In my last few columns I’ve been discussing Reorganize, the fifth level of defense against stress in my Five R’s of Coping (Rethink, Reduce, Relax, Release, Reorganize) Model©. As I discussed, Reorganize is a lifestyle-based based approach to conquering your stress that makes you more hardy and stress-resistant.
In my last column I discussed reorganizing your spiritual well-being. In this column I’ll talk about how to reorganize your environmental well-being and continue your quest to become more stress-resistant by building a healthier lifestyle.
Reorganizing Your Environmental Well-being
So far I’ve talked about the six dimensions of health and wellness as if they existed in a vacuum. Nothing could be farther from the truth! Your life and stress are always examined within the context of your immediate micro environment and the macro environment of the global community. All of your experiences and stress take place within this framework. Although you are constantly striving to be the best you can be as an individual, this quest takes place within your home, worksite, neighborhood, state, country and within the world as a whole. That is why you can never ignore the quality of life within your environment.
Health educators and environmentalists have a phrase for dealing with this concept, “Think globally, act locally.” That is, pay attention to what is going on in the world around you and do what you can to improve your world, but put most of your energies into working in your micro environment, where the day-to-day quality of life directly affects you and your family the most. For example, threats to your wellbeing such as theft, crime, and violence are part of your micro environment. Air and water quality, noise pollution, and overcrowding, are other factors that influence the health of your micro environment.
You can break down any component of your micro environment (home, worksite, school etc.) to a more manageable level for the purpose of reorganizing it. For example, if you wanted to increase the wellbeing of your home you could start with your office, the back yard, your garden or any other unit within your residence.
Reorganizing Your Micro Environment Exercise
Purpose: The following exercise, Reorganizing Your Micro Environment, is designed to help you create a more stress-resistant microenvironment by sprucing up one part of your home. This does not have to be an expensive project, nor do you have to own a home to accomplish it. If you live in an apartment you can focus on some small aspect of your environment such as your closet, office area, fire-escape, balcony etc.
- Pick some part of your micro environment that currently contributes to your stress. It could be as small as a closet or window box or include a part of the house (basement, garage etc.), or property (garden, landscaped area etc.) or your work space (home or office etc.).
- Describe how this part of your environment contributes to your stress.
- Develop a plan on how to make this space more appealing and stress-reducing. The plan could involve minimal (clean, organize, paint, redecorate, etc.) or maximum (complete overhaul, retrofit etc.) but it must be something you can accomplish by the end of four weeks.
- Take before photos of the environment.
- Implement the plan. You must contribute some labor to making this space more stress-resistant. Ideally you should do all of the work, but you must do at least some of it. Try to do a little every other day so it becomes part of your lifestyle over the next few weeks.
- Keep a log of the process. Make notes regarding what you did and how you felt as you did it.
- Take after photos.
- Describe how this reorganizing process will help you become more stress-resistant.
After evaluating how reorganizing this part of your environment helped reduce your stress start thinking of other aspects of your micro-environment that could be improved. Take your time and slowly create the kind of stress-reducing environment you can look forward to spending time in.
In my next column we’ll focus on reorganizing your intellectual wellbeing. Until then remember to Stress Less and Live More.
Dr. Rich Blonna is an expert in understanding how the mind and body work together in creating and managing stress. He is the author of several stress self-help books and courses and the popular college textbook, Coping With Stress in a Changing World 5th Ed; McGraw-Hill Publishing. He is a retired Professor Emeritus from William Paterson University in New Jersey. For over 25 years he has devoted himself to helping people just like you stress less and live more. www.drrichblonna.com.