Accepting What I Can’t Control

“Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the strength to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” —Reinhold Niebuhr My high school wrestling coach, Bob Fassbinder, gave me this often-quoted verse as an amulet, which I wore on my warm-ups. For an 18-year-old kid, the lesson was simple: Work hard, take control of your destiny, but understand you will not always win. Nineteen years later, the prayer has much more meaning. Our technology-driven world can put a lot of pressure on us. We face stressors (both good and bad) on a daily basis, and it is up to us to understand what we can and cannot control. Stress is simultaneously a positive and a negative force. For most of us, it motivates us to accomplish the daily tasks that make up a life. Get out of bed. Get to work. Pick up the kids on time. Pay the bills. All of these tasks impart some level of pressure on us. The key to good health is how we manage the effects of that pressure. If stress is managed negatively through drugs, alcohol, or poor life choices, our happiness, and that of our families, suffers. The American Heart Association gives great tips for managing your stressors in positive ways. Search “Stress Management” at their website to see for yourself all the positive things you can do to improve your health and wellbeing. One of my favorite stress relievers from the site is to volunteer or mentor others. You will find that the tips offered by AHA will assist you in finding balance and learning what things you can and cannot control, and better yet, how to tell the difference.

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