The Train

Reduce Your Stress and Enjoy Your Life

Have you ever heard the story of the train?

In the story, the people on this fast moving, roller-coaster like train intend to exit the train when they reach this city or that city. They say they will get off the train to enjoy a city and stay awhile, but they don’t. They put it off, since there is always another city awaiting. The cities represent things like goals, accomplishments, or desires. The people on this never-ending train say, “I will be happy when I get ____” or “I will relax when I reach _____” The blanks are filled with things like promotions, raises, children moving out, retirement, losing weight, etc.

They never enjoy the ride itself or enjoy the cities they pass – they are always waiting for the next stop.

We are fast-moving and success-driven as the American people. We allow an hour for lunch breaks. We complain if we are on hold with the phone company for 5 minutes. We drive instead of walk. We worry about the carbs in pasta and sugar in gelato. We measure our success in money, houses, cars, and degrees.

If we aren’t careful, we forgot to enjoy our lives.

And at times, I am no exception. A few years back I decided that I could finish the last 81 hours of my bachelor degree in two years. I am proud to say that I did it. My determination was a powerful force and I finished quickly and went straight into graduate school. However, when I look back on college, I don’t remember much of great friendship, great conversations, and tons of fun. I had those things here and there, but I mostly remember putting all sorts of pressure on myself, neglecting the relationships that mattered, being severely stressed, and showing up hours late to all social events because I was always doing homework/being frantic about something related to school. Like the people on the train I said, “I will relax after I make straight A’s again. I will be happy after I write this 60 page paper. I will enjoy myself after I graduate.”

Perspective came in the first month of graduate school when I realized I had earned one degree, just to pursue another. I realized I was stuck on the train. Life was living me, I was not living life.

I had to ask myself some hard questions. I decided it was time to learn to enjoy my obligations and by that enjoy my journey.

Here are some tips (in no particular order) to reframe your stressors and enjoy your life:

1. Put your stressors in their place!

If it’s a stressor that must be in your life remember that it’s just PART of your life. Learning that school was just a portion of my life, not my whole life made all the difference. When I keep it in its place, then it goes back to being really great and really fun. [[If you want help reframing your stressors – email me!]]

2. Take some pressure off.

A little stress helps, but a lot of stress really hurts.

I had to learn that grades weren’t everything. Paradoxically, when I didn’t stress and didn’t panic and just did the work – I made even better grades. The stress wasn’t helping.

[[Research shows that a certain amount of stress increasing motivation – too much stress however, decreasing productivity while increasing anxiety, weight gain, cancer
and heart-disease. Are you hearing me work/school-aholics??]]

3. Take a step back and ask: What do I want my life to mean? What do I want my life to look like? Is the thing getting my energy really the most important thing?

For me, Idon’t want my life to be about the degrees on my wall, the car I drive, the part of town I live in, or my jean-size. I want my life to be about enjoying quality time with by myself and with others: relaxing, memorable and guilt-free quality time. I want my journey to be about contributing to others’ lives and making a real difference to my sphere of influence.

4. Ask: What do I love to do? What relaxes me?

Because of the first three three little steps, I found time to write, swim, dine al fresco, watch movies, laugh with my friends, and be there for the people I care about. I found the time to start life-coaching, travel abroad, and work on research and publishing [[ALL THINGS I LOVE!]] I am able to enjoy my journey. By reducing my stress in one area, I get to be partake in, be present in, and enjoy so many other areas.

5. Start today!

Go to the pool for 20 minutes. Have a tea-party with your 2-year old? Call an old girl-friend. Do something that will contribute to your wellness as well as your success. [[Enjoying your life will contribute to your success. I promise.]]

I challenge you: Where is the joy in your journey?

Enjoy the train ride and get off from time to time.

Life is a journey – not a destination.

We never arrive – the only option is to love who we are, where we are and what we have right now.











{Dinning al fresco in Italia  Wine, carbs, and my journal}