Friday, December 17, 2010

How Heavy is A Glass of Water?

A teacher stood in front of his class with a full glass of water and held it up high. "How heavy is this glass of water?" he asked. Classmembers called out a bunch of answers that ranged from 20g to 500g.

The teacher responded to the class saying "The absolute weight doesn't matter. It depends on how long you try to hold it. You see, if I hold this glass up for just a minute, it doesn't feel heavy and it's not a problem. If I hold it up for an hour, it feels a heavier, and I'll have an ache in my arm. If I hold it  up for a full day, it feels like lead and my arm will have spasms!"

"In each case, the glass of water actually weighs the same, even though the longer I hold it, the heavier it feels."

The lesson is that stress in our lives is like the weight of the glass of water; it's relative to how long we hold onto it. 

When stress occurs, if we deal with it quickly, it's not a problem.  But the longer we hold onto our stresses, the heavier they become. Some situations and stresses are beyond our control and we cannot make them disappear.  But just as with a glass of water, we can choose to put the stress down for a while (sleep, exercise, meditation, talking to others, or through whatever means works for you)  and rest before holding the stress again.

When we are rested, it's always easier to manage stress.

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