“Stress is caused by being ‘here’ but wanting to be ‘there’.”
– Eckhart Tolle
I hear from every corner, that everybody is stressed. Be it a new job, an old job, family, relationship, the daily life or whatever. I also hear myself saying day in and day out: “oh, well, yeah, things are cool, but as usual a bit stressed, you know..”. The truth is I am not stressed at all.
First of all it’s a habit to talk about stress. We talk about stress, because it takes the responsibility from our shoulders to own our shit . We love to be “stressed out”. It’s a great escape from the reality of the feelings we have, which we don’t like so much to admit. So what feelings are actually stress-related?
If I am really feeling stressed and go deep into meditation or try to find the source of my stressed state of mind and body – I find the following descriptions:
Possible expressions of what we call stress could be: If we are having a deadline at work, we are stressed, because we have fear and are anxious of not being good enough in front of our boss and colleagues. If we have a breakup or fight with somebody we love, we often feel insecure and powerless. From time to time we just are depressed for any possible reason and a depression triggers lots of other stress-related feelings. If we’ve lost our perspective, we feel hopeless for bright days to come. Sometimes we hate somebody or a situation we are in. But here’s what matters: Did we just say, we’re stressed, so the colleague, lover or family member leaves us alone? Or are we really stressed? If so, why? If we are stressed and don’t like this situation – is there a chance to change it? (The right answer is always yes, but I didn’t say it.)
I believe, that as a first step to the exit out of a stressed state of mind and body is the identification of the subtler feelings of stress. What makes us feel stressed?
We have to get to the source. If we are truthful to ourselves, then we will establish the fact, that stress is nothing else than our trapped emotions.
But it isn’t our fault, because from our birth on we have been taught to resist ‘bad’ emotions instead of letting them be and feel them, live through them. If we feel ‘bad’ feelings, we immediately try to resist them. For example, if we have heart-ache, we immediately try to suppress our pain. And it’s becoming only worst. We create a chain of never ending pain and emotions, which make us deeply unhappy. And that leads to a depression and a deep dissatisfaction.
My personal experience with dealing with stress if actually very simple and it works well for me, so I would love to share it. Meditation is not for everybody and that’s absolutely okay. But there’s a little practice which can be helpful. And we need one tool for that: self-awareness. If we can be aware, that in that moment we are experiencing stress-related feelings, then the next step would be consciously not to try to fight them.
Sometimes I imagine my mind to be a little, very sweet and crying child (as my Vipassana teacher taught me and it works awesome for me) and I imagine to take this child into my arm, give it a warm, loving hug and tell it something like: “You feel/experience jealousy now, that’s okay. It will pass away. Just feel it. Give this feeling space within yourself. Cry it out, if you want. You’re safe.”
So with that, I practice compassion with myself and also allow the stress-related feelings to live and then to pass away. If I manage to allow them just to flow out, I don’t feel the need to talk about them for hours or sit in depression for weeks. I can bring myself back to the focus on what really matters to me. The full acceptance of the presence of stress-related feelings is a reminder on the higher purpose we have.
The other thing, which causes and facilitates stress is unhealthy nutrition and not doing sports/moving enough. Our mind and our body are one team, which has to play together. It’s impossible to have a clear and contented mind by constantly pigging out ourselves with junk food, sugar and unhealthy canned goods followed by alcohol and tobacco. So if we feel stress, we tend to overeat or to go out for alcoholic drinks. We feel the need to consume a lot of sugar and to have a solid, not-so-healthy restaurant-meal. So our mind is stressed and now we stress our body. Dumb, isn’t it?
I recently started a Vitamin C Course (thanx to Abel James and his Podcast Episode with the amazing Dr. Andrew Saul – I’m in love with both) and I try to take care of my sugar consumption (of course, when I sometimes eat a piece of cake I’m aware, that there’s sugar in it, but sugar is also in any kind of bread, in balsamic vinegar, in yoghurt, in smoothies from the supermarket, etc). Then, (thanx to Lewis Howes and his Podcast Episode with Dr.Hyman), I started to eat even more natural fats like avocados or walnuts and feel much better.
If I experience stress-related feelings, I (force myself to) work out and make myself an amazing, fresh green smoothie. I immediately feel better. I mean it. Sweating the hell out of me and having a great green raw dinner instead of drinking a bottle of wine with a friend, to run off at the mouth about my oh-such-a-big-stress.
While trying to figure out how to deal with stress-related feelings, we have to become an A-Level-Ssuper-Team with our own mind and body. We have to understand, to support, to love, and to feel our mind and body.
What does it mean to love our body? Not over-eating, eating vegetables and drinking a lot of clear water. It means sleeping well, giving ourselves the chance to rest and also being kind and loving, if we feel low energy. It means to work out regularly, especially if we have an office-job. (I go to Hot Iron Trainings and go for a swim before work early in the morning and I have to say it effects a miracle).
It’s as simple as it is. If we want to experience less stress-related feelings, we have to identify the source of them and be aware, that they are present in us. We have to become aware why they arise. In the next step we have to support ourselves to experience and to live through them. Mind-resistance causes more pain. Bad nutrition causes more pain. Mens sana in corpore sano. There’s no other way to nurture our body and mind than through new healthy habits, which are available to everyone. And the reward our body and mind will give us is damn priceless.
New healthy habits got me to a place I’ve never been before and I have to say, I don’t want to go back.
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