I've broken a lot of things: dishes, windows, my wrist.
I've experienced broken situations: a heart, promises, faith, relationships.
I've come to the end of myself on more than one occasion. I reached my breaking point.
Give Me a Break!
There are many kinds of breaks. Some are great, like when we get the job we wanted or when there's a break in a criminal case. Regardless of the type of break, it always means the same thing:
To Break - Separate or cause to separate into pieces as a result of a blow, shock, or strain.
So, when we ask for a BREAK - we really are ASKING for a blow, shock or strain to change our lives.
We are asking for something - anything - to go our way. We are asking - hoping- that just this once, it will work out for the best - for us! But, that means something will have to separate us from the way things are going right now.
But our breaking point isn't about having too many great things happening for us. We aren't so overrun with fortune and favor that we ask for it to stop. No, when we reach our breaking point, it's because so many things have NOT gone the way we have hoped. We are more like the cracked shell of an egg - expecting to shatter at any moment - than we are the neatly sliced loaf of bread on the counter.
We reach our Breaking Point and we pray for something to break in THE RIGHT DIRECTION. We need it to break in our favor. We want, at the very least, to break even - instead of shattering into a million pieces.
YOU'RE JUST CRACKERS!
There is a unique invention called a STRESS NOTCH. It is an engineering marvel that helps to make sure that items under pressure break evenly, or in the right direction. You know, like a saltine cracker.
The concept is woven into almost everything. It's used in buildings and aeronautics; bridges, automobiles. You'll discover its presence in everything that has a potential for systems' failures.
You deal with them everyday in those crazy little places in your packages that allow you to open them easily (theoretically)! Your package of cheese slices, boxes of aluminum foil, paper towels and bathroom tissue, all have "stress notches".
You have most likely created you own stress notch at one time or another. How about when you need to tear a piece of paper and you don't have scissors? So, you bend it one way and press the crease and bend it the other way and press the crease, until it easily tears in two.
You have just created a PLANNED breaking point!
Now THAT is what we need, right?
FATIGUE OR STRESS ASSESSMENT
No doubt about it, we live in stress-filled days. And without some form of planned 'break-away' we will crumble, break at the wrong time, break in the wrong place.
The pressures of life and business build up. And, if we're smart, we have pressure valves or stress relievers - playtime, if you will - that help to diffuse the pressures around us. But, as adult, more often than not, the stress relievers in our life get pushed to the back burners. We believe that if we put our head's down and work harder, or try new things, or avoid the situation, that the pressure will eventually go away.
But, it doesn't. And the infographic by the Institute of American Stress shows the danger stress plays in our day to day life.
Created by Masters Degree Online.
CHANGE THE STORY
We know that LIFE isn't composed of nice, neat squares that are tucked securely into place. But there are patterns to how we live and respond. If we take a bit of time we can discover where the stress builds up the most and create a NOTCH to break it off a little at a time.
Just how do we turn stressful situations into a 'cracker' situation that you can control?
Well, I'm obviously no psychologist, but I do know that knowledge is half the battle. As Tony Robbins says, "you have to stop telling yourself 'that' story about 'that' situation."
For instance, when you know that you're going to have to meet with someone who 'makes you crazy' - change the story. Change the attitude. Take control!
Some things we can plan for. Others hit us out of the blue. Creating daily habits of self-care, prayer, meditation and play, can help set us up for a better response when we reach our breaking point. These stress relievers are like the release valve on a pressure cooker. They let off just enough steam to keep everything in balance until the soup is done.
Do you have a work project that causes you stress? Have you asked yourself WHY it is causing stress?
What is it about the project? What is it about YOUR attitude toward the project? Would a 10-minute walk away give you a new perspective? Could someone ELSE do a portion instead of you having to hold onto the entire project? Can you 'break away' a little of the intensity and give it away?
THE ART OF BREAKING
Here's a suggestion...buy a box of the old-fashioned saltine crackers that haven't been broken apart.
Take the cracker and look at the way it is designed to break into squares. One cracker by itself is easily crushed. With more effort, you can crush the slat of crackers, but it takes a bit more force than you might expect. There is something about those built-in notches that somehow make the whole cracker STRONGER instead of WEAKER.
If you are at your breaking point, it might be you are trying to stand alone. You could possible use someone to stand alongside you and carry part of the pressure with you. Who is that person in your life you can turn to in times of stress?
Even when you don't have a person to reach out to, you can always reach out to Jesus.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:29
By the way...learning how to 'break like a cracker' will also make your life better. Sometimes it is the breaking down that helps us to stand back up.
Oh! Enjoy your crackers. Maybe add some peanut butter or jelly - whatever you love. Take a "stress notch" break.
Me? I'll take my crackers with cheese, please.
Live At Your Best - Live Inspired