It goes without saying that we’ve all got stress in our lives. Small daily stressors that we can’t avoid like traffic jams, running out of milk or finding a snag in our favourite tights (yes I know, #firstworldproblems. Don’t think I don’t know how blessed I am, things could be so much worse). But some of the stress in our lives can be avoided; the question is: should it?
I wrote a while ago about my own stress with my dogs – they go crazy when they see other dogs. In the grand scheme of things this is not a big deal, and I know that accepting the fact that it happens is good for me. When we accept that something is outside of our control, it really helps not become upset over it – at least that is true for me.
But today I had a conversation with my hubby about whether or not it is better to face these kind of things head on, or to avoid them if at all possible. In my case, it meant that rather than take my dogs for a spin around the block so they can do their business (and possibly encounter another pooch innocently doing the same), I am often opting to instead take them out in the backyard for 15 – 20 minutes where they can do their thing but also as we say – get their ya-ya’s out (translation: expend that beagle energy for running around and sniffing stuff). Plus, we have a fantastic backyard overlooking a ravine and I love getting out there to enjoy it.
My husband suggested that I confront my anxiety by taking the dogs out in the neighbourhood, he suggested it might help me “get over it”. I suggested instead it would help me polish off another bottle of wine upon my return as I don’t relish these over-exuberant encounters with our neighbours (kids: this is not a good coping mechanism – do as I say and not as I do!).
But this got me thinking – which is the better coping strategy? Am I better off avoiding the situations that cause me stress, when possible? Or should I just take the attitude of ‘damn the torpedoes!’ and head out there to face my problems head on?
I’m not a psychologist and I don’t have an answer to this question. But more and more in life, I feel like I need to choose my battles. This means knowing myself and making choices that, realistically, will make me the happiest. The reality is that confrontations cause me anxiety – so why not avoid them? I know they are sometimes inevitable in life, so I figure I’m just saving up my patience for the times when I will truly need it. Plus, I drink less wine — or, I just save up my wine drinking for times when I truly need it, too. 🙂
What do you think? Boldly go where the barking dogs have gone before? Or cherish the zen when I can?