Stress reduction: I wrote the blog post below some years ago but recently had a client tell me how much she had used the concept to help her through her exams in grad school. I am always so pleased to hear that something I have shared, whether written, spoken or recorded has been helpful to someone! So I offer this post again knowing that if it helped one person it can help others.
Stress reduction requires a multifaceted approach. We are complex beings and require that all aspects of our beign be addressed in order to live with ease and well-being.
Stress Reduction Question and Practice: What if This Were Easy?
Some years ago when I first began teaching stress management I noticed a paradox within me when faced with a challenge. My early life experience contributed to a need to be poised and ready to react to stay out of harm’s way. Then as a nurse I had been trained to respond, react, and deal with things quickly, efficiently and without thought or even awareness about how it was affecting me. There was no room for that when caring for others or responding to emergencies. Without realizing it I had become conditioned to holding an inner stance of tension —a kind of heightened awareness–not the good kind!–in order to be ready to respond/react to whatever came up.
Stress Reduction Must Include Attention to Mental, Emotional and Physical Aspects
I began to notice that when faced with problems and challenges in my world in general my inner state was often at odds with my mental and physical state. I could certainly act fast and think on my feet, BUT my feelings were quite another thing!
In the face of a challenge I noticed I carried an inner sense of struggle,tension, conflict stemming from the belief that this would be really hard. As I was teaching that the brain did not know the difference between real and imagined, it occurred to me that perhaps I could shift into a place where I felt that this was easy. It became clear that holding a more expansive inner presence was in fact more effective than that of a coiled spring! A problem or challenge, may or may not be easy, but what I realized was that my inner state was compounding whatever difficulty I might encounter and getting in my way of responding most effectively.
Some Effects of Stress Reduction
I began to discover that as I released the inner tension and learned how to truly stay open and at ease in general, those feelings could stay with me even in the face of stress… solutions were easier to find, problems did not tend to get compounded, I listened better and responded more efficiently. This took time and practice, but it was well worth it in terms of the ease that developed.
One of the best supports for developing this new behavior was meditation to recondition my mind/body and personal energy work to help release old beliefs and strengthen a new foundation of ease.
Today if I begin to feel that old tension or struggle begin to claim space within, I remind myself to shift, to open and FLOW. The question I often use to help me move back into that place of flow is: What if this were easy? It reminds me that I choose how to feel in spite of stress and challenge…and that it is my choice as to what inner landscape I want to create…and that the outer world does not have to determine my inner world.
Try it, you’ll like it!! Your energy will become–and stay stronger, you will think more clearly, solutions will come more quickly, and you will feel calmer–all of which contribute to health, wealth and happiness!