Tag: How to Handle Stress

Do you need a vacation…or a more balanced life?

sunset over waterI love vacations. They are chances to see new sites and enjoy activities you may not typically incorporate into your daily schedule. Putting yourself in a new location can be invigorating to body and mind, as you are having different experiences than usual.

However, if you mainly use vacations as escape from your normal reality, you might want to examine the level of balance in your life. If your daily life is unbalanced, a vacation will merely be a quick fix and not help the underlying issue.

Imagine if you didn’t need a vacation in order to feel calm and centered, but could find that in your every day?

If you feel your life is unbalanced, ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you overscheduling yourself? If so, consider ranking to-do’s and commitments by importance and complete them in that order. That way, you will accomplish what is most productive, supportive, and essential to you. Eliminating those “should” tasks can add more time and increase your level of satisfaction.
  • What is causing you overwhelm? Is it something you can delegate or ask for help with? If not, can you choose to shift your perspective on what you perceive to be stressful?
  • How often do you feel tired/sick and what is the cause? Is it poor nutrition, lack of sleep, or your thoughts? These are all factors that play a role in decreased energy and health.
  • How soon do you feel burned out after returning from a vacation? Try to remember what the precursors were to your last burnout. Did a particular thing, or combination of things, happen that led to it? Finding clues to what causes you to “need a vacation” is helpful for keeping an eye on in the future so you can make adjustments before burnout happens.

Now that you have explored your past life-balance history, write a vision of your life in the future. What could your life look like on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis if it were balanced? What are you doing in that vision? How do you feel? Determine how you could make aspects of your balanced life into realistic goals to achieve.

Vacations are not solutions to an unbalanced life. Focusing in on possible causes of imbalance, steps to regain balance, and how you desire to see your life in the future will bring more equilibrium and joy to your life. Vacations will be even more enjoyable when you don’t dread returning to the “real world”!


Emotions and Your Body

P1020568Have you ever experienced physical pain or discomfort with no apparent physical cause? For example, dreading doing something and after thinking about it for a while, having a headache or stomach upset? What we experience as physical pain in the absence of any injury or physical cause may stem from our emotions. Our thoughts and feelings are so powerful that they can manifest in our body. We become aware of this process when we feel discomfort. Emotions somatized can actually be the cause of our organs and systems not functioning properly.

Some examples of how emotions can manifest in the body:

  • Anxiety/Fear may be experienced in the body in many different ways. Often these feelings will affect the adrenal gland and the kidneys. Of course they can affect other parts of the body as well.

Possible causes: Lacking in confidence and security. If you dispute irrational thinking and keep your thoughts in present time rather than negative futures, you will eliminate anxiety and fear from your life.

  • Sadness often will affect the heart and the thymus gland.

Possible causes: Holding on to negative experiences, the inability to “let go.” Letting go of negative thoughts and past experiences will allow joy into one’s life and sadness will shift. Refer to the post Letting Go for more on this.

  • Depression often will affect the way we think, our head and brain.

Possible causes: A need for acceptance, self-consciousness; unable to see path; over-thinking or over-feeling with the perception of having no choice in life. Truly accepting yourself with all of your flaws and strengths decrease your need for outside approval. Practice seeing yourself as one with infinite possibilities.

  • Grief often will affect the liver, gall bladder and can cause many other challenges in the body.

Possible causes: Denying and/or not releasing grief,

  • Anger often will affect the liver, which cleanses our blood and stores our emotions.

Possible causes: Not releasing anger, bitterness, or resentment; not allowing forgiveness. By acknowledging experiencing, honoring and releasing these negative feelings you will be free of anger and able to allow joy in.

  • Stress in general can affect all organs, depending upon the person.

Possible causes: Imbalance in one or more aspects of life. Refer to the post, Life Balance, for more information and how to create balance.

  • Feeling stuck or confusion usually affects the throat area.

Possible causes: Having something to say but fearful to speak the truth, which results in feeling “stuck.”

Can affect: Gall bladder (for example, gall stones). The gall bladder acts as a passage from the liver to the small intestines.

Possible causes: Self-resentment, not allowing yourself to speak your truth.

Areas of the body that can alert us to emotional causes of pain:

  • Left side of body – represents feminine energy. Ask yourself are you denying your feminine qualities or ability to receive.
  • Right side of body – represents masculine energy. Ask yourself are you denying your masculine qualities or ability to take action.
  • Lungs – might indicate an inability to speak one’s truth.
  • Abdomen/gut – caused by the unconscious taking in of other peoples’ emotions.
  • Shoulder issues – the feeling of being overburdened by the challenges of others.
  • Hips – the feelings of insecurity and fear create the inability to move forward.
  • Knees – the lack of self-respect, often is the cause of knee issues.
  • Lower back – resentment rooted in the belief, that there is no one to help you and your burdens feel too great.
  • Cervical spine (neck) – linked to the inability or fear of being flexible in life.

We can use the presentation of symptoms to check in with ourselves and ask whether the pain or discomfort we are feeling could have an emotional cause, rather than a physical cause. Spending some time on releasing heavy emotions can help lessen—or completely resolve—physical symptoms.

Try using:

  • Meditation or yoga to quiet the mind and provide a sense of grounding, lightness, or peace.
  • Emotional Freedom Technique (known as EFT or Tapping), which involves tapping your fingertips on pressure points on the face and body to release emotions.
  • Journaling. The simple act of recording thoughts and feelings on paper can provide awareness, release, and resolution.
  • Counseling. Sometimes, just having an impartial person to hear you can provide great relief.
  • Coaching. Sometimes in combination with counseling, coaching will teach you the action steps you want to move forward.

Can Stress Be Healthy?

When we have negative reactions to stress, it becomes unmanageable in a way that can be harmful to our bodies and minds. Stress when managed properly may actually be beneficial in your life. Stress at work, with family, and friends, even commuting can be chunked down into a series of small manageable bites.

We grow from the challenges that occur in our lives, rather than from what is easy. Stress is actually an attribute that can help us lead more balanced lives, if we approach it from a positive perspective. The key is to learn how to handle it in a continually constructive way.

When our bodies or our spirits experience stress we instantaneously want to run away from it—which may not actually be the most beneficial route.  Pushing through what seems difficult, persevering to the other side and eventually making it through, that’s what makes us stronger.

Like many things, however, too much can be detrimental. What’s important is to find the balance between what is healthy stress and what may become chronic negative stress, for example: anxiety or worry that turns into a long-term health concern.

What are some of the ways that stress may actually make your life healthier? It definitely plays a role when it comes to immunity—leading to an increased production of healthy cells that ward off sickness and disease. Studies at Stanford University show that our bodies produce extra interleukins  –chemicals that help regulate the immune system. This action of our bodies taking care of itself is one way stress may be useful for us. Another would be the strategies learned from the experience of a stressful episode, can be used and improved upon in the future. These experiences can make you more successful in your day-to-day endeavors.

Stress has been demonized in our current society, I am suggesting that whatever demands the world is making of you, it is you that is creating the stress. With this mindset, it becomes possible to use all your energy and creativity to solve the individual challenges you are facing, thus eliminating all negative stress from your life.

With this knowledge, that stress may actually be helpful to promoting better physical health, as well as help to provide a competitive edge in career or life aspirations—identify the way that it negatively affects you and change it!  Give yourself the opportunity to examine it, and begin to take away the good and discard the bad.