put things back.
As an example: while volunteering and doing other activities required a lot of writing with ink pens. I could not find any of my medium tip black pens. A search of both girl’s rooms and Mr. Ramirez’s turned up more than a dozen of my pens. Limiting everyone from taking without asking helped lessen my stress and rein in my runaway office supplies.
Limits are quite versatile; I have been setting limits on worry from my early teens. My grandmother Mur used to worry so much that my family dubbed her a “worry wart.” I was determined not to worry so I would not become a worry wart— what an ugly name! I would set aside a specific time during the week to worry. Worry would take about thirty minutes to an hour of my time.
There have been several terrible things in the news lately, namely the shooting in Connecticut. Within minutes of the shooting, comments and pictures popped up on Facebook and the news was almost non-stop news. The networks named the people, showed photographs of the children and then the mentally ill shooter. I felt very bad for everyone connected to the event but I pulled myself back; I deleted the pictures and avoided the network news like the plague.
The recent fire that took 19 firefighters’ lives was very unfortunate and sad; each had families and children. The odd thing is that I reacted differently to the horrible news; I was able to read and hear about the event without fighting a compulsion to block those events out. What was the difference? The Connecticut shootings were deliberate actions of an angry, mentally ill person; the firefighters were performing their duties in the context of normal risks— it was the accidental deaths.
Like Mur, I thought long and hard about those events and once I discovered the reason I was so upset, I was able to deal with the news. I find needless deaths that were caused on purpose to be an event I cannot bathe in useless sadness.
My thoughts are disjointed today… How about you? How do you manage emotions that piggy-back these types of events?
Jackie Saulmon Ramirez has served as a volunteer with Parents Anonymous® of New Jersey, Inc. for more than twenty years, giving and getting support. Find her at her contact page.