All of my favorite words…worry, stress, doubt and fear. Today, I did a talk about Stress Management at a local company. In my fitness and wellness days, I would have spoken about work/life balance, meditation, breathing, chemical processes of the body when stress enters, etc. If I had spoken in that manner, they would have listened, let it sink in for a day or two, done what I told them for a few days and then the information would become a fleeting thought once a stressful situation came in. This time I spoke about what I truly know to release stress because I know it is the choices we make that truly determine how we handle the stressors in our life.
Distress and Eustress
There are two kinds of stress – Distress and Eustress. Eustress is the stress your children experience at Christmas when they are so excited by the presents. It’s the stress that occurs on a happy occasion like a wedding or the birth of a child. Distress is what most of us experience daily, weekly, monthly, yearly and all throughout our lifetime. It is the pressure to perform to an expectation, either from others or our own.Noun:Stress
- a state of mental or emotional strain resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances
- something that causes mental strain
- particular emphasis or importance
Chemical reactions occur in the body when we are in distress. Imagine being chased by a rabid dog. Most of us would not just stand there and let the dog bite us. Our body knows its “fight or flight” response is to run. Chemicals make that happen. When we overtax our physical body with stress, poor diet, and lack of mobility, we are pushing the chemical production over the edge.
What you believe is an important factor in handling stress.
What do you believe you can control?
The only thing that you can control is how you respond to a situation. It’s difficult to pre-determine an outcome before the situation even occurs. That’s where worry comes into play. You are worrying about something that hasn’t even happened yet. Staying in the present moment is critical to combat stress. If you are worrying, you are putting your energy out into the future and that does not allow you to be present.
Are you reacting or responding?
Reaction comes from a stimulus and a belief pattern. Something happens and we react as if we had to handle that situation right this minute. We often behave like a child would when a parent scolds them. If I don’t do it now, I’ll get in trouble. How present are you when you are reactionary? Your reaction is often tied into a belief pattern that if you don’t react now, some outcome will occur. Being responsive allows you to be present. Even in an emergency situation, taking a breath and realizing that you get to choose how to respond will allow you to be more effective and have a positive outcome.
What is your story?
Stress, worry, doubt fear all exist from a point of perception by us…a feeling and thinking human. We like to think, then feel, then think some more, then feel some more. All that thinking and feeling leads us to a beautiful story about whatever events have occurred in our life now define us. Whatever episode just occurred for us, we tell ourselves a story about it, believing that every detail, from our perspective, is true and the only truth. In reality, there are a million possible stories that could explain the situation. We believe things to be true when in reality, they are not. If I can find one instance in the entire Universe where there is an exception to your belief, then your belief is not true. If you can come from the place of “nothing I believe is really true”, you will have a much easier life. We are such funny beings!
Let go of your story and you will let go of the stress.
It’s never about this moment
Even though we may be in the moment of the stressful situation, it is never about this moment. It is simply a manifestation of the accumulation of your life experiences. Every moment that you have lived has a memory tied to it. When you are experiencing your current situation, it is triggering that memory of an old moment.
Making the shift
Awareness and Acceptance – be aware of situations or patterns you encounter that create stress in your life. Notice your patterns. Notice your behavior. In order to make a change, you need to accept where you are currently, not where you want to be.
Give it a “feeling” word – Ask yourself what emotion is being brought to the surface. True emotion chemically exists in your body about 90-seconds. After that it’s a choice, and usually a story that keeps you in your emotion.
Have you felt this before? – Ask yourself if this “feeling” word you just described has existed in your life before. If the word is “ignored”, explore if there are other instances in your life when you have felt ignored. What you are feeling now is most likely still connected to that memory and not this particular instance.
Tell your story with all the emotion – Let yourself tell your story with all the “he said” and “she said” emotion. Next, tell your story from a place of facts. What do you absolutely know is true (see What’s your story above). Pretend that Joe Friday from Dragnet is interviewing you. “Just the facts, Ma’am.”
Step into your reality – By now you are seeing that this situation has been a lovely distraction from you truly living a life of joy, happiness and abundance. As humans, we often like to distract ourselves with thinking and feeling so we can avoid getting on with our life.
My hope for you is that you live your human life from a higher perspective. See what is not working in your life and what needs to change. Give yourself permission to Dare to Be Different!
If you need assistance in moving through your reality, we have two upcoming classes at the Center that will help you. Join us for:
Dare to Be Different with Priscilla – Tuesday, November 4 from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m., $45.00
How to Create Emotional Freedom with Kevin W. Reese – Tuesday, November 11 from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m., $45.00
Happy stress-free living!