While I’ve been home recovering from my surgery, I’ve watched a lot of TV. Probably more TV in these last 3 ½ weeks than I’ve watched all year combined.

One of the few “regular” shows that I record to watch each week is Grey’s Anatomy. On one particular episode, Dr. Miranda Bailey, who is an incredible talented, strong, driven wife and mother, and the Chief of Surgery was talking to a colleague about her stress.

She has struggled lately (or the last many episodes) with stress, having physical responses like chest pains and more. She took some time off, and even most recently temporarily stepped down from her coveted and long fought for position as Chief.

She remarked to her friend that she started focusing on her health (diet and exercise) and still felt stressed. She took time off, and as soon as she returned she felt stressed. She appointed an interim Chief to handle her position while she focused on an easier practice and she still felt stressed. She was working on a medical research project that she loved and was exciting, and yet she still felt stressed. (The plot line is that her stress comes from her husbands new-ish job as a firefighter, but let’s put that aside.)

As she was talking about her stress and all the things she was doing to prevent it (to no avail), I had a thought … everything that she was attempting to do to alleviate her stress was outside of herself. Some she can “control”, some she can’t, and so still she was stressed. Does this sound familiar to any of you? I know it did to me.

What if instead she (and we) focused inside of herself (ourselves). Instead of trying to control all the things and adjusting things to make the stress go away we instead focus on our individual response to it. It is our response that determines whether or not we feel stressed.

I know this is easier said than done, this is certainly a struggle for me on a daily basis. I’ve come to learn that stress, pressure, worries, struggles, are unfortunately a part of life. Perhaps they are even meant to teach us something. What exactly I’m not sure, but I do think there is a bigger picture purpose to all that we experience. I’ve been inside of literally multiple thousands of peoples homes over the years, between my 10 years as an EMT and 16+ years in real estate. Just about everyone is dealing with something, it just doesn’t always show. The most beautiful looking home (and life) from the outside, can be a huge mess on the inside.

Just some food for thought on what is a chilly, rainy Monday morning here in Northern Virginia. I don’t really have any solutions to offer, I’m still figuring this one out myself. How about you?

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