3 STEPS – ALLOW YOUR STRESS TO WORK FOR YOU.
A New Year is right around the corner and the festive season, though fun and uplifting, can put a load of extra commitments on our plates!
It’s no secret that along with the exciting hustle and bustle of the holidays, comes….. S.T.R.E.S.S.
With so much attention put on this topic lately, simply trying to not be stressed can become a stressful situation in itself.
We all have heard of the negative effects it can have on our health and well-being. Both media and medical reports have regularly advised us that stress should be avoided as much as possible.
The reality is that trying to attain, let alone maintain, any type of utopian “stress-free” lifestyle would only end up compounding our problems and adding extra stress to our system. We would just end up suppressing emotions and neglecting to work through those difficult situations in life that actually hold the greatest potential for learning and personal growth… inevitably causing more tension in the end.
Think back to a time when you experienced a large period of growth, either personally, professionally, spiritually or in any relationship. Maybe you were working towards getting a promotion, raising a child, or traveling to a foreign country.
Though growth can theoretically come about with ease, more times than not the growth we achieve is accompanied by hard work and stress…. plain and simple.
But like climbing a mountain. The view from the summit is usually worth it!
Now…..when you think back to these times… ask yourself…
What motivated you to get through? and…….. What did you learn from it all?
The truth is that stress actually works for us and not against us in some pretty wonderful ways. It shows up in some of the most important times in our lives. Reminding us that we care and motivating us to keep climbing.
Stress can guide us, cracking the shell around the heart, while opening the mind and body to greater awareness. In these moments we can experience motivation we might not otherwise have had to reach the summit of our aspirations.
Could stress even be a key to human evolution and a very important part of our existence?
If not, then why would stress be part of the universe’s design? If there was no motivation to change we would soon become stuck where we are.If you don’t have enough of it in your life, if you are blissed out and perfectly happy, where would you go from there? What would be your motivation to improve?
Modern research has shown that individuals who adopt a “stress is enhancing” mindset throughout their lives experience more productivity and less stress-related illnesses than those who maintain a “stress is debilitating” viewpoint.
With the New Year arriving in only a few days, it is time to set the intentions, desires, and goals we would like to manifest from here onward.
However, it is illogical to expect that our journey will come without its struggles.
So the question is… How can we turn the stress we experience into a tool that works for us, instead of against us?
We suggest using these three steps and to start by pinpointing something that is causing tension in your life right now. It can be big or small…
Step 1- Recognize it
The first step is to actually realize that you are under stress. Recognizing its cause and that facing it head on, instead of turning away, is mandatory.
You can say…”I am feeling stressed because ___________” (my work meeting is coming up, my child is being too difficult, I have too many items on my to-do list, etc.)
Neuroscience research by Matt Lieberman shows that just acknowledging your stress can move reactivity in your brain from the automatic and reactive centers to the more conscious and deliberate ones.
You can also ask yourself… How does stress feel for me?
What are my Physical, Psychological and Behavioural Reactions stress?
Each person has a slightly different reaction to stress. Some physical reactions you might experience could be a racing heart, change in body temperature, clenched muscles, some people even feel a sudden urge to fall asleep.Psychologically you might feel the need to blame and judge others, or you might feel anxious, overwhelmed or sad. Behavioural reactions could include turning to specific comforts or addictions, like alcohol, food or social media.
Knowing how you react to stress will serve as valuable knowledge when using it as a tool for positive change.
Step 2- Own It
Remember that we only naturally stress about things that are important to us. So use this knowledge to remind yourself that you are stressed about something you truly care about, otherwise it wouldn’t matter to you. A burst of motivation will likely follow as you accept this.
Some of the most rewarding things in life require hard work. That’s just the reality of it.
Did you really expect that getting that degree, raising a child, or travelling to a country where no one speaks your language would be easy?
We reap some of the greatest rewards in life when we challenge ourselves. Otherwise, how would we know what we are capable of achieving. Challenges and stress go hand in hand. When you realize that there is a meaning behind your stress then it becomes a gift and not a burden.
Did you know that when we experience stress we are automatically thrown into a state of heightened awareness, alertness and focus. This happens because stress causes the body to automatically start pumping an increased amount of hormones like adrenaline and dopamine. Our brain and body are quickly fuelled by additional blood and oxygen.
The body’s response to stress is actually designed to assist us in dealing with it and to give us the boost we need to step up to whatever challenge needs facing.
So how can we be sure that we respond to stress in the most productive way possible?
Start by realizing that some stress is beneficial and that practices like mindfulness and meditation give you the personal insight required for choosing to respond to stress in a constructive way. Through this work you can break free from the conditioned and habitual negative responses that hold you back from experiencing your Grandest Self.
In regards to the bigger stresses in life, like relationship problems or illness, try to maintain an open heart and an open mind. Remember that every experience presents an opportunity to learn and grow.
Continue to recognize, own, and use your unique stresses regularly. Into this New Year and beyond.
Experiencing hardships is an inherent and a common thread for every human on the planet. No one goes through life without experiencing any hardship or trauma. As a society who has appeared to have labelled stress as “bad”, we could be left missing out on the potential of using it as a tool for growth.
This does not mean to say that all stress is positive by any means… And you definitely see where it could be lessened.
However if you also learn to embrace stress, your responses to it will improve. This will help you better navigate the challenges you will face in this lifetime, and even begin to create higher energies and positive karma.
Make 2018 is the year that you consciously adopt a “stress is enhancing” mindset!
It won’t only benefit you, everyone you come into contact with will feel this shift and will allow you to live with more….
PASSION – ABUNDANCE -PURPOSE
No matter how busy you may be, our tools are easy to incorporate into your daily schedule and will get the ball rolling towards greater self awareness.
You can experience the life you have always dreamed of living!
It all starts with an open mind and a willingness to begin!