“It’s hard to wring my hands when I am busy rolling up my sleeves.”
When I came across this quote by Linda Geraci, it really resonated with me. Why? I guess because when I worry about stuff, I don’t like to sit still over it. I am definitely a doer. As a matter of fact, a personality assessment I took way back in 1998 pegged me well with this statement: “Under pressure, concentrates on what has to be done and pushes for completion.”
My work constantly brings me into close proximity with people who are in high stress and fear mode. Their stress stems from dealing with a loss of control, a loss of stability and predictability. I’ve observed that when I help them roll up their sleeves and take action (any kind, even just going out to get some exercise), they regain a sense of control again. I’ve often wondered why that is and have concluded that their fear diminishes somewhat when they change their reaction to whatever is causing them stress. And they definitely tend to feel more empowered and in control when they make a plan to move forward.
At the root base of the word “reaction” is the inherent concept of action. If you subscribe to the notion that one thing you can control when everything else feels out of control is your reaction to the situation, then one step further in pushing away worry and fear is to take action. First you control your reaction, next you take new action. Or is it the other way around? For me personally, these two steps go hand in hand and are intertwined so closely that I don’t know which comes first. If I’m upset, my reaction is to get into action. I’ll clean the house or walk the dog, and then I feel more in control. So taking action actually helps me to change my reaction.
Conclusion: Stress is diminished by both thought (reaction) and deed (action).