To know if you are stressed, let’s take time to understand what stress is. In my Certified Stress Management Consultant seminar, my teacher, Dr. George Bien, says it best:
“Stress is response to change!”
I’d like to note that there is positive stress and there is negative stress. Positive stress stems from things that challenge us in a good way, such as change (we all view change differently), work we love, hobbies, or even volunteering. These things, though they may prove challenging, affect us in healthy ways, giving us more joy, happiness, and a love for life.
The type of stress I want to focus on is negative stress. Our bodies can adapt and are suited to handle short-term negative stress, so I should say that this is to educate, make aware of, and/or remind you of long-term negative stress specifically.
How do you know if you are stressed out? More importantly, have you taken account for how long have you been in such a state?
Here is a quick list of signs you may be stressed:
- Lack of vibrancy, constant tiredness
- Eating too much or too little
- Overindulgence in drug (nicotine, alcohol, etc.) intake
- Chronic pain
- Unexpected weight gain or weight loss
- Sexual dysfunction
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Other physical issues, such as upset stomach, diarrhea or constipation
PLEASE always check with your doctor if any of these signs have been chronic as there may be other health issues not related to stress at play.
What is adding stress to your live? I suggest that you take a few seconds and breathe, close your eyes, and maybe put your hand on your heart before answering. Take a few seconds now and do this. I’d love to know what comes up for you.
Are your stressors residing in your internal self: e.g., your goals, desires, dreams (failing to realize them), feeling powerless, expectations you put on yourself or others? And/or are they external: family obligations, family in general, your job, unexpected changes, and so on?
Here is a list of some of the most common stressors:
- Birth and/or adoption of a new baby
- Death of a loved one
- Marriage or divorce
- Financial status
- Employment, especially loss of it
- Chronic physical and/or mental illness
Please remember, most of our stressors really come from within and you always have the power to de-stress. Are you ready to get more peace in your life?
Ways to de-stress:
- Practice purposeful deep breathing
Sounds simple? Please try a five second breath: breathe in for five seconds, hold for five seconds, then let go for five seconds. How was that? Can you do five, five-second breaths?
- Be conscious of your thoughts
Are you saying things—whether to yourself or out loud—like, “I have to,” “I should,” “I hate that,” or other negative affirmations? If you are, start with one thing you can change, especially your words, by simply adding at least one positive statement to your day, and/or taking one “I have to” compulsion off your list. You could also try turning down someone asking you for help if that’s something you normally don’t do. Doing any of these things will help you get your power back.
- Pay attention to your internal emotional gauge
Are you having lots of anger, sad or fear pop up? These are all normal emotions and their presence suggests they have a message for you. I liken them to a toddler. When they go unnoticed, they become louder and show up more frequently. When you acknowledge them, you are able to diffusion tension.
This is a tool I use for myself and I use on a daily basis when a negative thought or emotion shows up: I simply say, “Thank you for showing up. Help me understand. Thank you.” I’ll repeat this if needed. Often times, the negative thought or emotion leaves, and/or there is some insight as to why it surfaced. Understanding is a gateway to all knowledge and transcendence.
- Tune in to how your body is feeling
Sometimes in life we have certain responsibilities that we’re simply unable to change, like taking care of our children or a sick loved one. Even here, self-care is essential: if your body breaks down, then how can you care for them?
Take at least a few moments every day to bring in some type of relaxation, whether you go for short walk, dance, do purposeful movement, or grab a blanket and sit in the sun or by a tree listening to the birds and nature. If you are in a city, you can listen to the “noise” as if it’s music, giving you the same benefits. Another option is to quietly sit, close your eyes and visualize your safe place, or favorite vacation spot, or see yourself on your dream vacation.
- Watch what you eat
“The first wealth is health” (Ralph Waldo Emerson). I live by the WildFit lifestyle created by Eric Edmeades because “you are what you eat,” healthful or not. I have learned and personally experienced how what I eat and drink makes a big difference on my stress levels.
At minimum, be conscious of what you consume: why, when, and how it is really making you feel. Processed sugar is one the worst things you can do for your body and, in addition to reducing your stress, limiting intake will benefit your waistline.
The BIGGEST lifestyle change I made was learning how to meditate. It was no small feat for someone who could barely sit for five minutes! Even now my personal practice consists of just fifteen to twenty minutes of daily meditation.
Start with two to three minutes a day, just sitting quietly with your eyes closed, focusing on your breathing—I suggest you do some big-belly breaths too—and go to your favorite place. You can again put your hand on your heart to enhance the experience. There are many opportunities throughout the day to squeeze this in, no matter how busy your schedule is.
Let me know what most resonates with you, and how you can apply all this to your life. Sending you much healing love, light and abundance!