When we are stressed every system in the body is switched onto prepare for fight or flight. If we do nothing to counterbalance that effect our systems never come out of that stress response—our emotions, thinking and relationships are all impacted in the short term and over time our health erodes.
Out of Balance
Stress is a signal that we are out of balance. Left unchecked that imbalance leads to disruptions in relationships, poor quality of life, career issues, and even illness. Most people unfortunately meet the effects of stress in illness and accidents rather than with a proactive, preventative approach. This does not have to be the case if we take a fresh look at what we need to do to take charge of our health and life. The pace and nature of the lives we lead seems to require that we all look at the stress in our lives and come up with a well thought out plan for reducing it where we can and managing it well when it cannot be lessened.
When I first began teaching stress reduction and management in the 1970’s the kinds of stresses people faced were situations that occurred in the midst of an otherwise stable life, or they were dealing with a period of time that was challenging due to life changes that had a well defined beginning, middle and end. The pace of life and the time between stressors was different than today– there was more time to unwind and recover from stress, as well as more time between stressful events. In recent years stress has become much more widespread, unrelenting and accelerated.
The Up and Down of Everyday Life
Technology has brought us so many wonderful things, but it also has had its downside! For instance: you used to be able to take a day off, be sick or take a vacation without dreading your email in-box when you returned; multi-tasking had a much different face before social media, the internet and cell phones; expectations for productivity, relationships and leisure time were different; noise levels were different; travel was different…need we go on? The point is that we are dealing with a world that our nervous systems were not designed for and so we must address that if we are to thrive and not just survive.
Reducing or Managing Stress?
There are two categories of stress: Necessary and unnecessary. We can eliminate or reduce the sources of stress that are unnecessary through simple introspection and choice. There may be some challenges with the choice to eliminate someone or something, but ultimately it can be done. Necessary stress includes all the things that you cannot, or do not want to remove from your life. In many ways this is the category that requires the most commitment from you in terms of managing your mind-body-spirit.
Stressors you may want to consider…
1. Toxic situations or people
Are there non-supportive, non-nurturing people or situations in your life?
Why are you putting up with them? (This is an important question to be answered to show you what must be done before you can remedy the situation in a healthy and permanent way).
What do you need to do to eliminate this stress?
2. What about the News?
Our brains do not know the difference between real and imagined. Our bodies and minds will react the same to an imagined, perceived or observed stress as to a real one….perhaps to a lesser degree depending on individual make-up but nevertheless it will react with stressful chemistry, thoughts and feelings.
Being mindful of this helps you to make good choices about what you will and won’t expose yourself to, or to how you will care for yourself after exposure.
3. Comparison and Competition
These two infamous twins may be good for business, but they are not good for your inner peace and well being. Paying attention to your self- talk and shifting it can go a long way to reducing and eliminating this stress. Taking a more proactive stance in developing and appreciating your own unique Self cultivates an inner strength and connection that serves all areas of your life.
4. Dump the Past
Exploring your past with its beliefs, woundings, and conditioning can be painful but is ultimately most beneficial in every aspect of your life and health. Techniques that target Mind-Body & Energy systems make it easier than ever to let go of your past and come into the present so you can have the future you dream of.
5. Commit to Self-Care
Self-care means putting you first so you can show up for your life and for others. A lifestyle that has your needs for rest, relaxation, fun, solitude, support, and companionship taken into account is a healthy life for not only you but for others in your circle.
You do not have to do everything all at once. Relaxation/meditation is a great first step as it helps with all the others in a way that nothing else does. At the web links below you will find a variety of recordings that are specifically designed to release stress from deep within the body-mind and re-balance all systems while bringing peace, calm and ease to the mind.