My grandfather lived by the mantra, “Actions speak louder than words.” Three generations later, I’m living by that creed too.
This quote is commonly attributed to Abraham Lincoln in 1856, it means that people’s actions show their real attitudes, versus what they say. However, it is important to note that it can also be found in the Bible, in John 3:18, “Your actions speak louder than words.”
I continue to be appreciative of the influences I’ve had in my life. Whether it’s a partner, a relative, a friend, or myself – action is what I believe in. Words are just words, so I try to not get hung up on them.
I have reached the point where I am not as greatly disappointed when a person’s words don’t match their actions. Words are easy; actions take more effort.
However, I do take notice when I’m not taking action to achieve a positive outcome.
Stress always manifests itself when action is not being taken to resolve a problem or dilemma. When you are feeling stressed, what do you do? Do you talk to a friend? Do you make a list of action? Do you let it overwhelm you? There’s no wrong answer, but the outcome (or how quickly you reach the outcome) can depend on the steps or lack thereof after stress peaks.
My approach is 1) Talk to a loved one, 2) Write out a plan of action, and 3) Start taking those actionable steps. It’s the small steps, even half steps, that add up to big changes. Over the years this has been true for me in nearly every aspect of life.
One example is when seven years ago, I took action and fired my doctor. I was not being treated for the serious medical conditions I was diagnosed with. I was very ill and stressed out that my life would never be normal again. My doctor and I weren’t on the same “team.” I decided I was going to refuse to be a “number” to a medical group.
I am the one that pays my health insurance costs (hundreds each month) and when I considered that in stark reality – I hired them. They were supposed to be working for me. I didn’t want to hire someone any longer if they weren’t providing quality, supportive, proactive, and kind interaction. Reminder – doctors work for us. They aren’t paying us to come to them.
The treatment you receive from your doctor, including the staff, should be quality and aligned with your best wellbeing and goals.
When stress is eating you alive, you must review what action needs to be taken to end, or greatly reduce, it. What are you putting off?
In Harvard’s article “Recognizing and easing the physical symptoms of anxiety,” Aug. 2020, they state that it’s a person’s autonomic nervous system that produces that all too familiar “fight or flight response.”
“When you are under stress or anxious, this system kicks into action, and physical symptoms can appear – headaches, nausea, shortness of breath, shakiness, or stomach pain,” said Dr. Arthur Barsky of Harvard Medical School.
“It can get really out of control and become so uncomfortable that you might not be able to do much more than sit and worry,” he said.
That’s where recognizing and implementing steps to lessen your stress comes into play.
It has become increasingly more apparent to me the importance of controlling / mitigating the external circumstances, worries or unknowns that a lot of us face in the chronic illness realm.
Taking action may not be comfortable. Begin with baby steps if needed. You will feel the benefit of moving forward with a plan of action.
Try to tackle challenges as they arise, don’t let them fester. It only gets worse. Stay proactive. Ask yourself how you can resolve the situation that is causing you stress?
By maintaining a positive attitude and taking action, you will be rewarded by a positive impact in your mind and body.
And remember, actions are meaningful, they speak much louder than words.
Coming next: Migraine – The elephant in the room