Stress is a huge factor when it comes to transformations. You could be stressed about anything from work to your personal life and lets face it, most of the time you have a right to be stressed out. Life can be hard! But to be able to properly move forward, learning to manage the stress is key.
In no way do I want you to look at everything through rose colored glasses, but I do want you to see there is a paradox to each stressor. The universal law of polarity states that everything has an opposite. And what you focus on is the direction you will move. There are always two sides to each situation – Where there is good, there is bad. Where there is a left, there is a right. There is no problem without a solution.
When stress builds up, it has a tendency to cloud our minds, and continues to roll and build up like a snowball growing in size, making it feel that life is harder than it needs to be. In your body, the stress manifests itself as thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, each of them linked together. Thoughts become negative, which brings bad emotions, then creates bad posture and decisions.
Followed by the chemical structure of your body to take its toll. Hormones become unbalanced causing a myriad of negative outcomes. For one, a catabolic hormone Cortisol builds up and starts to breakdown cells in your body, muscles and other soft tissues, but also conserves and builds body fats with the breakdown of other substances. The more cortisol in your body, the more you will crave high fat and high sugar foods. Creating a circle of weight gain.
But here again, the law of polarity – to build psychological strength, skills to prepare you for the future, and to grow, you need stress in your life.
Adversity and stress management is a skill that everyone can learn but practice is needed to be good at it. Using it as an opportunity rather than thinking of it as a negative situation. (Which when you are able to do that, it will already start to relieve some stress!) Like lifting heavy weights, trying to run faster than last time, stress will help to make you stronger and grow when used properly. Once you overcome it, you will have the strength to do it again.
To start building your stress skills, you need to start where you are.
Questions to answer now:
- What are my unique skill sets?
- When do I feel the strongest?
- When am I least likely to question myself?
- When do I feel like I have a purpose?
- When do I feel unstoppable?
- How do I feel when I overcome an obstacle?
Think back to a previous stressful time that you overcame:
- What did I do to overcome it?
- How did I feel after it was over? (stronger? accomplished?)
- Looking back, does it feel easy now?
Put yourself into your future when all your current stress is gone:
- What did it take to get there?
- What steps made it possible?
- How do I feel in this future?
Finding a sense of control
Sometimes stress builds because we are trying to control what is out of our control. When we feel in control, we also feel less stressed, empowered, and challenged, perfectly aligning with our skills. And the more stress we have the more we want to control our external life to try to relieve stress, which only causes more stress. To start we need to focus on what we can control. By letting go of what you can’t control (environment, other people, external factors), you gain even more control of what you do control (Actions, Effort, Responses).
When you find yourself in a stressful situation, ask yourself:
- What skills do I have to overcome this and how can I use them?
- What are my strengths and how can they be applied?
- Am I trying as hard as I can or can I try harder?
Pay attention to how you respond to something outside of your control and what happens to you. Do you tense up? Do fall off course? Do you say things you don’t mean? Learning the signs your body is giving you will help you to quickly adjust to the situation.
Start To Relieve Stress
There are many ways to relieve stress (including exercise) but everyone is different, work on finding what works for you. Like diet and exercise, practice it as often as everyday to grow your skills and become stronger.
- Go for a walk
- Listen to music and dance like no one is watching
- Reframe your thoughts – find some positivity in the situation
- Create a gratitude list (refocuses your thoughts)
- List everything that is going right (refocuses your thoughts)
- Teach your pets new tricks
- Read a book
- Play a game
- Do some Yoga or just sit on the floor and stretch for 10 minutes.
So the next time you are feeling overwhelmed or your body is showing signs of stress:
- Stop: everything you are doing. Sit down and close your eyes.
- Breathe: Inhale for a count of 7, exhale out normally. Relax your jaw and your shoulders when you exhale.
- Evaluate: after a few rounds of breathing, ask yourself why you are stressed. Can you control it? (Actions, Effort, Responses) If you can what can you do to fix it right now. If you can’t control it, can you let it go? If you can’t let it go, try removing yourself from the situation for a while. Go for a walk, stretch, find a way to relax for 10 minutes.
The whole process should take 15 – 20 minutes. After that try to get back to doing what you were doing or just move on with your day. You will be clearer to make better decisions and will be able to work harder. It does take some practice, so give it a chance and some time to work.
You can also use this worksheet I created for you, to help get your thoughts out on paper to better see it and solutions.