Stress Management and Mastery: Shake It Off and Step Up

The moment I read the story I'm about to share with you, I knew it would make a good article. It has one of the best approaches to managing stress, change and, for that matter, life and its living that I have ever read. Give it a read, and then we'll put some hands and feet on it to make it immediately useful.

A parable is told of a farmer who owned an old mule. The mule fell into the farmer's well one day, and the farmer, hearing the mule braying, rushed over to see what had happened. After carefully assessing the situation, the farmer decided that neither the mule nor the well was worth the trouble of saving. Instead, he called his neighbors together and told them what had happened and enlisted them to help haul dirt to bury the old mule in the well and put him out of his misery.

At first the old mule was hysterical! But as the farmer and his neighbors continued shoveling and the dirt hit his back ... a thought struck him. It suddenly dawned on him that every time a shovel load of dirt landed on his back, he could shake it off and step up.

So this he did, blow after blow.

Shake it off and step up ... shake it off and step up ... shake it off and step up,' he repeated to encourage himself.

It wasn't long before the old mule, battered, dirty and exhausted, stepped triumphantly over the wall of the well. What seemed like it would bury him actually blessed him, all because of the manner in which he handled his adversity.

Can't you just imagine how the average person would handle this situation today?

The first thought after falling in the well would be, "Who can I sue?" followed closely by, "This is just not fair!"

And who wouldn't panic? You don't have to have claustrophobia to feel extreme terror in this situation. It brings to mind the opening lines of one of my favorite jazz songs by sax man Wilton Felder:

"If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, you can inherit the wind."

Respond to what life throws at you with an attitude that allows you to make it work for you, no matter what.

Notice also that the mule came out beat up, dirty and worn out. If it had been a superhero action figure in the well, he or she would have come out of the well shiny clean, with every hair in place.

Have you noticed that real life is usually a whole lot messier?

One of the least-spoken but important lessons of life is that there are times when you can't save your face and your rear end at the same time.

The really nice thing here for us is that there was nothing extraordinary about the mule in this story.

Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is when you are scared silly and still decide to make the right choices at the right time.

I'll close with a couple of action questions and a quote from the e-mail from which I found this story:

We all have wells in our lives. What are some of the wells in which you have found or now find yourself?

What would it take and how would it change your life to shrug it off and step up?

The adversities that come along to bury us usually have within them the potential to benefit and bless us.

Visit SecretsofGreatRelationships.com for tips and tools for creating and growing a great relationship. You can also subscribe to our f*r*e*e 10 day e-program on how to enrich your relationship today, from relationship coach and expert Jeff Herring.

In The News:


pen paper and inkwell


cat break through


Stress Management and Mastery: How to Learn from Mistakes

Q. I've been told that I need to learn from... Read More

Living on the Edge: Stressed Out and Nowhere to Go

Is your stress level higher than it should be? Are... Read More

Stress and Your Immune System: 10 Ways to Relax and Rejuvenate

Stress seems to have become a constant factor in today's... Read More

The Top 10 Steps to DeStress

Do you feel tense and anxious at work? Do your... Read More

8 Practical Methods to Remain Empowered During Stressful Times

1. Acknowledge that requesting support, guidance and partnership is not... Read More

Army Ranger Reveals How to Control Corporate Stress

"Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into... Read More

Just Moved -- and Miserable!

Q. Help! I moved from the Dallas to Denver. I... Read More

Manage Stress and Fear: Visit The Secret Garden!

Recently I completed some new workshop engagements in addition to... Read More

Aromatherapy Candles Release Stress

Have you been feeling so stressful and almost losing your... Read More

Seven Simple Steps to a Stress-Free Start

Most of us lead busy lives, trying to successfully juggle... Read More

How Breathing Differently Can Make You Happier

"When you breathe, you inspire. When you do not breathe,... Read More

Practical Ways to Bring Enchantment into Your Life

THE ENCHANTED SELF® teaches you how to access positive states... Read More

Are You Soakin? It Up?

?And holding it way down inside you like an old... Read More

Stress

Stress. The word brings to mind many different definitions doesn't... Read More

Is it a Crime to be a White Guy in A Tan Car?

I had the unpleasant experience of being pulled over the... Read More

I?m Gettin? Really Torqued!

For those of you who have been living in a... Read More

Those Deceiving Emotions

Deceiving? You bet they are. How? Without your even knowing... Read More

Stress Management and Mastery: The Power of REST

Rest.It's a good thing to do. As the story goes,... Read More

Music Therapy: Can Music Really Soothe The Savage Beast?

It has long been suggested that "music soothes the savage... Read More

Putting Your Life in Perspective

Do you often overreact to situations? Are you a constant... Read More

How to Say No and Let Go of Stress

It was one of the first words you learned to... Read More

Deep Breathing ? How It Can Simultaneously Improve Health And Bring You Closer To Your Goals

I hope by reading this article you will see the... Read More

Journal Your Stress Away

Writing down our thoughts and feelings, as in keeping a... Read More

Are YOU Controlling Stress So Stress Does Not Control YOU?

Have you recently moved or started a new job? Do... Read More

12 Proven Ways To Relieve Stress Today!

Do you feel that you just don't have the time... Read More

Coping with Change: Develop Your Personal Strategy

Why do we resist change? As the saying goes, the... Read More

Build Your Stress Tolerance

While free-lancing for business magazines, I was assigned to write... Read More

Stress Free COBRA

If you have recently lost health insurance coverage through your... Read More

Alleviate Stress Without Pills!

We all have it; we live with it daily: stress.... Read More

Stress Management and Mastery: 3 Tools You Can Use

Q:We recently had someone come to our company to talk... Read More

How to Cope With Stress and Strain

Work related tensions, personal issues and abnormal lifestyles are the... Read More

Managing Stress - Hire the Right People

Managing stress is not easy if you don't have the... Read More

HELP! Im Working with a Baby!!

Did you know that more than half of our adult... Read More