Stress. I don’t know anyone that doesn’t experience it. Some people deal with it daily, while for others it’s more situational. No matter how or where stress shows up, it’s never good for us; yet we’ve become used to it and possibly even a bit addicted to it.
Stress can be a motivator. It pushes us to get things done. It’s also very acceptable in our society, isn’t it? If I had a nickel for every time I heard someone say, “I’m so busy” or “I’m so stressed,” I would have a lot of nickels!
If you relate to saying these statements, please STOP. You DON’T want to follow “I am” with things you do not want because it just reinforces it.
Stress wreaks havoc on our body, mind, and spirit. It jacks up our cortisol, throws off our hormones, taxes our digestion, and disconnects us from our intuition during the times we need it most.
I know you know that stress isn’t good for you. So how do you de-stress? Does it require a trip to the Bahamas? No…not at all. Actually, a vacation is more an escapism tactic than an actual cure for stress.
Here’s what does help: a daily meditation practice, breathing, decreasing sugar and caffeine, saying no, delegating, bringing yourself consistently back to the present moment, time blocking, stopping procrastination, ditching perfectionism, and spending time in nature.
But sometimes even implementing all of the above doesn’t alleviate our stress because we haven’t dealt with the core issue of what the stress is TRULY about.
Your stress isn’t coming from your job, your kids, your partner, your finances, or your health. Your stress is coming from how you relate to the circumstances of your life.
What I’ve discovered in my own life and from coaching others is that limiting beliefs and old patterns from our past are what perpetuate stress more than anything else. Let me share a personal example to make this clearer. Growing up, I constantly struggled with my weight and body image, and I was teased and criticized a lot for my appearance. As a young woman, I dated many men who criticized my weight, told me I was no longer attractive when I gained weight, and even took me places where they could stare at “beautiful” and “perfect” women and then ask me, “Why can’t you look like her?”
These experiences created the limiting beliefs that “There’s something wrong with my body,” and “People don’t like me.” Because of these bullsh*@ beliefs, I was consistently on alert for something to go wrong physically. And I was also really self-conscious about how I interacted in the world and how I was perceived. Can you see how this would create stress in my life?
Life can be challenging and there are plenty of invitations to create stress. So, when we don’t get to the core of how and why we relate to our life in a stress-producing way, we’ll never feel relief. Maybe your self-induced stress response comes from being teased or bullied as a child/young adult. Or maybe a big cause of your self-imposed stress comes from being raised in a strict household where you constantly felt as if you had to be “good,” and that you were never living up to other’s expectations.
Think about how you were raised, and whether you faced any difficult or traumatic experiences during your formative years. Then consider how your upbringing and/or those experiences may be impacting how you show up in your adult life.
What’s so great about getting to the core issue of what creates a stress-response in your body is that you can then shift it!!! It’s time to start really seeing yourself and seeing your gifts. Be connected to yourself, to others, and to your Higher Power. You are so much more capable and exceptional than you know!