Stress comes in all kinds of shapes, colors and flavors. Your stress is unique to you, so your solution has to be what will work for you, and not necessarily what will work for someone else.
If your doctor said “you have to learn how to relax more, maybe you should take yoga or meditate.” What would you do? Maybe he gives you some pills and as for the good advice, that – you never take because you are just not that into yoga. Meditation? Maybe it works, but you don’t have time to sit around and think of nothing for 30 minutes or more. Maybe that idea even sounds stressful to you. So you do nothing and remain stressed out.
You’ve got to find what works for you.
As you know, at the extreme levels, stress leads to health challenges, depression and more. You can easily find what the medical community has to say about it with a simple web search.
Here is my personal take on stress, and my approach to helping clients deal with it:
We all DO stress. Stress is not something that is done to us. We are active participants in maintaining it, and most of the time we don’t even realize it.
Ok, you say you ‘re stressed out… Here are the 4 Steps to get the stress out:
Step 1. What does your stress look like? This is the doing part. I want to know how it manifests itself for you because that is going to be totally unique to you. What are you doing to yourself? What are you feeling? What are you saying to yourself? What are you thinking? What are you picturing in your mind? What are you doing with your body? I want your recipe for stress.
Step 2. Disrupt the mind and body. Next, I have you DO something different than the thing that created the stress. You move your body completely differently. You interrupt the thoughts, images and self talk, so that your stress immediately starts to disappear. You have just shifted your focus. Stress is another emotion, and in order to create stress, you have to think a certain way, and hold your physiology (body, facial expressions, breathing, etc) in a particular way, or the stress would not exist.
Step 3. Replace the thoughts and fix the body. Now you DO something different again. If you eliminate a habit, or pattern, you have to replace it with something else. In this case you get rid of something that creates stress, and replace it with something that feels better. There are numerous things that feel better than stress like; happiness, gratitude, excitement, passion, love, sexual connection, peace, laughter, adventure etc…
Step 4. Resolve the cause of the stress. If this is not done, the stress will just keep returning. This is often caused by the way you might be making something more important than it really is. What seems to be really important is not usually the cause of the stress.
Now, plug into these 4 steps your own stressful situation. Here is an example: Joe is feeling stressed out because he can’t find a job.
Step 1. What is happening? Joe is saying to himself “Why can’t I find a job?”, and he is thinking about all the bills he has to pay, and he is imagining losing his home, and he has his head down, and he is rubbing the furrows in his forehead with his left hand, and he is breathing very shallow, and he feels pressure in his chest.
Step 2. Disrupt. Now Joe must shift things radically, so now he might say ” OOOhhhh That Tickles So Good!!!” in his sexiest voice, and rapidly get up out of his chair, and march exaggeratedly around the room. Sound ridiculous? It works!
Step 3. Replace. No WHY questions allowed! Joe has to ask himself a new question, and it can’t start with WHY. For example: Try– “How can I treat myself with more kindness right now?” Then a new image will come into his mind, and he can rub his chin and comtemplate “Ahhhh, so many choices that feel good” in his sexiest voice, breathing deeply while he contemplates what feels good. Next, Joe has to actually do one of the things that came into his mind to treat himself with kindness. Silly? It works too!
Step 4. Resolve. Here we dig deeper to find out the real cause of the stress. Is the stress caused from a lack of a job, or is it caused because Joe is not doing what he needs to do, in order to find a job. Or, is the stress caused because he does not know what to do, in order to find a job, and he is overwhelmed by the process. Or maybe he is stressed because he is focused on blaming himself for losing his last job, and it’s holding him back because he has lost his confidence. Or maybe the stress is caused by someone’s expectations of what Joe should be doing, or not doing. Maybe someone close to Joe is constantly badgering him about the lack of job etc…
Once we discover the specific cause, we work on shifting it so that it no longer causes stress. We will then learn how much of the stress creation is completely under Joe’s control. Usually almost all of it.
From my perspective, this is a process that is totally unique to the world inside the individual’s body and mind. We do stress to ourselves, and we can help to resolve it when we have the awareness to catch ourselves stuck in a pattern that creates it.
Now which of these ideas can you build from, and use to influence your own stressful situation to help make your stress melt away? Have fun! Be outrageous and silly! That helps to create a compelling environment for change. You just might like it.