How to Get Rid of Stress?
One of the most common searches on Google in the new year is this question – how do I get rid of my stress. The short answer is one many people won’t like. You can’t. Life is full of stress, as a human being stress is a non-negotiable.
“Well that is kind of dark Patrice, and honestly – not why I am here.”
I want to remind you that you are human. Stress is inevitable, sometimes we add more to our plate that could have been avoided, leading to unneccessary stress. Other times we must learn how to cope with our stress differently. Often though – it’s both.
So - how do I lessen what is on my plate?
There are 3 things that typically cause us undue stress. Things that if we work on becoming more mindful & aware, there would be less stress to cope with:
Boundaries: Boundaries are often the number one thing when it comes to unnecessary stress on our plates. We often say yes too often because we want others to be happy, we don’t want them to be upset at us or it is the “nice” thing to do. This gets stuck in quick sand. We become overwhelmed, we don’t have enough time to re-charge. And as we shift more and more into this stress state, we are actually more likely to continue to loosen the boundaries.
Reflection Questions for Boundary Struggles:
– Am I saying yes in order to avoid this person being upset at me?
– Does this feel like I am enabling something they can do on their own or empowering by helping?
– Where in my life did I learn to say no – who were my role models in this?
– Where in my life did I learn to say yes – who were my role models in this?
– Am I taking time to assess if I have the energy/space to help this person?
Judgement: We are taught from a young age to put everything in boxes. Events, feelings, people are either good or bad, all or nothing, right or wrong. It feels like looking at the world through this lens would give us peace because it is so clear cut. In reality, it causes more anxiety and stress because this isn’t how the world works. These judgments hold us back from setting boundaries, taking care of ourselves because there is no middle, no balance.
Starting to look around and see more grey is a fast way to ease your stress. Working on embracing curiosity over certainty supports us in having less control. And while anxiety tells us – control is what keeps us safe, it is actually honoring that we have limited control that does. Because then with this honoring of limited control, we are able to embrace each situation with an open mind, trust in ourselves and take it a day at a time. We are able to be flexible and adapt more quickly when things don’t go the way we planned.
Reflection Questions for Judgment Struggles:
– How flexible and adaptable am I when situations change?
– How much time or energy do I spend in judging what an outcome might be before I act?
– How often do I avoid situations because I am not sure what the outcome will be?
– Am I using the words: good, bad, right, wrong, best, worst etc on a daily basis?
– What could letting go of judgment give me?
Unresolved Past Life Experiences: Our brain functions today off of what has happened yesterday. When people say to simply move on, they clearly don’t understand how the brain works. These past life experiences teach us what will happen in the future. Logically we can understand that things can change, but in our survival brain we have limited understanding of that.
So we react instead of respond, we hold onto people, places and things that no longer serve us. All in the mission to survive. We must work towards teaching our brain how to be in the present, sometimes that is through things like mindfulness, and other times it is doing a deeper dive into our survival brain to help re-organize.
While reflection questions are AMAZING, I am also cautious to post them on this topic in an unregulated way. Digging into our past can be triggering, feel lonely and isolated and can be re-traumatizing if not done in a healthy way. For this part I highly encourage reaching out to a Brainspotting professional. We have a few at Empowerment Within if you are in Wisconsin just click here. Otherwise head to the Brainspotting website to find a clinician in your area.
In a couple of weeks I will put out a follow up, to discuss 3 tools to help you manage the stress that is coming up in a healthier way for you. Oftentimes we focus on thinking our way out of stress. Our first effort should be to help calm the body down. Once we are more calm and regulated we can then move onto problem solving. Stay tuned!
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