Hey you lovely soul reading this,
Do you know this feeling of constantly feeling “stressed”, overwhelmed with everything going on in your life, and nothing seems to work as you like?
But have you ever noticed that when talking about stress, we are always saying: being stressed from work, school, traffic, coworkers, friends and family – you name it. What if I tell you that these are just external stressors. These external circumstances have the potential to make you feel stressed, but they don’t have to. The feeling of stress is then just an conditioned mostly unconscious automatic response to external stimuli.
The real problem occurs, if we don’t find ways to break the “fight or flight” mechanisms we will never be able to escape the vicious circle. So let’s find out what this nasty feeling called “stress” (like I said: short and nasty) is and what we can do to befriend with it!
What is stress?
Stress is our body’s innate way of responding to any kind of demand or threat – being it real or imagined. As soon as we sense danger the body’s defenses kick into a rapid, automatic process known as the “fight-or-flight” reaction also know as the “stress response.”
Simply put, the stress response is the body’s way of protecting us. In fact, when working properly, it actually helps us to stay focused, energetic, and alert. So it isn’t always bad. In small doses, it can help us perform better under pressure. In emergency situations, stress can save our life, giving us extra strength to defend ourselves, for example.
But when we continuously keep on running in emergency mode, our mind and body will eventually pay the price. That is, beyond a certain point, stress stops being helpful and starts causing major damage to our health, mood, productivity, relationships, and our overall quality of life.
How much stress is too much?
As we’ve just learned, stress per se is not always bad and can can, often times, even help us increase our performance. But if we get stressed out frequently – like many of us in today’s demanding world – our body consistently exists in a heightened state of stress. And under these circumstances, stress can lead to serious health problems. Chronic stress is the number one cause of many mental and physical health problems such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and even heart disease, digestive and problems and autoimmune diseases.
Stress disrupts nearly every system in our body.
At its worst, it can suppress our whole immune system speeding up the ageing process.
Because of the widespread damage stress can cause, it’s important to know your own limit. The most dangerous thing about stress is how easily it can creep up on us. That is, we easily get used to it. Without noticing, it starts to feel familiar, even normal for us. One day, we won’t even notice how much it’s affecting us anymore. That’s why it’s important to be aware of the common warning signs and symptoms of stress overload.
How can we stop our overreaction to external stressors?
The good news is that we can escape this vicious circle of ongoing stress. We can even protect ourselves, and improve how we think and feel, by learning how to recognize the signs and symptoms of chronic stress and taking steps to reduce its harmful effects.
For me, yoga and meditation has had an enormous impact on my mental and physical strength. I not only started healing my mind and body, but also started to love myself and the people around me more. Just as anger begets more anger and stress begets more stress, happiness begets more happiness. Our mind is, indeed, a powerful tool. And we always have the choice to either make it work for us or against us.
One of the most effective tools – apart from yoga and meditation – has been my daily journal. Every morning, I take between 3-5 minutes to write into my “GOOD LIFE JOURNAL” to kick-start my day. If you want to get a FREE copy of it, just click here and find out how you can implement it into your daily life (available in English & German).
My top 10 tips to simplify your life and reduce stress
- Create a daily morning routine (Yoga, meditation, journaling, whatever suits you)
- Stop reading & watching the news (they are used to scare you not lift you up)
- Keep the main thing the main thing (don’t try to multitask)
- Move daily (even a quick walk will do)
- Learn to say NO (trust me, people will understand)
- Declutter your life (start with getting rid of old clothes, your cosmetics, etc.)
- Grab a book instead of watching TV (it will immediately calm you down)
- Expect less from others (focus on your own innate power to change your life)
- Stop trying to impress others (enjoy your own company without sharing it online)
- Find purpose & meaning in your life (ask yourself what you really love to do)
In case the sudden feeling of overwhelming anxiety still dwells upon me, I do a simple practice I call “Release tension. Set intention.”
- I take a DEEP breath in and…breathe out completely dropping my shoulders down and away from the ears.
- I set a new intention and breathe in the NEW!
But here is my “magic” tool.
What really helps me stay calm in the unpredictability of daily hazards is…
Mindfulness is my #1 cure gainst daily stress
Mindfulness is the art of simply being present. The most powerful tool that helps me personally on a daily basis apart from this journal is MY OWN BREATH. Consciously breathing not only helps to separate from harmful thoughts and feelings that suddenly spread my body. Breathing also helps me to release physical pain.
The breath really is the link between mind and body.
When you were a small child, have your parents ever told you to just “blow away the pain” when you got hurt? And have you ever noticed that by this simple visualisation the pain really seemed to vanish away?
Focusing on our breath works in the same way. We shift the focus from pain to calmness.
First awareness. Then reaction.
First, we have to realise that we are not the fear, anger, anxiety _____ (fill in the blank) that we are experiencing as soon as these emotions come up. By simply allowing them to arise, it is easier to separate from them again. Hint: Remember the “Release tension. Set intention.” from above? Simply trying to “push them” away does not work. On the contrary, we will even more become the victims of our fear.
You might know that to every action there is similar reaction (that’s a physical law). But instead of acting on your emotions, try to react with simply allowing them to come up and then – very important – LET THEM GO.
The best thing about mindfulness?
Everyone can do it.
Yes, you don’t have to be a spiritual guru, yogi, or spiritual gangster. But the only way to do it is to..
JUST DO IT!
If mindfulness is so powerful, why isn’t everyone doing it?
Great question! I think most people are looking for a “quick fix” for their problems. Mindfulness takes consistent practice and results will not immediately show. This is why many people give up long before the first results even occur.
The problem with tools that won’t show immediate results: a chemical pill or drug (short-term solutions) often times makes you feel better much quicker. But keep in mind that a pill is just a short-term solution to a long-term problem! Moreover, the long-term consequences of daily pills and drugs will eventually kill us from the inside out. Whereas a mindfulness practice might ultimately heal us from the inside out.
On a mission to make this world a better place
Even though I am just one single person, my wish is that more people knew about this. Not only the harmful consequences of stress on our overall health, but also our own power to heal and befriend with daily stress without spending loots of money on curing it.
The body and mind are intimately connected and the more we can embrace that, the more we can take control of our health and ultimately our lives.
I am on a mission to create a more happy and healthy life for everyone and hope that many of you will follow along. Let’s use our knowledge and put it into action to inspire many others to join us on this never ending journey which is called life. Let’s all connect and make the best of what we have. I believe that only together we can shift our beliefs and ultimately our conscious reality.
The question is: Are you ready?
Thank you for reading until the end. Feel free to share it with a colleague or friend who might need to read this ☺️
With a whole lot of love and gratitude,