By Celine Healy
You know you’re stressed.
You’re tired. Exhausted, really. But you keep pushing through.
You’ve no time. You’re too busy as it is. You’ve got no willpower left.
Intuitively, you know it’s killing you.
You’ve tried many of those tips on all of those lists. You’ve tried: walking, meditation, dieting. Every diet means you have to give up foods you love.
Are these tips too superficial?
Many professional career women — and men too — appear to be slipping into a state of chronic stress.
It’s as though you’ve zipped on by, past the “Stop and Get Help” window. You’ve settled into acceptance.
Perhaps you are resigned to the fact that it’s just part of chasing success. The sacrifices needed. The consequences of trying to get to the top.
But. Are you missing the point here? You need to look after the best ways to beat stress.
Being successful. Trying to be the best you that you can be. Reaching an optimal state seems to be built into our psyche.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs acknowledges how humans progress through life in various stages.
When our needs are met at each level, from survival, through shelter and safety, to a sense of love and belonging to gaining respect and finally, wanting to achieve self-actualisation. A sense of having achieved something in life.
Finally, when our work is done, we want to give back. To make our mark on the planet. To leave a legacy. It’s about wanting to achieve something over and above our satisfied needs. To make a contribution, the contribution we have come here to make.
Perhaps these built-in animalistic needs to survive and thrive, to make a difference, help us ignore the very signs or symptoms that we know are stressful. Which are causing energy depletion. They change our moods, our thoughts. Our behaviours. Eventually, the effects of stress can make us very sick.
You’ve read the literature. The tips and steps to overcome stress. They seem to range from between 3 to 70.
You keep reading them, hoping for new insights. Perhaps even a magic pill, potion, exercise or remedy. Something that doesn’t require any effort.
Something you could do in your sleep, even. Without interrupting your daily life. Your work routine. And, which can magically transport you to the end result: the positive, happy, desirable state you crave.
This is probably not going to happen. Reward comes after effort.
You see, the problem with these lists of how to overcome stress is, you’ve heard them all before. You don’t trust this advice any longer. Some of the suggestions can be quite trite:
· Wear a red dress or shirt…
· Chew gum…
· Gossip at work…
Because these suggestions (and, unfortunately, there are many, many more such tips on how to reduce stress) are meaningless, have no real content or context, you’ll automatically (and understandably) dismiss them as being ridiculous.
The real question for you is: Where am I along the stress scale?
Are you at the beginning? A place where you can still manage to shake off your stress by doing simple things like:
· Going for a walk
· Going to the gym, or
· Talking to a good friend
Or, have you passed that stage and reluctantly settled into feeling stuck in “lack” permanently? Lack of skills, resources, people and so on.
You might lack time, money, effort, etc., to be able to intervene in the thoughts, feelings and behaviours that you perpetrate on yourself.
Are you quick to react? Do you self-punish when a colleague at work criticises some aspect of your work? Or perhaps it’s your boss who might suggest room for improvement?
This state of stress means you have slipped “below the line,” from a default position of positivity to being in a negative stress response position, most of the time.
You’ve shifted from loving yourself and being happy, to being negative. You then create fear, doubt, and judgment of self and others. You feel you are not good enough and never will be, at some level of your psyche.
Then you punish yourself further with coffee, sugar, sweets, alcohol or drugs.
This brings up guilt, and then shame. And so the cycle continues…
Every time you move out of being positive and into negativity, you place your body/mind in a stressed state. It is real. Your resources become depleted. You will then have no resistance to stressful situations. No resilience to bounce back. No hope of overcoming these debilitating effects.
Rather than helping us conquer our problems, severe stress can reduce our competence and make us less able to cope with problems we need to face. — Steve “SJ” Scott
And that precisely is the major issue here. Our resources become depleted. We become less. We lose basic competencies. We lose willpower. Motivation. A willingness to achieve. A willingness to change.
If you have moved into that deeper state of stress, the old methods are not going to work for you because they only deal with surface issues of stress relief. Break the pattern and it will resolve.
This stage cannot be broken by going for a walk.
If you intuitively know that that is where you are, then you will need to approach stress resolution from a whole body/mind approach. One step at a time.
Unfortunately, because you have gotten yourself into this stage, getting out needs a more considered approach.
Implement simple strategies that are health-giving, not health-limiting. The easiest, most effective practice you can include in your daily routine is to breathe correctly. In for five and out for five. For several periods of a few minutes each day.
When you feel better within yourself, and about yourself, you’ll begin to approach life differently.
You won’t react in stressful situations. You’ll have gained control over how you respond to stress and will be able to relax, take a step back, and respondinstead of reacting.
You’ll move out of negativity and into positivity.
What are the real causes of your stress?
These are the emotional states, beliefs, and attitudes that are at the root of your stress. You see, the stress that stays around, that causes your most grief, is due to the effects of emotions impinging on your body/mind. These emotions are deeply held. Since childhood. They help form how you view the world. Your perceptions.
Misperceptions are what gets us into all kinds of sticky situations. They can cause how we operate in life.
You need to get to the bottom of the issues which are the real cause of your stress and release them. Resolve them. These are generally limiting beliefs that can be changed.
How you can do that is with a therapist. Kinesiologists have the training necessary for this and the results can be life-changing
Once you feel better, you’ll be able to deal with those emotional states more easily. You’ll be able to resolve your stress issues. You’ll be strong enough to be able to finally let go.
What drives most people is how they perceive themselves internally. Externally, it’s how others perceive you.
Our drivers are located in the solar plexus area, which also covers the gut area.
In order to feel strong again you need to change the very foundation of what drives your direction in life, your self-worth, self-esteem and feeling “good enough”. These drivers give you a sense of authority.
This step is about detoxing. Cleansing your body so that your mind can work better. Not the other way around.
Yes. You can gain a more positive perspective by approaching this from a physical aspect. Getting well physically will give you a better mind-set.
Once the body/mind is cleansed and clearer, you’ll be able to get to the core of who you are. Identify your innate skills, talents and abilities so that your new direction is aligned with who you are.
When you make yourself well again by eliminating certain foods, toxins, feelings and thoughts, microbes and other intestinal critters, you will regain your strength and vitality, energy and passion for living.
When you’re deeply stressed, you lose competence, ability and clarity about who you are. What and why you continue to do awful things to your body/mind. In effect, your self-respect is lost.
How you get to understand what you are really good at, your innate skills, is by observation. Or. Ask others. Or simply by taking a personality profiling assessment.
Finally, you’ll then be able to reclaim yourself totally and be able to set goals which are meaningful to you. Those you really want. Those that are in alignment with the new you.
When you feel well again, you will choose self-love over self-punishment.
Then, and only then, will you be ready. Be back on track. Able to clearly set goals that are meaningful to you — and which you know you’ll achieve, this time around.
People do not achieve goals because they are physically, mentally and emotionally unwell. Being so depleted in every area means that you will not have the stamina, the oomph or the motivation needed to do the work.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs indicates that at your most successful, you’ll want to be the best you that you can be.
And when you have been able to achieve that, you’ll be able to leave your mark. Your legacy that you came here to create.
But, you cannot do any of this if you are chronically stressed. In that state that deeply pervades your very being. Trying to use old methods will not help.
Look. Admittedly. It’s a long way back to being stress-free.
There’s no magic pill.
You have spent decades punishing yourself. For your thoughts. Your feelings. Your attitudes. Abusing yourself physically, mentally and emotionally.
However, starting is the hardest step.
This is about a whole body/mind transformation.
Imagine a new you.
You can do this.
Because you deserve this. You owe it to yourself.
And. As the shampoo ad says- you’re worth it!
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