There’s no doubt that stress is a massive worldwide problem.
Nowadays there are many tests that we can do to see the effects of stress on the body and it is scientifically proven how it affects the body in so many ways.
So of course stress is the problem isn’t it?
Well I have found from my own experience that this may not be the case.
I’ve noticed as I’m sure you have too that when two people experience the same pressures or stressful situation often one person will suffer and the other will shrug it off and not be so affected.
So what makes the difference?
Well I have discovered that there are some key ingredients to feeling stress free and have put them into an order which allows you to work on each one in turn providing you with your own route map to happiness.
More often than we’d like to admit…
Now of course there are events that happen which are dreadful and can cause considerable pain but I’m not talking about those extreme cases.
I’m talking about the everyday events that apparently trigger the constant low level stress that many millions of people experience everyday of their lives.
And if left undealt with this chronic stress can be debilitating both emotionally and physically.
For many years I suffered with stress so much that I ended up with ulcerative colitis. This is an extremely painful inflammatory bowel condition. It completely controlled my life & for many years I firmly believed that the stress I was enduring and the emotional pain I felt everyday was due to the people or situations in life I found myself in or with.
So if I felt anger towards someone or something, I blamed it on that. They were to blame for how I felt.
When we look deeper the reality is quite different.
There is a great Buddhist saying…
“Every time you point a finger, three fingers are pointing back at you.”
It suggests a different way of looking at things.
Instead of blaming someone else for our pain, we look inside ourselves to find the source of our anger or fear.
When we realise that what shows up in our lives is often a reflection of something deeper that’s going on in our inner world of emotions and feelings.
If for example you find yourself getting angry with someone, then rather than blaming that person for making you angry, we look inside ourselves for where we are holding on to anger, it opens up the possibility of healing the place where that anger comes from and letting it go.
The same goes for all the other harmful emotions that we go through day after day.
By searching inside ourselves for the root of our anger or fear we take responsibility for our own emotional health rather than blaming someone else. This is a very empowering and rewarding shift in perception.
The 7 Steps to Become Stress Free and Happy
1. Become Aware
When I teach beginners Tai Chi or Qi Gong most are unaware of how tense they are. Without awareness we are not able to relax our bodies and move effortlessly. As we become more & more conscious of our bodies, relaxation will start to happen. We can let go.
The same happens with our emotions. very often we are not aware of our emotions bubbling up to the surface, making us reactive. By becoming more aware of how we feel we are then in a good position to do something about them. We are no longer in their destructive grip.
2.Welcome in the feelings.
We are often brought up being encouraged to ignore our feelings or else they are too often simply squashed and hidden away.
However feelings and emotions do not just disappear. Without being fully expressed they will become stuck in the body and cause untold damage at some point.
To fully acknowledge our feelings and give them space to be heard is a powerful step towards releasing them out of your system.
3. Notice the reactivity.
When we are not fully aware of our emotional state we can react unconsciously to our life experiences. Our old conditioned responses kick in and lead us down often repeated cycles of negative behaviour patterns, getting the same results in our lives time after time.
By noticing when we react to situations, we have the chance to step out of negative cycles of behaviour that bring us more pain and take more empowering steps towards happiness and fulfillment in our lives.
4. Own the reactivity
By seeing our reactivity in each new experience we have the chance to completely own it. Taking responsibility for our emotions and reactivity and not blaming others, gives us the opportunity to heal and release negative emotions and the trauma of past experiences that keep repeating in our lives.
5. Listen to the self-talk
Always listen to your self-talk. Notice the type of language you are using. Is it dis-empowering or empowering? Does it take you towards or away from happiness? Does it come from fear or love?
6. Listen to the body.
Remember that emotions get locked in the body. Whenever you experience an emotion notice where you feel it in your body. Again acknowledge it. Listen carefully to what it is saying.
7. Release and let go
This is perhaps the most difficult step as we have often held on to negative emotions for a very long time and when they are connected to painful experiences in our past, they can be hard to let go of.
Ask yourself these questions:
“Am I able to let this feeling go?”
“What would it take for me to let go of this feeling?”
and if you are still finding it hard to release…
“What do I get in return for holding on to this feeling?” There is always a pay off!
Remember to be kind to yourself.
There is no rush…
Allow time for this process and…
A quick reminder:
- Become aware of your feelings and emotions.
- Welcome in your feelings.
- Notice the reactivity.
- Own the reactivity.
- Listen to the self-talk.
- Listen to the body.
- Release and let go.
How do you manage stress? Share with me in the comments.