Q. I don’t understand why there has to be so much stress with day to day living. Its everywhere; work, finances, relationships, raising children, health care, and the list goes on an on. I need some idea where and what to cut out. I know this is killing me and for what?

A. Great question!!!
Another way to restate this question, “How do I find peace in the midst of so much craziness?”
If you really want to get serious about this issue, lets start with a life inventory. This yields so much information if you sit down and write this out as if you were drawing out plans for a new home. These can be the plans for your new life.
1. Job – Do you plan to continue working at this job? Does it overall met your financial needs for the amount of hours that are required? Does your stress level average around 5? Do you cry on the way to work? Do you hate your boss? 2. Finances – Do you have a written budget? Do you know approximately how much money you make and how much you spend? Do you save or contribute to a 401K or 403B? Do you spend most of your time working to make this amount of money and have little left to spend on fun things? 3. Relationship – If you are married or in a serious relationship is it working? If it isn’t, what are you doing about it? Do you look forward to coming home to share time with your partner or do you dread going home? Does your partner bring you relief from a long day with a shared intimacy that makes your stress lower? 4. Children – How do you parent? Do you and your partner parent equally? If you are a single parent how do you balance all that is needed to complete each day? Is there time for dinner with your children? Do they help you prepare the meal? Does your ex also get involved with raising the children? How do you cope when your parenting stress meter is going off? 5. Stuff – What do you do when you realize that you have too much stuff? Have you ever stood in a room and said, “Oh my gosh, how did we get all this stuff and do we need it?” What about living more as a minimalist? Can we be as happy with less stuff. If we are making payments on things we really don’t need, then get rid of it. 6. Technology – Is technology robbing you of valuable time that you could be doing something of greater value? We can waste lots of time looking at Facebook. What about less time on Facebook and more time reading, playing with the dogs, spending time with a friend. Or spending time with ourselves. Anyone been doing much of that?
The point to this inventory is this: We can rewrite our life script, anytime we want to. We do not have to get sucked up in the craziness of life. We can take a deep breath and move to something else. We really can!!!!!! So stop killing yourself for a script someone else or even worse, “society’s script” for you. See what you can create.

Vicki L Mayfield, M.Ed., R.N., LMFT Marriage and Family Therapy Oklahoma City

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