In our families we try on and try out various roles with different levels of enjoyment and fulfillment. In my family I often played the role of caretaker and problem solver. Although these roles in themselves are good to practice and learn from, in my circumstance, I played them too frequently and as a defense mechanism against my internal stress.
Now I find when I get stressed I gravitate back to my familiar roles and follow the "rules" in order to calm my stress or anxiety--for me this usually means abandoning the path I'm currently on (working happily and successfully as a freelancer) to looking for a "real" job (a.k.a. 40+ hours in an office). Please understand, I'm not knocking the skilled and hard working individuals who work full-time hours in office environments--I applaud them and at times envy the steadiness of their line of work--I have just learned it is not healthy for me.
It's become quite an interesting litmus test for me. I know I'm stressed when I'm searching SimplyHired.com or filling out applications. It causes me (now, thankfully!) to pause and ask what I'm really doing...am I really looking for a position I'm excited to fill, that would benefit from my presence? Or am I looking for security to calm my perceived ideas of success (when did I check healthy lifestyle off my list of success indicators?)?
Another decision filter I'm coming to use often was suggested by Donald Miller in his conference/book Storyline. He believes humans are designed to fill about 3-5 roles in their life. As I worked through the chapter on roles in the book I came to see that in addition to being a the beloved of Jesus, a wife, and a friend, I had only 2 more slots I could fill. After a lot of thought and prayer I realized my 2 remaining roles are: artist and teacher. Kind of wonderfully funny that after realizing that my photography teaching has taken off significantly.
So, I'm curious, what do you do to calm your anxiety or stress?
What decision filters do you have in place to keep your life healthy and balanced?
If none, where are the places in your life a decision filter would be most helpful right now?