We all deal with stress on a daily basis.
The problem isn't actually the stress, it's the way in which we deal with it.
Even if we think we are coping with stress, it can impact us in subtle ways until one day, we just crack.
The key way to avoid feelings of overwhelm or any other detrimental impact that stress might have on our life (including causing problems with relationships, family life and health) - is to be aware and actively manage our stress.
Stress has some strong effects: it makes us unhappy, unproductive, less open-hearted in our relationships, it exhausts us and decreases our health, mentally and physically.
Even if you don't feel the impact of stress, presently, it does still and at least will, affect you.
So let’s look at how to let go of our stress.
Start with the why
What are your stress triggers? Is it work, relationships, family or all of them!?
Why do we get stressed?
Quite simply - we want the world to be a calm, orderly and peaceful environment. Stress ruins these plans.
Life cannot (and never will) stick to our exact plan and stress is a simple example of this.
A quote from Leo Babauta, a regular contributor to Zen Habits, has really stuck in my mind;
"Stress comes not because the world is messy and chaotic, but because we desire it to be different than it is."
Babauta goes on to say "We have ideas for how our life should be. How other people should be. How we should be, how everything around us should be. These ideals aren’t a problem it's our attachment to these ideals that's the problem and this attachment — the is that we are attached to these ideals. And this attachment causes us stress.
The good news is that we can let go of our attachment and we can feel less stressed. Sounds easy, doesn't it? Well believe it, we can let go and in doing so we let go of our stress.
How to Let Go of the Stress
Imagine you’re experiencing a moment of stress right now.
You're feeling the pressure.
You might feel it physically (with a headache) or your mind might be spinning into overdrive.
However, when you know you are facing a period of stress, try to use this easy to remember practice;
1.Notice how the stress feels
Let it take over your body and feel comfortable with it.
Be present and understand the feeling.
Before long, you won't feel stress as a threat but instead something familiar and something that you can handle.
2. Recognise why the stress exists
What’s causing this stress in your body?
What do you say to yourself during times of stress? Does it make the stress worse? Can you calm yourself down by being kind to yourself?
Also, notice if your mind is exacerbating a stressful scenario. Is it really as bad as you're making out? Try to be objective when analysing the causes of your own stress.
3. Just let the stress be
Try to feel as liberated as you can in what would normally be a very confining, stressful situation. Try to find peace in your chaos.
This is a state of openness that you can drop into at any moment.
Just notice how it feels to not be dominated by your stress. See how easy it is to choose to be unaffected by the stress.
You don’t have to be joyous in every moment of your life, but this freedom of realising that you're more powerful than your stress is liberating. Maybe before long, you'll even appreciate the beauty of the chaos.