If you are deep into stress and see no way out, you probably disagree with my statement completely. I don’t blame you because when stress goes unmanaged for a long time and you are tired all day, the mind does not help by believing that stress is bad for you. Your mind might be telling you that you have no choice, or life is too hard and those thoughts themselves drain your energy and block your creativity.
How can you direct that energy released from stress into success?
First let me help you to understand why stress releases energy.
Our body is designed to face challenges, changes and emergencies perfectly. This process is called stress response, also called the fight-flight response. According to Bruce McEwen, author of The End of Stress As we Know It whether we need to fight, stand firm, bolt to safety or concentrate in a task at hand, the stress response provides the tools – energy, oxygen, muscle power, fuel, pain resistance, mental acuity, and a temporary bulwark against infection – all at the moments’s notice.
As you can see, stress response is a very intelligent mechanism we all have to help us overcome challenges and save our lives (in case you have a dog chasing you). It gives us a tremendous amount of abundant energy because of our physiology. Why are you tired and can’t think clear in times of stress? Because you might be chronically stressed.
Having stress in our lives is different than becoming stressed out.
I will explain. We all have stress, stress is part of life, it helps us to grow, evolve and succeed. The stress response is designed to be turned on and turned off after the “danger” is gone. What is happening today at our era of addiction to technology and to work is that the stress response is turned all all the time. We are living like there is a lion chasing us all the time!
Our bodies are not designed to be in constant stress!
This is why stress got a bad rep. Stress is good for us. By simply embracing this belief, our attitude towards stress becomes positive and with that, there is an energy expansion that helps us to handle stress like a warrior.
So how do we avoid becoming “stressed out”?
There are many strategies I teach my clients that keeps them thriving during stress versus just surviving. Thriving is the state that we direct energy towards potential or possibilities, it is an energizing state. That is where new insights and solutions live. In survival mode we don’t have the same ability to do that, in that state fear takes over and our energy starts to get depleted. Not great things are achieved in that state.
One strategy that is very helpful is to condition your mind to believe that whatever it is, you can handle. That is my mantra during stress: ” I can handle it”. When you say that to yourself you are taking control versus shrinking into fear and panic. With that attitude you can stay calm and find answers. Sometimes you need to sit with that for a while, if the answer does not come soon, just create space and time and you will find it, always. Ask for help, more than one mind thinking can work greatly.
Second strategy is to walk away from the challenge completely, if you can. Go exercise, walk in nature, do yoga. When you walk away from the issue, you open your mind, you will have easier access to your inner intelligence and intuition. This is very helpful specially if the stressful situation is building up your adrenaline. That means your stress response is kicking in strong and your emotions will blind your wisdom to say the right things or make the right choices. I am sure you have had situations that you wish you could have taken your words or actions back. Walking away sometimes is the best action you can take.
And if you can’t walk away, take deep belly breaths. That will help you to calm down.
Peace and love, Alex.