Every day I see beautiful, talented, smart women who are stressed out of their minds. They are suffering from panic attacks because they feel they're not good enough. They are developing irritable bowel syndrome because their bodies don't feel safe enough to relax (and therefore, digest their food). They are having more and more fights with loved ones because they are constantly on edge. Let's face it, operating from a state of stress has kind of become the norm in our culture. It's become acceptable because we put all of our focus on the external world and what we want to achieve, rather than building a strong foundation in our inner world of how we want to feel.
We can't keep going this way and the world can't handle the stress we are putting on ourselves and each other. Our health, our happiness, our family dynamics, our concept of neighbourhood and humanity are circling the drain - all because we focus more on self and ego achievement than we do about learning to love ourselves or each other.
All stress comes from a place of fear - a fear that we aren't enough, that we won't have enough or that the world won't be enough for us. The only way to combat fear is to actively choose to exit the current reality that we've created where stress is the norm and decide to create our lives from a place of love. When we choose to love ourselves then our health, our happiness and the quality of our relationships will skyrocket. When we love each other, we will see that we're not so different.....and war, racism and terrorism will cease to exist.
It's not naive or idealistic to believe these things. Obviously, we've done a lot of damage to our bodies, our psyche and the world in term of the energy we choose to bring into the world every day and I'm not saying these problems will disappear overnight, but the first and biggest step is to just make that choice....do you want to keep living in this stressed out way that doesn't serve you or the world? Or do you want to be part of the revolution and experience life from a place of really high frequency love and connection?
Here are a few things you can do to start decreasing stress in your body, mind and spirit. Remember: it starts with you, then ripples to your friends, your community, then the world.
De-stressing the body
Your body is usually in one of two states: the sympathetic nervous system or the parasympathetic nervous system. The first is your 'fight or flight' system or your state of stress. This is where most of us are operating from. Whether it's fear of not living up to our boss' expectations, the fear of being single forever or just not feeling good enough in general, we are constantly prepared for an attack. This perception of fear leads to weight gain, stress, IBS, depression and a whole host of other things that destroy your health and happiness.
The way your body knows it is actually safe is all cued by your breath so the first thing you can do to help love your body is to take time out to do some deep breathing. Place your hand on your belly, right up under your ribs and make sure when you breathe in your hand rises and when you breathe out your stomach contracts. Focus on not moving your shoulders at all and instead imagine a balloon in your stomach being inflated and deflated. This will activate your parasympathetic nervous system and help you start to get back into a 'rest and digest' mode.
De-stressing the mind
As Eckhart Tolle said, "You have a mind but you are not your mind." This is the game-changer between people that are emotionally happy and people that aren't. We all have an inner critic that lives in our heads and feeds us thoughts about what's "true" or "real" or "how life is"...but this voice is just that - a voice. It's a voice that is based on fear and survival and trying to protect you which is great....but it's not concerned with how happy you feel or how much love you're experiencing. Whenever you think something that makes you feel like crap, ask yourself "What is the fear around this?" and "What would love do in this situation?" You'll be amazed by how empowering this is and how much happier you will feel.
De-stressing the spirit
Spirit, heart, soul...whatever you want to call it, it doesn't really matter. The point is, that this part of you that holds all your unique passions, desires, dreams, preferences and interests is a part of you. When was the last time you checked in with her? If you feel like life isn't working, that you're disconnected or out of alignment then I guarantee you, that's true. That is your spirit telling you that you aren't living from your values or in accordance with what's true and important to you, Chances are you are doing what you think you 'should' do.
Meditation is a powerful tool to access your inner truth, as well as coaching or counselling. So much of the pain we feel comes from a place that we don't even know exists because we've never given ourselves a moment to hear what's really going on in our heart and soul. Starting with a coach can be a great way to uncover these feelings in a supportive environment where they won't overwhelm you. If you feel strong enough, simply sitting in stillness and bringing your attention to your heart space can be another great way to de-stress your spirit. Once you feel connected to your heart space, ask yourself "What do I need to do right now to feel happy?" and just as importantly, "What do I need to let go of?"
These are not just nice ideas. Practicing de-stressing your body, mind and spirit will change the way you see everything in your life and in the world - I guarantee it. All you need to do is be willing to see the world a different way and to open to the tools that help you to shift your perception from stress to love.
I'm hosting a class in Christchurch on Wednesday 20 July in which we will cover all of these tools and many more. If you'd like to come along and learn how to "Relax and Re-Centre', check out the flyer on my Facebook page.