Stress and being busy seem to be at the pinnacle of modern society. When people greet each other it is not uncommon when asked ‘ how are you?” for someone to reply “ oh, I’m so busy” or “ things are pretty hectic right now’ or ‘ I’ve got so much going on’ which in actuality translates to “ I’m so stressed.”
It’s like there’s this push for everyone to be stressed – pushed to the edge ALL THE TIME. Most television shows are built around drama ( don’t get me started on reality tv) just to keep you tapped into the hormones of stress. Movies, more than often or not, are adrenalin fuelled. Add that to a daily commute to a job to pay off a mortgage or the realisation that you will never afford a house even with the long hours you pull, you’re raising your children wrong, you’re not doing enough of XYZ… is enough to keep everyone stressed.
So what to do about it?
1. Acknowledge what the payoff is.
As humans we never do anything if there isn’t underlying benefit to ourselves. So if you are actually wanting to remove stress from your life it’s time for some brutal honesty. Raw honesty. What does being stressed GIVE you?
Attention “ Oh I’m so stressed “ = “ ‘ oh you poor thing”
Avoidance “ Oh I’m so stressed” = “ If I keep myself busy I can avoid looking at the REAL issues.”
Status “ Oh I’m so busy “ = “ Oh she must be important/valued/liked/loved/popular”
Awareness is the first and foremost key to change. You need to recognise that it is not just external factors that are contributing to your stress, but what you are also getting from it.
This can be hard, but a vital starting point.
If you’ve spent a fair chunk of your life stuffing down the feelings and burying them with food or shopping or alcohol, then go gentle on yourself as you look to the answer. But look.
Look deeply. Look with a gentle and kind heart, but look.
2. Become aware of what is going against your authenticity.
Stress is a physical indication that you are out of alignment. When you are aligned to your authentic truth, there is flow and calmness. So it’s time to look at what you are doing/being/saying/creating that goes against your authentic truth.
Who are you pretending to be?
What role are you playing that isn’t true to you?
What fears do you have that underpin you revealing your authentic truth?
Who would you be if you were authentically yourself?
What changes would you need to implement in your life to be your authentic self?
When you acknowledge that you are the cause of your stress because you are living out of alignment with your truth you then have a choice about how to change that. THIS is powerful. This can be the turning point.
3. Notice how it affects you
Nothing changes unless you bring it into your conscious awareness. So start to notice how stress is affecting you. What it does to you physically.
Which parts of your body are affected?
What environment/person triggers your symptoms?
What are your physical symptoms trying to tell you?
What you needed to do/say/be in that moment that would have released that stress.
What parts of yourself you are hiding that show up physically ie headaches from thoughts you don’t release, throat issues from words you don’t speak, heart problems from feelings you don’t acknowledge, digestive issues from situations you refuse to digest, kidney problems from fears you don’t acknowledge, knee/hip issues from refusal to move forward……
Dig deep. Listen to your intuition. Listen to your heart. They are guiding you, teaching you about how to move back to centre. Back to your authentic self.
Come home to you.
Fiona van Lochem is a Transformational Coach specialising in stress, anxiety, self sabotage and unworthiness. www.butterflylane.com.au