25 Weeks of Rediscovery: What I’ve Learned About Stress

Posted January 30, 2015 by jimhigley

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(This is the fourth week of a six-month journey of self-discovery. Thanks for joining me. Earlier this week I shared Chapter 3 from my book, “Bobblehead Dad: 25 Lessons I Forgot I Knew.”  And yesterday we talked about how we model healthy behavior for our children.  Today we talk a little bit more about stress.. Come back next week for a new lesson and some new thoughts. 

Lesson 3: Clean your desk. Clear the clutter. Then focus. 

What have I learned about stress since my cancer detour?

Holy cow. We can either take the marathon journey on this one or a walk around the block version. And since I’m the one doing the writing, you’re going to get the walk-around-the-block version. (And besides, the marathon version would stress me out!)

For starters, the skills I learned from my father – you know, the “opening mail” approach to handling things – are still as good as gold. And hands down, the step that forces you to throw things away is unleashingly the best.

But I’ve learned some new things about dealing with stress, stressful situations and stress in relationships.

At the top of the list is that stress requires patience. And that’s one I’ve had to learn simply by living.

What I’ve learned specifically is that sometimes, you simply have to live in the shadows of those things you can’t fix on your own. You have to accept the fact and be comfortable with the reality that some things in life just take time to work through or to find an answer. And when you are in that limbo place, you can’t put your life on hold. Nor can you restrict yourself from feeling joy in other areas of your life. I’ve learned this often with my children. When the situation or issue at hand (the one that was causing me stress) requires them to come to some place of comfort or acceptance or clarity for themselves.

So I’ve learned to give them room. And as long as they are not at risk of hurting themselves, I give them as much time as they need to find their own resolution.

That’s hard for me (says the guy who would prefer a magic wand to fix any situation).

But patience can be comforting. A good tool in the back pocket.

And, as we talked about yesterday, a pretty good thing to model for kids.

So that’s the walk-around the block version of what I’ve learned about stress in the last ten years. If you want the longer version, join me on March 15 when I run the LA Marathon. I’ve got stories to last all 26.2 mile.s

I hope you have a good day. 


Clean your desk. Clear the clutter. Then focus.


Want more?  Read the first week’s posts including the  Prologue and Introduction. And come back next week for a new chapter!