Do you ever feel stressed? You know… I mean the kind of stress that has you anxious, experiencing headaches or stomach distress, wishing you could cry, feeling heart palpitations, like you struggle with memory issues or being grumpy with your loved ones? You know it’s finite and will be resolving soon, but stress can definitely take a toll.
Feeling stress is often a symptom of being “out of the flow” of life
I have been struggling with stress management during the last six weeks or so. Two new jobs, a family health crisis, and a minor car accident all began to take their toll. I had an awareness that I was struggling to manage stress, but even though I was aware I was struggling, I wasn’t doing anything about it. Maybe you can relate.
Spiritual teachers tell us that stress is caused when we get “out of the flow” of life. What they mean is that when we begin to function in what the spiritual teachers call ego we are not flowing with our higher power or the universe.. This isn’t necessarily the arrogant kind of ego. This form of ego is the part of ourselves that makes decisions to either obtain external validation or avoid feeling fear of rejection (or failure). Getting out of the flow of our lives can also be caused by resisting what is happening around us. This could mean we are resisting change, resisting an internal nudge to do something differently or even that we are resisting taking our lives into our own hands.
It doesn’t have to be this way. There are ways to deal with stress that can put us back into the flow of our lives.
Dealing with stress
I tend to have to work harder on stress management when I have a big life change or a big surprise. I feel like this can be true for a lot of us.
It’s one thing to manage stress when life is offering us the status quo. It can be quite challenging to manage stress when we get out of routine, deal with a crisis, experience a trauma, or lose our connection to Source/God/The Universe. Here are some things that I have found really help.
Easy steps to being more focused and grounded
- Daily meditation for me is not negotiable. Even if I’m stressed, I am still meditating every day. But I have noticed that when I’m stressed, I’m usually not branching out in my meditations. I’m going for the comfortable things; the same music, the same mantra you get the picture. So one of the first things I’m doing when I’m trying to manage stress is look at my meditation. That brings me to the second step.
- Examine your meditations. When I examine my meditations I am asking myself one guiding question: Is my meditation purposeful or is it for survival? If I realize that my meditation is simply for survival, which is truly important, I take a step back. I take time to do some meditation planning to make my meditations more purposeful. If you are really stuck, I recommend trying some new meditation techniques. If you are looking for some new things to try, check out these.
- Focus on nutrition. When I’m experiencing stress, the last thing I want to do is spend any time in the kitchen, let alone meal planning or shopping. But, that’s what I make myself do. I take a few hours on Sunday to plan and shop for meals for the week. Then I also cook them all on Sunday. I cook breakfast, lunches, and dinner for the week. It takes a lot of my Sunday, and it’s worth every moment. We have healthy and balanced nutrition throughout the week no matter what our schedules like. That helps me immensely. Balanced nutrition keeps me focused and gives me the energy I need. If you try cooking on one day for the week, I’d love to know how it works for you!
- Make decisions based on your internal guidance. What decisions can you make that resonate with your personal goals and purpose? Making decisions out of fear, to impress other people, to stay out of trouble or to show off always create more stress in our lives. When we can make decisions based on our own values, our own needs and what we believe to be for the highest good we begin to feel our stress dissipate. For some of us that means we need to spend more time with our pens and journals in hand. Others of us will want to engage in prayer and/or meditation. An idea to try… walk in nature alone. Leave your phone/iPods/mp3 players at home and allow nature to be the background noise. You’ll find that you feel more clear, more grounded, and significantly less stressed. I’d love to know if this works for you!
- The busier we get and the more frantic life gets, the less we spend time with our loved ones. That doesn’t help us at all. We need their support, their love, their camaraderie. Taking time to spend with our loved ones fills our metaphorical cups, makes us more productive, lowers stress hormones and is just plain fun. So…what do I do? Yep, you guessed it. I schedule time with my friends. This weekend a group of close friends and I celebrated “Friendsgiving” with an un-traditional Thanksgiving feast and games. No reason to cook more than one turkey! It was delightful. I walked away feeling my metaphorical cup overflowing with gratitude that I have these amazing people in my life. In fact, I recommend right after you finish reading this post you text, call or email someone you love.
Are there other things you do for stress management?
Please share with us if there are things you do that help manage stress. We’d love to know what works for you!!
All my love to you!