This International Stress Awareness Week, I’ve been thinking a lot about ALL of my self care practices for stress (many of which can be found in the book, 365 Ways to Feel Better: Self-care Ideas for Embodied Wellbeing with several free resources available on the site) and this blog post explores the one I use the most…
Loved one (or yourself) having health issues?
US Mid Term elections?
Trying to figure out what’s going on in the world?
Loved ones suffering?
Psyching yourself up to do something that scares you?
Wondering how you’ll fit all the things you’re telling yourself you have to do into a limited timeframe?
Wondering what’s going on for _______ and not knowing how to help?
Stressed at work?
These are just a few of the things that you MAY be stressed about.
Psychosynthesis – a transpersonal psychology
Psychosynthesis, my core therapy model, has as big an interest in what might be trying to emerge from any issue at a soul level (READ THE RAPPORT FEATURE HERE) as it does in the here and now changes we can make to ease things and heal.
‘Letting go and letting God’ may mean offering your struggles and stresses, once you’ve done all you can do, to God / Goddess / the Universe / Divine Love / Source / Nature or whatever you call that energy that is so much bigger than the personal.
I had to unlearn years of childhood conditioning where I saw ‘God’ not as a benevolent loving energy but colonial, patriarchal, oppressive energy that I spent years rejecting.
Once I got over myself (and stopped punishing myself for the human interpretations that were colonial, misogynistic etc etc), I was so amazed at the difference in my life that I got a tattoo for my 34th birthday to remind myself to trust and surrender every day and every time I got stressed.
Even now, every time, there’s a lifting, a lightness, a sense of relief that I don’t have to solve life’s messes from my lower case s self ego level but can connect with that highest, wisest, truest, wildest. most miraculous Self (with, in psychosynthesis terms, the uppercase s).
13 years later, I still regularly forget BUT I remember more quickly and get to exhale and feel supported before regrouping and reassessing whatever situation had me stressed.
How does it feel to send Metta (Loving Kindness) to all involved including that stressed out part of yourSELF?
Metta is one of my favourite tools for dealing with stress as it instantly connects me with the world at large and everyone in it.
In awe of Nancy Pelosi’s courage in the face of her 82 year old husband being attacked with a hammer by someone who’d been planning to hurt her?
I can’t do anything about the state of US politics but I CAN send them and all involved some Metta:
May they be happy and healthy, peaceful and at ease.
May they be able to take care of themselves joyfully.
May they possess the courage, wisdom, patience and determination to manage life’s challenges.
Since learning this practice as part of my trauma informed yoga therapy and mindfulness training back in 2011/2012, it has changed my life.
I start each day with it.
Instead of trying to pretend to not be stressed, lean INTO them. List them ALL
Once you’ve connected with some much needed self-compassion when you’re stressed, you can better access your resourcefulness.
There are many, many things you can do once you’ve made your stresses more conscious.
You may want to tap on them (access free EFT Tap Alongs HERE for some more ideas)
You may want to categorise them.
Which ones do you have influence over? Which can you do nothing about?
For example, I have no vote in the US and however much coverage I watch, it’s not going to help BUT I can share the odd encouragement to US friends to vote (for whoever they choose to vote for while obviously having my own preferences).
There may be health issues you have no control over but, with curiosity and discipline, you might notice that certain foods, drinks, activities, behaviours, thoughts and feelings make things better or worse.
This means that even when you’re stressed in the future, you can recognise the choices you have and the consequences of them.
You might also want to recognise that not all stress is bad
Looking at your list again, notice which ones are the type we generally think of as stress, distress (too much, moving towards overwhelming the system)?
And which are a more positive kind of stress known as eustress?
The kind of stress that toddlers feel as they learn to walk or as we work out or learn any new skill?
When you imagine something greater than yourself working for your highest good, how do you feel?
Much as I was massively into all things death as a teenager (reading but not really understanding everything from the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, Pagan Book of Living and Dying, to Nietzsche) I have no idea what happens to us when we die or what the meaning of life is.
I DO know that when I connect with nature and let myself feel held by something far greater than I could ever dream of being, I exhale more deeply and am able to relax into life more.
Whether or not I’m right or wrong, my relaxing into life more helps me be more open to all the miracles that abound each day.
It helps me make the most of opportunities.
It helps me let go of life’s stresses and remember my resourcefulness.
What is YOUR favourite self care tool when when you’re stressed?
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And feel free to share this post on your social media etc so others who may find it helpful can read it.
*that highest, wisest, truest, wildest, most miraculous part of your Self
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