During my doctor’s appointment on Friday my blood pressure was 176/130. *blink* (Full disclosure, that isn’t my highest reading ever. And, in my defense, I did warn the nurse it would be high. – Ok, maybe even I didn’t expect it to be quite THAT high, but I knew it would be high. It is always high when I’m in a medical setting. I have “white-coat hypertension” – I hate doctors, clinics, and medical facilities in general with a passion. She didn’t seem to buy that it would be that high simply from my phobia of physicians, especially since this doctor doesn’t draw blood or use any needles.)
After taking a look at my blood pressure, the doctor decreed that, in addition to increasing medication intake for stress and anxiety, I must, immediately, lower my stress level. Yeah, I looked at the doctor like he had four heads. He was kidding right? I looked around, ready for the PUNK’d team to jump out at me.
When they didn’t, and he didn’t look like he was morphing into Ashton Kutcher, I quietly explained to him, in detail, that my life is stressful. I was born into stress. I am in a little cocoon of stress. It is just simply part of who I am. I operate best under stress. I’m a Type-A personality.
My doctor, a very large believer and proponent of Eastern philosophy and medicine used in conjunction with Western medicine, nodded indulgently as I went through my diatribe. There were simply too many stressful things in my life for him to seriously consider a reduction in my stress levels.
He clearly didn’t understand.
Because, he proceeded to say the two words I loathe more than life itself. Yoga and Meditation.
For those of you who know me, I know you’re all sitting there thinking – Inconceivable! (I know I was!)
You also know that I have never, ever, ever been able to give myself over to the world that is “yoga.” I could list off all the reasons for that. My brain doesn’t shut off. It’s too still. It’s too quiet. It’s too… yoga. I do *not* do “New Age.”
However, in addition to increasing my medication in an effort to chemically reduce my stress and save myself from a long family history of heart disease and early heart attacks, he was quite clear. I have little choice. I must learn to embrace something which alleviates stress, promotes relaxation, and reduces my blood pressure.
No amount of begging and pleading on my part changed his mind. I decided I’d give myself the weekend and start on Monday. Yeah, that sounded like a good idea, right?
So this morning I got up and worked my way through the first yoga lesson. Yes, by 5 minutes in I wanted to kill someone. After 20 minutes I was ready to just let the stress have its own way if I never ever had to do this again. By the end of 45 minutes, I couldn’t get up off the floor fast enough.
But, I made it through the whole 45 minutes. I’m taking that as a mark in the “win” column and calling it “progress.” Who knows, one of these days I may look back and think “what was it I didn’t like??” (I’m not holding my breath, but it could happen).
What about you? What do you do to manage stress? How do you get over the ‘hardest part’ (the beginning) of starting a new good habit?