How Can Seconds Save You Hours of Stress?
Recently an article was brought to my attention on various concepts of relieving stress. One of the components it shared in regards to lowering stress was a word Statio. Have you heard of this word before? I had not. However, when I read more about it, it succinctly captured something I find very important.
Statio – What does it mean?
First, let me explain what the word means. The word statio is rooted in old-established monastic customs. It often means “time between times” or “a moment between moments”. Also it can mean “the pause between those times when you are doing things.” Simply, you could view it as the practice of stopping one action before beginning another. Now let’s take a look at what this has to do with stress.
Modern Day Stress
We can easily miss this concept of statio in this day and age of hustle and bustle. Everything today, from our phones and computers to the speed of service we expect is so much faster than say, 50 years ago. And the more we advance technologically, the faster people expect things to be. We rapidly move from one thing to the next, sometimes without even thinking about what we are doing. There seems to be no pause between our actions or activities. Life can literally become a blur and with this, more stress.
My point — this concept of statio can be key to helping us reduce our chronically stressed and busy lives without requiring monumental overhauls in our schedule. Sure, if you find you don’t have time to take care of yourself in any capacity, you should dig deeper at the roots of that and address it. However, that can be a process that takes time, or can feel like too big a task to tackle at first. What some of us may need is something simpler to get started on this journey of managing stress (since managing our stress is such a key component to our overall health and wellbeing).
Statio in this day and age?
Even in this day and age statio is possible. But first, let’s look at what happens when you don’t use statio. Let me give an example I think you might relate to.
You’re in your car running 3 minutes behind for an important meeting. Maybe you normally drive 5 mph over the speed limit. But today you stretch it to 7 or 8 mph over the limit. You’re saying, “Thank you” to the powers that be for each green light (and especially every yellow light!). And you curse when you hit each red light. You’re looking at the clock over and over, and you arrive and rush into the meeting. You barely just make it on time! However, you’re still trying to “catch up” with what the meeting is about because you’ve been preoccupied with the thought of just making it on time. It’s not until a couple minutes into the meeting you feel settled in and are tracking with what’s going on. All the while, you still have this “tenseness” about you that leaves your neck feeling creaky by mid-day.
A Different Outcome
Now, let’s rewind the tape. You leave on time (a few minutes early, in fact!). So everything is cool. You hit a few red lights but it’s okay. You’re not concerned about the clock. You’re just enjoying the beautiful weather out there and listening to some good music. You arrive to your meeting a few minutes early. Therefore, you’re able to give a friendly “hello” to your co-workers. You sit down, get your notes out and think about what the meeting will be about. The meeting starts and you’re off to the races and ready to go. You’re relaxed going into the meeting — no tension that whole morning and you still feel alright come noon. All that because of a few minutes.
But do you see the different chain reactions? Sure, in this example, it was predicated upon leaving early, and therefore there was some forethought to the process. But what if you couldn’t control the circumstances that caused you to leave late for the meeting to begin with? Maybe your kids were a whirlwind to get out the door or your alarm didn’t go off, etc, etc. Okay, that’s fair. You arrive at work rushed. But you could make a key positive difference still.
Before you walk in the building (maybe even before you get out of the car) you take a deep breath. Then you acknowledge that the morning was what it was. You say to yourself, “Okay, let’s go into this meeting with eyes open, ears listening,” (Okay, maybe you don’t think exactly that to yourself, but you get the picture). Now you get out of your car (only 20 seconds later than you would otherwise) so you still arrive on time. But you are far more collected and present. You have the meeting and have less stress/tension in your body. Additionally, you feel more relaxed later that day and not dwelling so much on what happened that morning.
My Personal Experience
Here is a personal experience I’d like to share with you of applying statio to my own life. It’s that moment when I get home from work and the ritual I have created. I come in the door, give my wife a hug. Then I immediately do the following three things: (1) go to the bathroom and wash my face, (2) go to the bedroom to change out of my work clothes, and (3) take 2 minutes and get a few stretches in after a day of lots of sitting. All this happens in only about five minutes. But for me, it’s such a game changer to feeling ready to go into the rest of my evening. I can better put to rest all the activities and thoughts that may have been swirling around in my brain on my commute home.
The main reason I noticed how much this ritual in my life helps minimize stress is because I’ve had a couple times where I did not have this “statio”. In one case, my wife and I had a social engagement that immediately had me going to the next thing (i.e. get home, wife comes out to greet me, I get in the car with my portable dinner, and off we go). In times like these, there was a much higher chance I’d end the day with a slight headache, and I’d discover the next day that my food didn’t digest as well (yep – there you go).
So what about you? It’s easy to think, “I need to have xyz done yesterday. I do NOT have a few seconds or minutes to incorporate statio in my life”. I disagree – everyone can put in a few seconds or a few minutes each day and still do what they need to do. However, you’ll need to take a step of faith and try it out. Take a look. Where might there be some key points in your day where you might have a moment to pause and collect yourself that could make all the difference?
Lead Health Coach