Breathe, Stretch, Shake, Let It Go: How I Learned Not To Lose My Mind Over Things I Can’t Control

October 2, 2012  |  

I sat across from my mother as a million and one thoughts and images flashed through my head. Our lovely Saturday afternoon lunch outing had just gone south as I learned that my checking account had been hacked and for the last three days someone had been going on unauthorized shopping sprees at my expense. I put my head in my hands as I moaned and groaned something about people who chose to steal from others instead of earning an honest living. The more I thought about it, the more upset I got. This had never happened to me before. I felt so violated. As I scrolled down the list of my most recent transactions on my banking app, I grew more and more angry. “The nerve of this person,” I thought to myself. As crazy as it sounds, I even began drudging up an image in my mind of the person who had broken into my account by looking at the different purchases they made. My mom eventually talked me off the ledge and I calmed down long enough to call the bank and explain what happened. They quickly put a hold on my account and reassured me that my money would be returned to my bank account within a couple of business days. For some reason though, I didn’t let out the loud sigh of relief that one would expect me to. I actually didn’t feel relieved at all. I knew all along that the bank would refund my money, but that wasn’t really my concern. It was the fact that it even happened to me in the first place that upset me the most. I had taken this unfortunate occurrence way too personally, which is something I seemed to do pretty often.

Red and itchy hives began to appear on my arms and legs, which seemed to be something that had been happening more frequently when I found myself getting extremely worked up about something. I released a loud sigh on my drive home as I realized that my “mini soap opera” had been over for almost thirty minutes, yet, I had allowed myself to get so worked up my body was still reacting to it. “This can’t be healthy,” I thought to myself.

By stressing and internalizing every little thing I was not only putting my mental and emotional health at risk, but my physical health as well. As a young woman, there are so many things that I desire to experience and accomplish. I wish to enjoy life in its full capacity and certainly do not want to be hindered by stress-induced illnesses. During that drive home I made a promise to myself. I promised myself that I would try my best to refrain from stressing over things I had no control over. A scripture from Matthew 6:27 quickly came to mind, which reads, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” Although I read that scripture several times before, in that single moment it put so much into perspective. Worrying never really changed anything and stressing never made anything better. These behaviors are actually often counterproductive.

Do you find yourself stressing over things you have no control over?

Jazmine Denise is a freelance writer living in New York. Follow her on Twitter @jazminedenise

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