I have a bit of a motto for my life, and it goes a little something like this...
If something is working for me, serving me, supporting me, making me happy and taking me to where I want to go, then I keep doing it. If something is not working for me, draining me, damaging me, making me miserable and taking me further away from where I want to be, then I stop doing it.
And while it is a lovely motto, actually living this way occasionally has it's challenges. For some reason, even though there are things that I know are not supporting me and are at times making me unhappy, I still do them. Can you relate? Why do we sometimes indulge in habits, behaviours or thought patterns that do not make us feel good?
MY STRANGE ADDICTION
I have recently identified something that is going on in my life that is totally not working for me, yet I am having some strange challenge in letting it go. I almost feel addicted to it. And I am scared what my life will be like without it.
Wondering what this mysterious thing is? It is STRESS. And I think I am actually addicted to being stressed. Why else would I continue to do all these stress inducing things that I know do not serve me?
Why else would I try and multi-task to the extent that I completely overwhelm my brain? Or watch the news even though it makes me scared about the world? Or run notoriously late for work every single day so that I have to speed and dodge traffic to make it in time? Or spend my spare time worrying about some future event that has not even happened yet? Or take on 10 different huge projects at once so that I do not even have any spare time left to simply breathe? Or still indulge in a cup of coffee even though I know it sends my adrenalin levels through the roof?
DEAR STRESS, LET'S BREAK UP
I felt inspired to write this post as the beginning step in my journey to releasing stress from my life. I am pretty much totally and utterly over it. I am over being anxious about results and outcomes. I am over constantly worrying about small insignificant aspects of my life. I am fed up with the pressure that I place on myself to meet unrealistic standards. I am tired of stressing about running late, about money, about what people think of me, about what I am eating, about setting up my business, about writing blog posts, about what I should be doing with my life... and the list goes on.
Ugh. Stress is so exhausting!!
Stress sucks the joy of this precious and beautiful moment. It keeps you stuck in your head and feeds the drama that your ego loves to indulge in. I have realised that rather than continuing to get caught up in all the stressful stories, what I really need to do is just drop the drama and get on with it.
DUMP YOUR STRESS ADDICTION
The secret to releasing stress, is to firstly understand it. Here are 4 lessons you need to grasp in order to let go of your stress addiction.
LESSON #1 - NOTHING IS INHERENTLY STRESSFUL
Nothing outside of us can makes us stressed unless we allow it. No event is inherently stressful. It is us that labels it as stressful. It is us that assigns it that meaning.
The feeling of being stressed is an internal experience. And while we might think that the internal feeling of stress has a lot to do with the external circumstances we are experiencing, that is actually not accurate. We create stress from the inside-out.
LESSON #2 - YOU CHOOSE STRESS
What really happens is that we choose to respond in a stressful way to something. We really could respond any way we wanted. We could respond with peace and acceptance. We could respond with happiness and gratitude. Or we could respond with stress, or anger or frustration. It is actually our choice.
The number one way to start releasing stress is remind yourself that stress does not happen to you. It is a choice you make.
LESSON #3 - EVERY ACTION, DEFINES YOU
The way that you respond to the external experiences of life, defines you. Every time you respond in a certain way, you are sending a message to the Universe and to everyone around you about who you are. Do you want to define yourself as a stressed-out person? Think about that.
The more that you create stressful thoughts, the more that you attract experiences which support that. In life you do not get what you want, you get what you are. So, if you are a stressed person, you will get more and more stressful experiences.
LESSON #4 - YOU CAN CHANGE IT
It is time to get conscious, and remember that you have the ability to change anything in your life. You do not eliminate stress by eliminating stressful events and circumstances. You eliminate stress by changing the way you think, and the way you respond to situations.
Start by asking yourself some new questions. For example;
+ Why am I choosing to respond in a stressful way to this?
+ What am I making this event mean?
+ How else could I respond?
+ Who do I want to define myself as in this moment?
+ What type of person do I want to be?
+ How do I need to respond, in order to define myself as the person I want to be?
Ready to start choosing peace? Great! Let's get started;
1. CHANGE HOW YOU START YOUR DAY
In a previous post I wrote about my new morning routine, and the reasoning behind it. I found that starting my day with an adrenalin boosting cup of coffee and a high intensity cardio workout was causing me internal chaos. I was stressed, anxious and highly strung. So, my first step to choosing peace, was to change the way I started my day. So far so good.
2. CHECK IN THROUGH THE DAY
Start to become aware of how you are feeling in your body through the day. Be aware of the tell-tale signs that you are allowing yourself to feel stressed - tension in your neck or shoulders, a clenched jaw, not taking time to even go to the toilet or eat some food, or that feeling where your mind races as a hundred miles an hour. Start to pay attention to how your body feels when it is stressed and begin to develop more of an awareness of what tends to trigger your stress response.
3. TAKE A MOMENT
When you notice yourself going down to stress town, it is time to stop and take a break. Place your feet firmly on the ground and stop what you are doing. If you can, close your eyes or simply focus on one spot. When you mind is focused on a steady spot, it naturally starts to slow down. Take in 5 deep breaths and bring yourself back in to this present moment. This will do wonders to reconnect you with a more peaceful energy.
4. BOOST YOUR PEACEFUL VIBES
Increase the amount of activities you can do that create feelings of peace, and decrease the ones that create stress. Choose to listen to slow, peaceful music rather than fast or heavy music. Choose to read a book rather than watch tv. Take a bath, rather than having a shower. Sip on herbal tea rather than coffee. Schedule in some computer free time everyday. Exercise outdoors in nature rather than at the gym. There are lots of small changes you can make which will really hep.
5. SLOW YOUR MIND
Meditation works wonders for me. It totally slows my mind and calms me down. It eliminates all the external noise and brings me back to the simpleness of my breath. I like to do it in a darkened room as it makes it even more calming. If I find that I cannot sit still, I will do some yoga and stretching first. Being able to move my body and release all the pent up tension and energy helps calm my mind and then makes it much easier to sit in stillness.
+ Do you often experience stress?
+ What tools do you use to cultivate more peace?