Stress has been blamed for all sorts of issues in people’s lives, for good reason. The impact of stress ranges from poor health to emotional struggles with anxiety and depression, to spiritual suffering and break. For many people, stress has become a way of living and a new normal. People are stressed out! The problem is that living in a perpetual state of stress is not “normal” nor is it healthy.
The stress response, as a survival mechanism is vital for when we need to deal with actual threats to our lives, like running into a bear when we’re hiking or avoiding a car accident. In these situations, we kick into a fight or flight mode of operating for the sole purpose of survival. When the threat is over, we are meant to shift to a healing and nourishing way of operating.
Developing a new relationship with stress is vital if we are to live healthy and happier lives. The good news is that developing this new relationship doesn’t take time, it just takes a new way of relating to stress and a different way of viewing it.
So how do you change your relationship with stress?
1. Pay attention
Start to pay attention to how stress is impacting you; how if feels and how it is showing up in your life. The majority of health and emotional issues that we have are related to stress, however, most people don’t realize this.
For many years I had things going on ranging from headaches to eczema, to getting sick a lot, difficulty focusing, feeling anxious etc. and I didn’t realize that I had a choice and could live differently.
I guess you could say I had my head in the sand and really didn’t know that I had control over how I was physically and mentally being affected by stressors in my life.
2. Shift your perspective.
Shift your perspective from viewing stress as something that happens to you to something that is happening for you.
When you view yourself as a victim of stress and of your life, circumstances you have little or no opportunity to change the way it impacts you.
The symptoms of stress are telling you something. They are showing up because things in your life are out of alignment and your emotional, physical and spiritual health are going to suffer if you don’t pay attention.
Ask yourself: “What am I meant to learn from this stress; what in my life is out of alignment with who I’m meant to be or how I’m meant to live”?
3. View stress as an inside job.
The third way is to realize that to change your relationship with stress, you need to manage stress from the inside out.
If you have the attitude that you’ll be less stressed when all of the stressors go away, you’ll never develop a healthy relationship with it. You are always going to have stress related to money, relationships, health, changes, careers, uncertainty and so on.
When you come to the realization that stress is an inside job and needs to be dealt with accordingly, is when you’ll develop a healthy relationship with it. Dealing with stress from the inside out means you begin to work with your thoughts, your feelings and what’s going on in your body. In other words, you learn to become more mindful.
You use daily practices that change how your body and brain respond to stressors so that you’re healthier and more peaceful. You understand at a deep level living in a perpetual state of stress is not normal and that it is within your control to change it.
If you’re interested in specific tips, check out this article by Dr. Mark Hyman, 10 Natural Tips to Beat Chronic Stress.
Transforming your relationship with stress is the only way to live a life that is physically, emotionally and spiritually healthy. That transformation will come when you start to deal with stress from the inside out.