Stress has been a hot topic for many years, and with all the planetary, societal, and personal changes taking place at such an accelerated rate, it will continue to be something we all feel. Have you ever noticed that when we write or speak about managing our stress, we talk about controlling it or eliminating it? This shows we are viewing our stress from a place of judgement. Now notice the difference when you say releasing stress or relieving stress. Can you see how that relationship is more loving?
It’s time to shift our mindset about stress, and focus on ways to liberate ourselves for greater health and expression in our lives.
Begin by asking yourself some questions:
- What is my relationship with stress?
- When I experience it, what are my thoughts about it?
- Do I add to my stress by analyzing it, resisting it, judging it, rejecting it?
- Do I spend a lot of my time focusing on my stress, trying to do something about it?
We all have habitual ways of dealing with our stress, and many of us end up inside a box of our own thoughts about it—a vicious cycle that more often than not intensifies our stress rather than reduces it. We contract and get even more uptight. (By the way, stress actually comes from the Latin stringere, which means to draw tight).
New Views about Stress
To help you shift your relationship with stress, here are a few perspectives that help you create a broader context:
- We’re all in the same boat, meaning many of us are experiencing stress. We’re not alone and can support one another.
- We attribute our stress to something going on right now and try to figure it out. However, our subconscious, cells, even ancestral lineages may be coming up to be cleansed from deep within us.
- Our stress may not be just because of us; it may be more intense because of the energy of those around us or of the planet’s mass consciousness. We are all interrelated as energy that is lower vibration (contracted) or higher vibration (expanded).
- Stress is a sign that we are to take some new actions that free us, expand us, and awaken us to what life is offering us.
Related to this last point, let’s focus on some actions we can take when we’re experiencing stress, both inner (thoughts, feelings, perspectives) and outer (behaviors, interactions, communication). Realize that we are all constant creators through action, and we have the power to reinvent ourselves in any moment, in this case, to be stress-free.
Moving from Contraction into Expansion
Here are some actions we can take to free ourselves from stress, expand our energy, and create greater health and well-being. You can read more details about these and other actions in my book Less Stress More Success.
Among many possibilities for action, I chose practices that relate to the heart because of its power to move us out of contraction and into expansion. For more on this, I recommend reading the scientific research and articles published by the HeartMath Institute.
- Conscious breathing in the heart: First be aware of each inhale and exhale as you breathe through the nose. After several breaths focus your attention in the heart, as you place your hands there. Notice the difference this focus makes on your state and energy. As thoughts come, return to this focus.
- Gratitude and appreciation: These naturally bring you into your heart, expanding your energy. Be thankful for someone or something in your life, saying to yourself “I thank you for ____.” Then really appreciate that person or situation for whatever you value about them, staying present and aware of their qualities, what they bring to your life.
- Authentic communication: We can no longer hold anything which creates stress in when we truly express what we are feeling or thinking—when we come from our heart instead of our mind. We can listen from our heart, being completely present with the other person as they speak.
- Creative expression: When we are doing something we love—being creative, for example—we are free of stress and in the natural flow of our heart’s passion. Take time to pursue hobbies and interests, play and discover, express your creativity.
- Being with community: We are all transforming, evolving, and awakening. When we come together to practice and express ourselves as powerful creators, we serve one another, free ourselves, and expand our energy.
Call for Action
Check your relationship with stress. Shift your perspective. Use the stress as a sign to take action. Experiment and see which actions have the greatest impact on freeing you of stress and awakening you to all the possibilities of life.