It’s everywhere in the news, but, more importantly, it’s impacting every aspect of your life—stress. Current research shows that dealing with stress is the number one issue of our times. You may already know that handling your stress is the key to easing anxiety and beating depression.
But did you know that stress is implicated in almost all chronic diseases, including cancer, and that it is the number one factor that inhibits you from attracting money and achieving success in any area of your life? In this article, you’ll discover a profound insight that unlocks the mystery of stress and a powerful meditation method you can use to relax deeply and connect with inner guidance to handle stress like a master.
The first key to managing stress is to know what you’re dealing with. The truth is that most people mistakenly attribute stress to “the fast-paced conditions of life these days,” when it really has a less-obvious, hidden source—inside you. Here’s the source of stress in a nutshell: Stress results when you overestimate the demands you face and underestimate your own resources.
In other words, stress is about how you are mentally sizing up a situation. In other words, it’s your “perspective” that makes something stressful or not. You can prove this to yourself by the fact that the same situation can sometimes feel stressful, and other times not, depending on how you are looking at it.
To understand this better, imagine the opposite case—when you feel relaxed, confident, and self-assured. You look at what’s in front of you and say: “No problem.” You know what to do, how to do it, and where to get the resources you require, so you feel completely capable of the task at hand—hence, you feel little stress, worry, or anxiety.
Now, let’s look at what happens when stress builds. First, you’re presented with a task, responsibility, or situation and you’re not sure how to handle it. You wonder if you’re up to the task. Doubt creeps in. You imagine worst-case scenarios. You begin to worry and feel anxious. You remember past failures. Your heart beats a little faster. You feel trapped. Your lower back and neck tighten up. If you feel incapable of effective action, your stress may spiral to the point where you “freak out” and “lose it completely.” You’re overwhelmed. If that feeling persists and you see no way out, you may shut-down completely.
Depression is a natural defense when you feel overwhelmed and just don’t want “to deal” any more. In depression, action feels futile and pointless—you feel powerless. After a while in this state, you just give up and don’t care anymore. It can be hard to beat depression, because you don’t want to go back to those feelings of stress, worry, anxiety, and overwhelm ever again. So, you stay shutdown. Fortunately, the latest research shows a way out. You can turn around the stress equation through four specific steps.
Step 1: Observe the facts.
As we said above, stress is more about how you are looking at a situation than about the situation itself. For example, perhaps your company is threatening layoffs and you come home to a credit card bill that is way more than you expected. You might panic and say to yourself: “I’ll never be able to pay this off!” Your work situation feels perilous, your bills seem huge, and your resources seem puny. When that is how you are looking at things, you’re going to feel stressed-out.
If you can step back to observe the actual details of the present situation and the resources you currently do have, this can take a little edge off your stress.
You could say, “I still have a job right now. I can pay this off a little at a time. I have skills to go get another job if I have to. I have friends and family who would help me out. I have food in the frig and clothes in my closet. I’m O.K. right now.” “Being real” by recognizing specific present details and the resources you do have, rather than over-dramatizing and blowing things out of proportion, is a powerful first step to reducing stress. You begin to realize that things might not be as bad as they seemed.
When you are able to mentally step back from a situation and observe the facts, you gain a little mental space. Rather than just being “caught up in” and “overwhelmed by” your stress reaction, you’ll start to settle down a bit.
Step 2: Notice and accept your limiting thoughts, feelings, and beliefs.
Step two is about turning your observations inward onto the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that tend to make you overestimate problems and underestimate your own resources. It can be really helpful to notice the words and images that run through your mind, the feelings that run through your body, and the behaviors that are prompted by how you are thinking and feeling. To accomplish this requires one simple thing—unconditional self-acceptance.
Hey, we all get stressed-out. It’s O.K. We’re conditioned to overdramatize problems. Our culture encourages it. We are trained to worry. We are presented with all kinds of reasons to feel afraid and anxious. The daily news gives us ample evidence to be depressed.
However, that doesn’t mean that’s how life has to be for you. You can become a powerful creator of your life, but first you’ve got to release some of that “stuff” you’ve been taught to think, feel, and believe. Knowing this simple strategy will help:
If you can simply notice and accept the thoughts you think, and then notice and accept how those thoughts make you feel, and then notice and accept what those thoughts and feelings prompt you to do, you are well on your way to making different choices. Accepting yourself unconditionally, as best as you can, eases your stress down another notch. Then you’re ready to relax deeply and get really clear.
Step 3: Return to your calm center.
After taking steps one and two, you’ll feel a little relief. You can then use a meditation method to activate your natural relaxation response and connect with your Core. By consciously relaxing your muscles, breathing deeply, and feeling positive inner sensations, you can downshift into a calm and clear inner state. From that good place, you can sense inner guidance.
Step 4: Discover Core-inspired action.
Once you’ve relaxed into a calm centered place, you can ask your Core for guidance. The Core part of you is connected to the Life-Force, to all resources, and to intuitive wisdom. From that calm, clear, Core place, ask yourself “What is one thing I can do right now to move this situation forward in a positive direction?”
Once you take that action, no matter how small it is, you’re going to immediately feel better. You’re going to start feeling uplifted and empowered instead of stressed, worried, anxious, and depressed. When you take one small action, and another, and another, you’ll find yourself in the relaxed flow of an inspired life, attracting health, money, love, and all the good things you truly desire.
Now, at Clear Your Stress you’ll discover many powerful meditation methods that can help you with all four of these steps. By practicing these meditation techniques you’ll get better and better at recognizing and releasing your stress, worry, anxiety, and depression. You’ll learn how to connect to your calm, centered Core. And, you’ll discover inspired action that will empower you to master any stressful situation.