Stress is a symptom of a much larger issue in your life.
I have a lot of clients that come to me saying they can’t deal with ongoing stress in their life and need help on how to deal with it. When I ask them what is causing the stress the usual answer is along the lines of workload, crap clients, not enough money or work, or their relationships are not working. Or they’re simply just stuck in the hamster wheel of life.
The common mind set here is that if they had the techniques to deal with their stress they would be able to put up with the cause and then they’ll be OK. Which to me is like asking for a technique to help alleviate the pain of someone hitting you on the head constantly with a hammer, and not actually dealing with the hammer or the maniac hitting you.
Of course, you can learn to be more resilient to work under pressure, but that isn’t a long term solution. Really it’s about addressing the actual cause – the hammer and the maniac.
What is stress exactly though? It’s our inability to deal with the tension of extended demands upon us. We can’t see an end point to the situation. Over time it drains us of energy and motivation and it makes it really difficult to actually connect to what you want to feel in your life. You end up living life on other peoples demanding terms. And in the end, you end up numb, having a breakdown, or making bad decisions and acting out in damaging ways.
So here is what you must decide:
You need to set the terms out for how you want to live your life.
However, just saying you don’t want stress, or to feel good in your life isn’t really going to solve the problem. You need to actually feel what those terms are. You need to feel it from your authentic desire. The terms have to be real to you.
And for those of you who have been following my work, you’ll already know what I’m about to say.
Stop thinking about what to do and get into awareness. Get into the moment. Thinking about solutions isn’t going to help you just yet because you’re overwhelmed and grasping at solutions. It’s the same as the mental reactions we have, our thinking complicates our state even more.
When you’re in the moment, in awareness, there is no past or future, there is only this moment. There is nothing else do in this moment other than what it is you’re actually doing. That one thing you are doing.
This is what mindfulness is about. The practice of bringing your focus into the moment.
So. You’re feeling stressed. This is your experience right now. Get into approval of it. And then notice what changes, what is the feeling there. Are you furious about the circumstances in your life? Are you in despair? And if you are in despair then you’re only a few steps away from a breakdown or depression, so you really need to start paying attention and address this.
Whatever it is you’re feeling, this is your reality right now. This is you. Be in approval of it. Through this you can start to connect to you and what you want to feel instead.
Probably you just want to feel peace, and space, and more time. And that’s good. Get into approval of it. Really feel it. Whatever it is, start to see your life from this place. If you’re really in your awareness, and in the moment, you’ll have more focus, more clarity, and you will get a lot more insight on what do to about your situation. Specifically, what kind of activity you can do to feel more peace, space and time in your life?
Whatever that looks like, you really need this to connect to yourself. That might be just be getting more sleep, sitting down for a good meal, doing something solitary that you enjoy. However, you want to do something that makes you feel peace, and space, and time and not just block out and numb yourself out from the stress in your life – like vegging out in front of the T.V.
Ideally, you want to find something that also gives you energy and vibrancy; that makes you feel alive and positive. And this might be with people you love or doing activities that bring that experience.
This is the short term solution.
So back to my original instruction – setting out the terms of how you want to live your life.
What do you want to experience in life? How do you want to feel? And in the face of the maniac hitting you on the head with the hammer, what action can you take to start experiencing what you want to feel?
Take responsibility. Take action. You’re the boss of your life! Just do it with complete self-approval.
A client of mine was overwhelmed at one of the largest digital agencies in London. She had huge responsibilities and a big workload, demanding clients, not enough money to provide for herself and the kids as a single mum, nor the time to spend with them – let alone go and spend time with friends. She’d just been off on stress leave from work and was about to go back to the office to start work again, and she was petrified.
But she’d found time in her life just connect to herself, to feel that peace she needed. Through that, she knew what she wanted with her job, which she actually loved when it wasn’t so stressful. In our sessions, we got clear on what that looked like for and what she wanted to feel. She was in complete approval of it. She had set out the terms for how she wanted to experience her work.
When she went into work she asked for that and it’s exactly what she got. More money, fewer hours, and more flexibility. A few months later she was off on a two-week vacation to Bali with her daughters. One year after I worked with her I got a message from her stating that she had no more stress and was really enjoying her life for the first time in years.
If stress is in your experience right now you can turn it around.
If you’re new to my work and interested to know more about the three core principles I teach to create the experience you want in your life then sign up for my free five-day mindfulness program. Ultimately you need a practice. You need techniques. This is what I teach. Sign up here: http://eepurl.com/cRQ6mf Or you can reach me always at firstname.lastname@example.org