There’s hardly anything more harmful to one’s health than stress. It doesn’t matter how well you eat or how much money you earn or how successful you are – if you’re stressed over extended periods of time, you’re inevitably going to feel perpetually miserable and damage your health. This video demonstrates the issue beautifully:
So, what causes stress?
Stress is caused by not accepting a situation as it is but instead thinking about what should be. We tend to have expectations of ourselves and others that are not being met. When they’re not being met, we become resentful, judgmental, disappointed, angry or sad. We often hold onto experiences of the past and worry about things in the future, instead of being present in the moment. The present moment is a gift – that’s why it’s called present. We have a habit of not appreciating this gift. Instead, we tend to focus on things that do not benefit us.
We need to stop blaming others and take responsibility instead. Responsibility is the ability to respond, rather than to react like some programmed robot. Whenever you find yourself whingeing, complaining, criticising, condemning and manipulating, you’re reacting, not responding. You’re not being present.
Everything in life is based on either love or fear.
Love creates and fear reacts.
The Choice is up to you.
Whatever the present moment brings, ask yourself: What would love do now? When you stop resisting and start flowing, you are acting from the perspective of a higher vision and you’re becoming creative instead of being reactive.
Stress arises when there’s conflict. Conflict happens when you think you’re right and the other person is wrong. Stop trying to be right and prove others wrong. It’ll never cause anything but grief. The moment you start defending your point of view of something, you’re trying to be right. Observe yourself – without judgement. Let it go. Become flexible.
Allow people to be themselves, accept that everyone is different. They have the right to live according to their own awareness, as much as you do. Everyone should have the freedom to be themselves, without judgment.
“To be wronged is nothing unless you continue to remember it.” ~ Confucius
If you’re tempted to judge people, think of this analogy: Imagine you’re at high school and you’re looking at the little kids from primary school. They may have had fewer lessons and lots more to learn to be ready for high school, but does it make them worth any less than you or less loveable in any way? How would they react if you expected them to learn everything they needed to know for high school immediately? It would be absurd to have that expectation.
Just as you allow others to be themselves, allow yourself the same freedom. Be true to yourself.
You’re not on this Earth to please people, you’re here to be yourself. The moment you think you ‘should’ do something, you probably shouldn’t. Listen to your instincts.
Imagine what life would be like if we always stayed in the moment, focusing on nothing but gratitude while accepting ourselves and others exactly as they are, without judgment? Think about it – is it possible to appreciate and be grateful for everything that the moment brings and feel miserable at the same time? How could you possibly feel sadness, resentment and disappointment when you’re completely focused on gratitude and acceptance?
We may not be able to control or change circumstances or people, but we can choose to either respond or react. That choice is entirely ours.
No matter how difficult circumstances my appear, there’s always something you can be grateful for – even if it’s just the sun shining, or having legs to walk on, or eyes to see, or not feeling agonising pain. How often do we choose to complain over feeling grateful?
The more we choose to focus on negative emotions, the more disconnected we become from the very source that enables us to experience peace, joy and love…
It helps to understand that there is a purpose in the existence of stress and adversity. This analogy explains it beautifully:
Lobsters…A friend sent me this. Thought it was an interestin…Lobsters…A friend sent me this. Thought it was an interesting twist of viewing/dealing with stress!
Posted by Pat Divilly on Wednesday, 3 February 2016
So here’s where the vicious circle starts for most people: We’ve allowed ourselves to become disconnected or shut down because of the discomfort that adversity brings, misunderstanding that it is that very adversity that is the building block for our growth. Because we’ve allowed ourselves to disconnect from our inner source, we’ve inadvertently shut down the most important pathway that helps us out of the even most difficult situations – our instincts.
And this is how I overcame horrendous challenges in my life: I accepted the challenges that presented themselves, adapted the best I could and chose to listen to my heart and instincts rather than allowing my mind and fears take control of my life.
Even if you feel you’ve failed or made too many mistakes, it’s never too late to turn things around. A good starting point is this “elimination diet”:
Whatever life dishes you up, try and not take everything too seriously. Life is meant to be fun!
Here are many useful tips on how to manage stress more specifically:[/cs_text][/cs_column][/cs_row][/cs_section][cs_section parallax=”false” style=”margin: 0px;padding: 0px;”][cs_row inner_container=”true” marginless_columns=”false” style=”margin: 0px auto;padding: 0px;”][cs_column fade=”false” fade_animation=”in” fade_animation_offset=”45px” fade_duration=”750″ type=”1/1″ style=”padding: 0px;”][x_accordion][x_accordion_item title=”Deepak Chopra Video: How To Manage Stress And Heal Your Life” open=”false”]
How to manage stress and heal your life
Posted by Deepak Chopra on Friday, 22 April 2016
Taking time to make lasting memories with the ones that you love is vital to living a fulfilled life. It’s not the amount you can afford to spend – or even the health of your bank account – that determines your wealth. It’s the magic moments that you create and the gratitude you cultivate that determines your wealth.
Posted by Tony Robbins on Saturday, 6 February 2016
It takes courage and a lot of self love to say no a relationship that has run its course – especially when it’s not really bad (yet). Once you’ve settled for mediocrity, you’ve closed doors to what could be one of the greatest sources of joy in your life. If you’re staying with someone who’s not willing to respect and appreciate you, you’re doing yourself harm.
In this context, I found this article very insightful:
⇒ Why Women Leave Men They Love
If your partner displays any of this kind of behaviour, it’s definitely best for you to say goodbye:
⇒ 3 Reasons You Can’t Win with a Narcissist
For a relationship to work, there’s got to be mutual love and respect. Any kind of codependency is not love and cannot work.
I love this excerpt from Khalil Gibran’s book – The Prophet:
Then Almitra spoke again and said, And what of Marriage, master?
And he answered saying:
You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days.
Ay, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other’s cup but don’t drink from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.
Posted by Oprah Winfrey on Saturday, 14 February 2015
[/x_accordion_item][x_accordion_item title=”Career And Finance” open=”false”]A lot of stress in life is created when our work decisions are controlled by what we think will make us happy – forever chasing goals of financial security and success. If what you do doesn’t make your heart sing, take a good look at what you spend most of your time on and ask yourself: “Am I compromising who I am doing this?”
What many seem to perceive as the ultimate success, can turn out to be quite the opposite:
Move towards what excites you. And then have the courage to say no to anything that compromises who you are.
If you’re unsure where your future lies, don’t worry. Make the best of the now and your path will reveal itself as you walk along. Many people don’t find their purpose or talent until later in life:
I acted as CFO for a fairly large business for many years, and I believe I was successful in doing so because I wouldn’t allow the financial aspects to interfere with my core values. Of course it is necessary to be profitable in business to succeed, but important values, such as quality and integrity, should never be sacrificed for the sake of profit. Financial gains should only ever occur as a side effect of loving what you do and doing it well. And it doesn’t matter how efficient, clever or talented you may be – how you treat people will ultimately determine your fate…
And of courses success doesn’t happen by itself – it requires effort and dedication to create something worthwhile. If you’re feeling a bit unmotivated, try this method to get you started:
Sometimes I feel the universe is stirring things up to point you to a new direction. Then it’s important to listen to your instincts and be prepared to let go, even if a financial sacrifice is involved. It is by taking leaps of faith with your actions that you open doors to your future and dreams.
Often, when financial loss occurs, it isn’t a curse but a blessing. There are always important lessons involved. If those lessons are learned and you move into the direction your heart and instincts are pointing, the finances will sort themselves out. It takes courage to trust that. Most people would rather stick with perceived stability than take risks but they’ll end up suffering in the long term.
[/x_accordion_item][x_accordion_item title=”Children” open=”false”]Children can be the greatest source of joy but also the biggest trigger for worrying. Even when they’ve grown into adults, it’s near impossible for most parents to not worry about their children. The bond is so strong – it’s hard to feel happy when your children are not.
I’ve raised two of my own children and co-raised three stepchildren (they’re all adults now). When juggling several children at once, things can become hectic and overwhelming and it’s important to try and not lose your composure. How you make children feel about themselves in those formative years can have a huge impact in their later years.
The thing is, you can only ever do the best you can and don’t beat yourself up for not being the perfect parent. It’s not a competition – it’s a never ending learning process – both for parents and children.
Often stress is created unnecessarily. Here’s a good example of how a trigger can be turned around in a beautiful way:
Children can be an extraordinary blessing. They have a tendency toward playfulness, authenticity, candour and innocence that often becomes lost as they get older. It is mostly the conditioning parents rub off onto their children that prevents them from experiencing the joy they may have felt in their younger years.
As parents we carry a huge responsibility. Just that awareness alone can be stressful. Try and focus on what matters and just do the best you can.
Whatever happened in the past, don’t beat yourself up.
Even parents who fail miserably can be great teachers, having taught their children what not to do.
Here’s an excerpt regarding children from Khalil Gibran’s book – ‘The Prophet”, which I absolutely love:
And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, Speak to us of Children.
And he said:
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.[/x_accordion_item][x_accordion_item title=”Trauma” open=”false”]Most of us have had at least some traumatic experiences in their lives and some many. Personally, I have experienced many different kinds of traumas and dozens of them – some of them severe. I’ve stared death in the face on numerous occasions and I’ve been hurt badly and repeatedly, in many different ways. I’m a survivor and when you keep surviving and come out the other end, you become stronger and wiser. The key is to never get stuck in the trauma. When ‘shit happens’, you have a choice: Become bitter or better. Keep moving forward and do the best you can.
Most people know very little about my life but when I share some of my stories, they seem surprised that I appear to be so unaffected by the hurts of my past. I’ve always instinctively found ways to cope and it took me many years to understand why my coping mechanisms were so effective.
No matter how bad things can get, there’s always something you can focus on that you can appreciate. Focus on that. Always focus on gratitude, especially when you feel tempted to whinge. Stay in the present and deal with each moment step by step, stop allowing your mind to drive you crazy about what may or may not happen. Stop resisting what you’re experiencing and trust there’s a lesson, a valuable understanding that will result from such experiences. Sometimes it may take years to understand the meaning, the lesson or the blessing in disguise. I believe nothing happens by chance. I look back at my life today and I can see purpose and value in everything that has happened. Life seems terribly unfair at times, but only if you judge your experience based on a snippet. There’s always more to come…
“When you are joyous, look deep into your heart, and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.” – Khalil Gibran
It is in embracing it all and responding to everything as if you’d chosen it – then you’re no longer a victim, you become a victor. Stress is caused by not accepting what is. In order to be able to change something, you first need to acknowledge the reality of what is. What you resist, persists. The lessons won’t go away until they’re learned. And the learning never ends…
It’s like when you’re in rough waters – you can fight the waves to the point of drowning or you can learn to surf… or in some cases it may even work out better to just surrender to the waves and let them carry you…
I made an interesting observation when I was a teenager. I’d like to share the story because it makes a good analogy and it’s an example of how life can teach us something in small and unexpected ways.
I went on a skiing holiday with my school class. Most people ski in Austria but my parents couldn’t afford to take me and my siblings skiing (or on any other holidays for that matter), so I was the only kid in class having to take beginner’s lessons. I started off holding my skis in a V-shaped position until I could slowly get into the standard parallel position the next day. I was going much slower than everybody else but I was expected to keep up with them regardless. I spent Day 2 and 3 of my skiing lessons on my skis 8 hours a day, but without the breaks everyone else was getting. The moment I’d finally catch up with them, they’d all impatiently take off again… It was exhausting but I loved the challenge of it. Those first days were pretty rough – I kept on crashing constantly until I finally realised why. I was so afraid to face straight downhill for even a split second that I would turn my head to the right while my skis were still facing left, vice versa. Only when I faced my fear and momentarily pointed both my face and skis straight downhill for a moment during each turn, did I stop falling. And that’s pretty much how life works. We need to face our fears head on – the more we resist that, the more we will fall…
But falling is ok, too. As long as we keep getting back up, dusting ourselves off and keep trying again.
[/x_accordion_item][x_accordion_item title=”Unresolved Emotions And Spiritual Disconnection” open=”false”]
One of the biggest underlying and often subconscious stress factors can be unresolved emotions. I keep in touch with some lovely ladies and recently one of them shared something she expressed so utterly brilliantly that I immediately asked her permission to share it here on my website. My friend, Mia, was supporting someone suffering from PCOS and here’s an excerpt from her message:
“Here’s the deal- anger is the emotion that covers up sadness which is the emotion that covers up the Loving, the sadness comes from disconnecting from the Loving (mostly through limiting beliefs, mental conditioning which can create physical and mental habits that make it physiologically challenging to experience connecting to the Loving (which is always there btw)
For most women especially anger is an unacceptable and misunderstood emotion, however it is a reality and completely normally occurring emotion. Can’t be accepted and loved as a member of society to express it externally or to share it to be healed (to experience the sadness fully and then access the loving) it has to go somewhere, and we unconsciously internalize it.
In eastern medicine traditions and in Yogic science we learn that the Ovaries are the first organ to be impacted by “stress”, is a biological safety device- if you’re under attack somewhere it’s not the best odds for maximum species survival to be ovulating right there and then. Is time to escape or run… But if that energy triggered by the upset to escape isn’t fully expressed- again internalized…” – Mia Haber (Golden Bridge Yoga, NYC)
This is just one example of how stress and internalising emotions can contribute to illness. Another good example is in relation to my father and his experience with cancer. What we internalise is much more powerful than what most of us deem possible…
Watch this powerful video that visually demonstrates the power of our thoughts:
[/x_accordion_item][x_accordion_item title=”Conclusion” open=”true”][/x_accordion_item][/x_accordion][/cs_column][/cs_row][/cs_section][cs_section parallax=”false” style=”margin: 0px;padding: 0px;”][cs_row inner_container=”true” marginless_columns=”false” style=”margin: 0px auto;padding: 0px;”][cs_column fade=”false” fade_animation=”in” fade_animation_offset=”45px” fade_duration=”750″ type=”1/1″ style=”padding: 0px;”][cs_text]There are many symptoms of stress, and improving your environment can make a huge difference in your life. Explore my page on Decluttering for many tips on how to make your home a feel-good sanctuary.
I’m also sharing many practical hints and tips on how to make everyday tasks more fun, creative, non-toxic and helpful. Click here to explore my collection of Handy Tips.
Another major stress factor in life can be grief or being confronted with one’s own mortality. To view the challenge from a new perspective and find comfort, please click here.
For more ideas on how to eliminate stress from your life, check out my Instagram Channel with my collection of inspirational quotes.
Also go to my menu and click on ‘Inspiration’ for uplifting reading, videos and movie tips to brighten up your day.