Each of us faces stressful times in our lives. And isn’t it interesting that the origin of the word stress comes from the late 13c. meaning “circumstance that causes anxiety or hardship”? And from Old French destresse (distress).
When listening to people share stories, I hear the words feeling stressed out and overwhelmed quite a bit these days. And it doesn’t matter who it is, there is something going on that’s weighing some of us down.
And during stressful times, we often don’t make time for ourselves. We can easily neglect our body or healthy living. We may be so busy trying to get stuff done or putting out fires that we wear ourselves out. Sometimes we might be too stressed out to notice the toll it takes on us.
I was reminded today that much of this stems from our stories and this is why living in high levels of awareness is so important. But it does take practice and we get plenty opportunities to face ourselves.
When we are clear on our intentions and are grounded, we are able to navigate and be present by trusting the flow of life. We are aware that we can choose stress. And at the same time, we may also choose not to be swept into its vortex.
But when we are caught up in stressful stories, and there are so many right now, we will find ourselves depleted. And our immune and nervous systems are definitely impacted from high states of stress. We might no longer recognize ourselves because we become characters in some drama or mini-series.
Whether at home or work, when we have inner conflict, stress will cause damage to our wellbeing. So, it is up to us to recognize our state of mind when we are out of alignment.
This is why it is so important to rest and pause whenever we feel depleted. No one knows what we are facing and stress creates a chain reaction in every corner of our world.
Stress of Judgements
But what happens when we become aware that there is no joy, no prize, and no winners in hanging on to stories or situations that create stress?
Many of us are starting to understand that unconditional love and kindness starts with practicing it within ourselves. And when we fully accept ourselves, we set ourselves free. When we get caught in stress—divisions, judgements, conflict, shame, power struggles—we are trapped in this space until we choose not to be.
It’s no longer about feeling wronged or being pressured when we heal our judgements and hurt.
By not needing to be right, we will no longer feel compelled or a need, for example, to appear smart all the time or to be liked. Instead of giving an instant opinion or trying to please, we can simply say, “I don’t know,” and even, “let me think on it.” We have the power to shift conversations and situations—and the associated energy they bring.
And not everyone is healthy for our wellbeing. People show us who we are through actions and it’s up to us to believe the words and actions, or not, when things fall apart.
No One is Coming to Save Us
No one can take our burdens. Can anyone else eat healthy foods for us or make sure we are taking impeccable care of our bodies? No one can make sure we are gentle and kind with ourselves. If we are not practicing and honoring our needs, no one else will.
But when we are whole, we can deal with stressful situations with clarity and inner strength. We understand harmony and balance come from within. And not knowing becomes a strength as we begin to explore healthy ways of living without unnecessary stress.
This is the true power of choice. Personal mastery is bringing healthy practices that support ourselves and each other in ways where we can openly talk about what’s going on. And exploring the edges with lightness and love.
There is a world beyond stress. Is it time to create it?