I've always had a high baseline level of anxiety. When I think of the home I grew up in, this part of me makes sense. During my childhood, my mother was always an explosive bundle of raw nerves. I Read
Too often, we attach stress to circumstances that are outside of ourselves. We feel that people, things, or experiences in our life are to blame for us being stressed. As a result, we stop taking responsibility for how we feel.
Isn't it interesting that two people can have exactly the same experience, but completely different responses? One might find their thoughts about an experience stressful, and another person might not. The experience remains neutral, while the response to the situation is what changes.
When we can more openly accept our experiences for what they are (nothing more, nothing less), and recognize that we are 100% responsibility for how we feel, we can start to shift our experience.
That means it's entirely possible to be in a "stressful" situation and not be stressed. I know this from my own life: having experienced both ends of the spectrum (feeling stressed in a situation, and feeling at ease in a situation I'd have previously considered stressful).
To start making this shift, you first need to acknowledge that living a life with less stress is possible. And be willing to put in the effort to change, as it won't always seem easy.
Like any habit, breaking away from ingrained patterns of behavior can seem challenging, and often it will feel easier to fall back into a cycle of stressful thinking.
The good news is: creating less stress for yourself is possible! It starts with the simple practice of bringing awareness to your experience.
Here's the approach I use to stress less, and bring a greater sense of ease into my life (even amid circumstances that appear difficult):
- Recognize that you are creating a feeling of stress within yourself, by thinking a thought that you perceive as stressful.
- Get curious about how you'd feel if that thought didn't exist. Recognize that regardless of what you think, your situation will remain as it is.
- Rather than trying to change your thoughts, accept them, and welcome them kindly into your experience.
- Create a sense of balance by bringing awareness to all parts of who you are. Notice how you feel in your physical body, and the energy and spiritual connection you feel to life itself.
Using this approach each time you feel stressed, you'll likely notice gradual changes in how you perceive and respond to "stressful" situations.
You're able to become more of an observer (rather than getting tangled up in a cycle of stressful thinking), accept your experiences for what they are, and make clearer decisions about how to move forward.
At least, this has been my experience around learning to 'stress' less. What has worked for you?
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