Unfortunately, life can be really tough! Many of us are living with stress for many hours every day. This means we’re essentially living in ‘survival mode.’ We are rushing to get the kids to school, the report finished on time, dealing with traffic, bills to pay, appointments to keep, etc. It’s no wonder that we are feeling stressed!
Do you know what the sad thing about this is? The degree to which most of us are living a hard life, a stressful life…. According to Dr. Joe Dispenza, (watch the video below), many of us are spending up to seventy percent of our days under stress, in survival mode! This is seemingly a result of our modern way of life….. and, it’s not healthy or sustainable for extended periods!
What Effect Does Stress Have On Me?
I’m sure it’s easy for all of us to recall a time when we were really stressed. Our kids’ may have had an accident, the report due today was eaten by our dog, or we may have had a serious fight with our partner. Every day, there are thousands of things that can push our buttons and cause us to become stressed.
Whatever the situation, the effects are the same. According to the Mayo Clinic, ‘Chronic stress can wreak havoc on your mind and body.’ This is because when under pressure, our bodies release extra stress hormones, including cortisol. And cortisol can elevate anxiety and depression levels which can become severe if left unaddressed.
As if this is not bad enough, to compound the issue, more stress, depression, and anxiety, in turn, can lead to lower serotonin levels. This is a hormone we actually want more of, because serotonin is a ‘feel-good’ brain neurotransmitter that produces calm, relaxed feelings.
“We face up to awful things because we can’t go around them. The sooner you say ‘Yes, it happened,’ the sooner you can get on with your own life.” – Annie Proulx
Ultimately, this sequence (raised levels of stress hormones and lower levels of feel-good ones) cause us many kinds of psychological issues. Because when our hormone levels are out of balance, it can contribute to, and worsen existing mental health issues. According to singlecare.com, a list of symptoms of hormone imbalance include:
- Depressed mood
- Sleep disturbances (fatigue and insomnia)
- Changes in weight (gain or loss)
- Muscle aches, stiffness, or weakness
- Memory loss
- Brain fog
- Difficulty concentrating
- Fast or slow heartbeat
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Hair loss
- Dry skin
- Temperature intolerance
As well as temporarily causing distress in our mental state of being, the effects of long-term stress also push our genetic buttons. And unfortunately for us, it activates the buttons that create disease in our bodies. All the stress, anger, frustration, hatred, etc. we feel is adversely affecting us, mentally and emotionally, as well as all others we come into contact with. And this includes our kids, our partners, extended family, friends, work colleagues, etc….. Nobody wins when we are stressed, especially us!
My life is busy with many things I can’t control, so it’s natural for me to be stressed. But I can handle it!
When we’re under pressure every day, we feel out of balance – the constant stress knocks our brain and body out of their natural homeostatic state. In contrast, if we’re relaxed within our environment, we would feel calm, relaxed, and at peace. But we’re not, and it is the stress of trying to control the outcomes in our lives that makes us question ourselves and feel that ‘life is hard,’ or ‘my life sucks,’ and ask ‘why do bad things keep happening to me?’
By coming to understand what is happening to our physiology when we become stressed, we can learn to recognize the symptoms as they begin to build up. And we practice, we can learn how to alleviate and dissipate them before they become detrimental to our health and wellbeing.
In previous times, we may have been stressed because we were being chased by a lion or bear…. the stress was immediate and intense. However, if we got away, our stress would have left us as well. Our stress was a direct response to having to survive in a harsh environment that dictated only the fittest would survive.
Nowadays, the bulk of our stresses are not caused by life-threatening situations. We tend to build it up, bit by bit, over time. And because we don’t know how to ‘let it go’ the effects remain and accumulate to negatively affect our bodies, minds, and emotions over the course of our lives.
“Life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you; they’re supposed to help you discover who you are.” – Bernice Johnson Reagon
We can get stressed when our attention is going from this person to that person, from this task to that deadline, to the next meeting, to the kids’ problems, etc. And it’s when we’re not certain about outcomes (that’s why we’re thinking and worrying about them) that our brain signals begin firing incoherently.
It’s like we’re stepping on the gas pedal and the brake at the same time. There’s no clear intention or instruction given to our brains to see solutions to remedy our problems. We become ‘out of whack’ with our natural homeostatic state. This causes our hearts to lose their natural rhythm and begin beating unnaturally.
And this incoherence causes our hearts and brains to lose energy, and not function optimally.
The loss of energy, (loss of coherence between our hearts and brains due to stress) results in us feeling detached from our lives and from the ‘life force’ itself. When this happens, we begin to feel separate and alone, like we’ve got to do everything ourselves. Our hopes and dreams for a good life will no longer seem attainable, and we will not be able to have deep and meaningful relationships with others…..
These negative consequences happen because, while we are living with stress it’s not possible to open our hearts. We are existing in ‘fight or flight’ mode….. and when in this mode, there is no energy left for compassion, for consideration, for genuinely giving, or for learning and growing. It’s a time when our energies are given to surviving as a priority!
This sucks! I want a better life. What is the best way to reduce stress in my life?
So, how do we get out of a survival/stressed mode and into a more relaxed, open, and loving state of being? The secret is in the words ‘State of Being.’ Because although most of you will argue that our stress is caused by things that are happening to us, IT IS THE WAY WE ARE PROCESSING THE INFORMATION WE ARE RECEIVING FROM OUR ENVIRONMENT THAT CAUSES US TO BECOME STRESSED OR NOT.
Don’t believe me? Why can one person sit quite happily in a traffic jam while another succumbs to road rage? How is it that one parent sits quietly on the sidelines and enjoys watching their kids play soccer while another is yelling, screaming, and going red with rage? Why does one person pass out with fear on a roller coaster ride, while others scream with joy?…. the list of examples is endless.
But the point is this: It’s not the events, circumstances, or people in our environment that are responsible for the levels of stress we feel. THE REALITY IS THAT OUR LEVELS OF STRESS ARE ENTIRELY OF OUR OWN MAKING! Our stress is the result of HOW WE THINK about the stuff that is going on around us.
Our thoughts are responsible for the way we feel! And once we understand and accept this we can use it to our advantage, including having control over the levels of mental, emotional, and physical stress we feel and exhibit. Changing your thoughts will not only change how you feel but also how you react to stuff in your lives. And by having coherent thoughts, your brain and heart energies will become synchronized. And when this happens, all aspects of your lives will improve….. because you will be a better person.
What are some things I can do now to help me reduce the stress I am feeling?
I could now give you a big list, with explanations, of things to do that will help you control your stress and hopefully even eliminate it. This list would include things listed on many other websites like:
– Go easy on yourself…. Don’t expect to be able to do everything all the time
– Exercise to get the adrenalin pumping
– Relaxation exercises like yoga, tai chi, breathing, etc.
– Eliminate or reduce stimulants like caffeine and cigarettes
– Talk to supportive people
– Rest and take time out for your needs and wants
– Make time for the fun things you enjoy
– Learn to say no to others, and make your needs a priority
– Tend to your health, eat better and get enough sleep
– Listen to relaxing music
– Practice gratitude by reminding yourself of the good things in your life
– Identify people who cause you stress- Avoid them if and when possible
– Plan to do less so you can do things with ease instead of under pressure
– Remove stress-causing stuff from your environment. (Stop watching the evening news on TV)
– Accept responsibility for the way you are feeling and change your thoughts if you are not happy
– Stop trying to control things that are outside of your ability to control (including other people)
(And it looks like I have given you a list…..) However, as good as some of these suggestions are, they are not the best solution to managing and eliminating stress from our lives.
The best solution involves managing our thought processes.
So while many of these solutions listed above will help us reduce stress, they will come up short when it comes to eliminating our stress. This is because they are only focusing on the symptoms, (the feeling of stress) instead of the cause of our stress. The real and lasting solution to ridding ourselves from stress can only be achieved when we change/reduce/eliminate the initial cause of our stress….
Our stress is made manifest in our emotions and bodies because of the thoughts we have been having. So it is our thinking process that is the cause of our stress. And therefore it is our thoughts that need to change before our symptoms of stress will go away.
This is the only real solution to stress as well as other issues (including anger and fear.) These emotions only exist because of what’s going on within our internal world (thoughts and feelings.) So if we deal with the source of the issues, their origin (the thoughts we are having) we can improve our state of being for all times.
And the number one best way of improving our thoughts and feelings and therefore our state of being is to practice meditation!
And before you say meditation is too hard, I don’t have time to waste sitting around doing nothing, I’ve tried it before and couldn’t do it….etc. etc. etc….. (I’ve heard them all before,) imagine your life will be in ten years’ time if you don’t begin doing something now to reduce your stress levels? Will you still be alive??? Because you know that stress is a big killer these days……
So, my suggestion to you, so that you can improve the quality of your lives, have better relationships, more fun, laughter, and joy, is to put aside 10 to 15 minutes each day to relax and become familiar with the thought patterns that are most often crossing through your minds.
Then: Identify those you don’t want to be there, those that don’t serve your best intentions for a better life…. And let them go! STOP giving your energy to them.
Instead: Begin to imagine the better life you wish to be living and put as much thought and emotional energy into ‘feeling’ what a better version of you is like in your ideal life…..and the more you do this, the more you feel it, the sooner it will begin to become your reality.
The Law of Attraction will make it so!
What has your experience with stress been? And have you overcome it, or managed to reduce it? Please let us know in the comments below, as our readers will also be able to benefit from your experiences.
I wish you all the best for your wonderful new lives based on the great things you wish to create for yourselves,