Gettin’ uncomfortable left, right and centre

Even though I haven’t been blogging a lot, I’ve been getting pretty uncomfortable these past two months and I thought it was due time to share a few uncomfortable situations.

Uncomfortable situation #1: The big move

Faith and I like to plan and are pretty organized – but there are times when we choose to let some decisions happen spontaneously… and moving around Vancouver just so happens to be one of those decisions. In typical fashion, we decided with 13 days left in the month of February to move to a new apartment March 1.

Decision = best ever.

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Our new place is in a heritage building right downtown Vancouver, within a few minutes walk from both of our work places and two blocks from the harbour/seawall. It has hardwood floors, high ceilings, exposed brick wall and huge picture windows: in other words, gorgeous.

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My living space is very important to me and this has hands down been one of the best moves we’ve ever made :)

Uncomfortable situation #2: A new man

Without going through the extensive details… I’ve finally found myself a good-hearted man with many similar interests in the city of Vancouver! It’s very new, but it’s been a long time since I’ve been a situation where I’m sharing my life with someone… and I like it, a lot. When someone can make you laugh more in a month than you have in the past year.. you know you have a good thing going! :)

Uncomfortable situation #3: My first kettlebell competition

A few weeks ago I competed in the Vancouver Open Kettlebell Competition. I signed up after being encouraged by one of my fellow Element Athletic-ers who asked if I’d enter with her, and because I love a good challenge, I of course said yes.

After agreeing, I had to choose my element. Since my snatch isn’t perfect (I can snatch a good amount of weight, but I still don’t jump properly and tear my hands up) – I decided to do the long cycle. For females, you only need to do one side at once (males need to do double hehe) – so I said, hey why not?

Long cycle consists of a clean and jerk, locking out at the top, for each rep. The craziest part? I’ve never trained the jerk. Ever. until three weeks before the competition.. so the fact that I got the technique down and powered through the five minute set was actually crazy.

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So how’d I do? I placed FIRST in my element and weight class! According to the club’s ranking tables, I got to second rank – not bad for my first competition!

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It was a great day filled with some amazing people. I can’t wait until the next competition!

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Uncomfortable situation #4: Bungee jumping

Shawn came up to Vancouver for a week and his only stipulation was that we needed to go bungee jumping. Instead of being nervous and freaking out.. I decided not to think about it. Mentally blocking out what was about to happen worked right until actually getting to the bungee spot in Whistler. Shockingly.. not thinking about it up until that point helped! I wasn’t scared.. but I wasn’t overly excited either haha.

Let’s DO THIS!

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For some reason, they suited me up first so without question I continued to not think about it and got ready to launch myself off a bridge.

See, I was happy:

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Once I got to the edge, they truly know how to keep your mind from freaking out because they talk to you the entire time. Before you know it, you are on the edge and they are counting down… five… four… three…. two…one…. JUMP!

So what else could I do, but jump? That’s me wayyyyyyyy down there at the bottom!

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We all did it! Post jump, surging adrenaline, group photo:

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After all of these crazy things in the past few months, I also turned twenty-six this past week… that means I’m OVER a quarter century now!
I’m no longer in my “early twenties.”

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My birthday was spent with the people and in the places I love – and I couldn’t have asked for anything more.

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Needless to say, the experiences (albeit many terrifying as hell) have been incredible. I feel like a different person and more prepared than ever to tackle the next items on the list.

The morning after my birthday, the new man in my life was walking me to work (I know, cute, right?) and he looked at me and said “you know, you have some pretty amazing people in your life right? You are one very fortunate girl.”

This I know well and having someone new in my life recognize that, made me smile.

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How to make stress your friend

Stress.

For most people even hearing the word stress makes them immediately feel stressed. The constant push to be everywhere at all times will inevitably cause you to feel stressed.

The problem is that we’ve been told that stress is the enemy and whenever you feel stress, you need to immediately find ways to make it go away… which normally causes – you guessed it - more stress! It’s a vicious cycle.

I recently had the opportunity to watch a June 2013 TedTalk by Physiologist Kelly McGonigal on the topic of stress. Before you watch, here is the synopsis:

Stress. It makes your heart pound, your breathing quicken and your forehead sweat. But while stress has been made into a public health enemy, new research suggests that stress may only be bad for you if you believe that to be the case. Psychologist Kelly McGonigal urges us to see stress as a positive, and introduces us to an unsung mechanism for stress reduction: reaching out to others.

Is stress harmful for your health?

According to a study by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison asked 29,000 people to rate their level of stress over the past year as well as how much they believed this stress influenced their health – a little, a moderate amount or a lot. Over the next eight years, public death records were used to record the passing of any subjects.

The findings: People who reported having high levels of stress and who believed stress had a large impact on their health had a whopping 43% increased risk of death. On the other hand, those that experienced a lot of stress but did not perceive its effects as negative were amongst the least likely to die as compared to all other participants in the study.

What does that mean?

A very large percentage of people died because they simply believed stress was bad for you. How you think about how good or bad stress actually is for you – will dictate how stress affects your health.

So, can changing how you think about stress, make you healthier?

Science says yes.

A few key points for you to consider:

  • When you change your mind about stress, you can change your body’s response to stress.
  • How you think about stress matters.
  • You need not get rid of stress – you need to change how you think about stress.

A few of my favourite quotes from Kelly:

“When life is difficult, your stress response wants you to be surrounded by people who care about you.”

“When you reach out to others under stress – either to seek support, or help someone else – you release more of this hormone, your stress response becomes healthier and you actually recover faster from stress.”

“Your stress response has a built-in mechanism for stress resilience – and that mechanism is human connection.”

“Chasing meaning it better for your health than trying to avoid discomfort.”

One of the best points Kelly made (IMO) in this talk was from the study findings which found that no matter how you view stress – negative or positive – going after what creates meaning in your life and trusting yourself to be able to handle the stress that follows, still proved to be better for you above all else.

I hope this changes your perspective of stress, it definitely has for me. This moment forward, I’m going to be more mindful about how I react to stressful situations and change my thinking from negative – to positive.

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