How much does stress weigh?

The true weight of stress depends on how long you hold it

The day that we set aside to honor our American workers whose labor has contributed to the strength, prosperity and well being of our economy, has come and gone. Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer vacation and is often the last big weekend for getting the family outdoors. We spent the afternoon at the pool, enjoying some warm sun and a chance to finish a little reading while the kids splashed and played in the water.

Unless you have been living in a cave for the past 6-9 months, you probably agree that we are going through a rough patch in our economy right now. Whatever part of the labor force you participate in, you may have experienced or noticed an increase in stress among your peers. I hear a lot of people talking about stress at work is and how tough business is for them right now. And although Anna’s Gourmet Goodies has enjoyed brisk growth during this time, we still face some of the same challenges other businesses face, most notably the rapid increase in material costs.

I was thinking of stress and water, because my wife handed me a copy of a story she had tucked away in a book titled, “Put the glass down”. It seems that a professor held up a glass of water and asked his class how much it weighed. Answers ranged from an ounce to a pound. He explained that it was not that absolute weight that he was interested in, “It depends on how long you hold it”. You see, if you hold up a glass of water for a minute, the weight does not matter. If you hold it up for an hour, it gets a little heavier and your arm will hurt. If you hold it up for a day, you’ll probably need an ambulance to take you to the hospital. The weight of the glass did not change, but it became heavier the longer you hold it.

It seems that burdens and the stress associated with them have the same properties. If we carry them around all the time, they eventually get too heavy to bear. It’s vital to put them down and get some rest, so that we can carry on.

On this long weekend, I hope that you had the opportunity to lay your burdens and stress down for at least a little while. This story was a reminder that I need to give myself permission to put things down from time to time. They’ll either be there waiting for me when I’m ready to pick them up again, or I might just realize that they really were not worth carrying around anyway.

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