When I started my doctoral program a faculty member told us success is not about how smart you are, but how well you can manage your stress.

This has always stayed in my head as I go through this program. Sometimes it’s negative- if success is based on managing my stress I’m screwed! I often don’t feel like I manage stress well.

I try to work on focusing on positives though. And sometimes I am able to look at certain things and think, I can get through this. This was the case a few weeks ago.

I had a bad day. I was finishing up a powerpoint and trying to email it out for my class the next day when my computer started acting up and then wouldn’t work at all. I spent several hours fighting with it only to decide it wasn’t going to work so I got ready for the day and headed out to campus to redo it on a computer in the doc student office (I hadn’t backed up the powerpoint on my flashdrive or online drive yet). By then it’s about 5am and my class starts at 9:30am. It’s not until I’m at the office on campus that I discover my key is missing.

So I have no choice at that point but to go back home and back to plan A: get my computer working again.

There was no way I could pass unless I did well on this presentation. And there was part of me at this point feeling like, why am I even bothering? I’m not going to get this worked out, I’m going to fail this class, I might as well just go crawl in bed now and forget spending the next couple hours stressing out and no point going to class!

But I didn’t give in to that and managed to get my computer working except the mousepad, but then it’s past 6am and meijer is open then so I go buy a new usb mouse. I got my powerpoint working and sent out, went to class, did my presentation, and did well on it.

This was all, however, following a really bad month or so. Which is why my blog hasn’t been very active- haven’t been getting much of anything done.

My health has been really bad. I spent a long time in bed, too exhausted to do anything, in constant pain, nauseous and throwing up all the time. Getting anything done was basically not possible.During this time I’ve had small periods were I was feeling slightly better for a few hours here and there, but it was always short lived. I obviously wasn’t working out, I was falling behind in school, and honestly with things that bad I don’t even see the point of living. Because exhausted and too sick to do anything at all doesn’t really feel like living to me. So by the time I had that bad day, I was already feeling pretty defeated and hopeless, not to mention exhausted and sick.

Ironically my presentation was (in part) on a therapeutic technique that focuses on positives (solution focused therapy), with the idea that people may find solutions by focusing on times they don’t experience their problem rather than focusing on the problem.

Now there is some research suggesting this technique is not as effective as those who use it claim, and some of the specifics were not useful to physical illness imo. For example when doing solution focused therapy with someone with depression you would have them describe a good day, then they would predict if they next day or good or not. If they predict it’s not they are challenged to do something they would normally only do on a good day. This may work for some people with depression, but it doesn’t fit for when you want to things you do on good days but are physically incapable as is the case with many chronic conditions.

Despite that it still got me thinking about this issue of focusing on positives and times things work out. Focusing on times that things work out for me, that I feel I have managed my stress effectively, I feel like it all just comes back to resiliency. To a willingness to keep moving forward even when everything is going wrong.

Assuming you read this far you might be wondering what this has to do with this blog. Well for one, I blog about my struggles with chronic illness here. But also I was thinking how this applies to just about everything, not just school. And it’s the same thing I’ve talked a lot about in this blog with my mentality toward fitness. Working out with chronic illnesses for me means things will never really go smoothly, there will be setbacks, times I have to take a break, but it’s all about just pushing forward despite that.

fyi my computer still isn’t working well, especially my keyboard, so hopefully I managed to catch all the problems when I was writing this but if not…. sorry.

  1. insideoutfitnesshoodriver says:

    All of living is dependent on “managing “! #Thetrainer

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