In my short life as an inhabitant of Earth I have come to realize many things, one of which is the way in which the human brain functions. Let me say at the start that I am no neuro scientist or surgeon. Yet sometimes I think that I get tired of thinking, and sometimes I think that I can stop thinking about thinking. Of course this is impossible.
The brain is in a constant state of thinking, of processing raw data it receives and then trying to interpret that in appropriate ways crucial to our survival. The incredible thing is that all data received never leaves our brain, but is stored in vast archives; essentially this means that the older one gets, the fuller one’s brain becomes. Fortunately the brain has enough archival capacity to retain a lifetime (and more) of information, and in most cases, has the capacity to process it all.
This process is dependent upon a very fine and infinitely calculated mix of chemicals that should be kept in an equally perfect balance. The one thing that that can upset this perfect balance is what we loosely refer to as “stress”. So where does stress come from? Well, in a perfect world, a “Garden of Eden” or “Utopia” stress doesn’t exists since everything in that place is in perfect balance. When everything simply “works” without a hitch or problem, a perfect environment exists. Unfortunately we are bound to Earth, where things are rarely in perfect balance. Since the human brain was designed for optimal performance in a perfect world, I am sure you understand the problem we face!
“Stress” and “Earth” are virtually synonymous. If you agree with this, then you will also agree that the only way for us to survive and have any semblance or normalcy, is simply to manage that stress. Pastor and motivational speaker, Mark Gungor, speaks on the basic differences in the brains of men and women. While this is a generalization, it does help us understand something about the brain and helps us in managing relationships. Men are “project” and “task” focussed, so their brains process information and data in “boxes”. These boxes are not inter-dependent, but function in isolation. The female brain on the other hand, is likened to a ball of spaghetti, with infinitely complex inter-relation between seemingly unconnected events. While a man has the ability to escape to a “nothing box” (I-am-not-really-thinking-about-anything-while-I-am-thinking-about-everything) there is no such relief for the female of our species.
Using Gungor’s analogy, I am able in some way to make sense of the process of managing stress. Remember, even if you are single and alone on a deserted island, stress will be present; What is a tsunami hits my island? What if it doesn’t rain and I have no fresh water? What is my palm tree fails to produce food?
Whichever way you are inclined to think and process thoughts, either “boxed” or “spaghetti”, stress must be managed in small packets. If we see STRESS as the big monster, then we will need to “kill” it off in smaller pieces. Trying to attack this monster when it is in full destroyer mode, is equal to suicide, or at the very least, insanity. So, for the box-thinkers out there, take a stressful situation one at a time, and turn that space/incidence/situation into a Garden of Eden. One situation at a time. One person at a time. One problem at a time. Eat away at the monster and diminish it in size. For the spaghetti-brains out there, remember that when cooking spaghetti you have to remove it from the pot and water, otherwise single strands soon become a type of mush or mash. So, take a single strand at a time, and deal with it. It’s inter-connectivity to another strand will be the next step in the process of eating the full bowl.
It all comes down to management. When we manage the smaller bits of a larger problem, we also help restore the delicate balance of chemicals needed for the process. While actively managing stress, we are actively working at resolving an issue, and really giving the brain the opportunity to assist us in attaining a “perfect space”. The object is not achieve a perfect world by the end of today, but rather to create a perfect spot in an otherwise imperfect world. Every victory we achieve increases that perfect space. But work at it, we must!
How do you manage your stress? Did you ever think it is possible?