Today is #3 of this 3-part series on stress. Woo-hoo! I hope you had a fantabulous Thanksgiving, and are using the tips and info from the first two posts in this series to keep holiday stress from raining on your holiday parade. If you missed one (or both) of the first two in this series, you can check out:
#1 Your BodyMindSpirit on Stress, which summarizes the far-reaching effects of negative stress on the human organism.
#2 The Chillaxation Response, which outlines the top 5 ways to better manage our inevitable stress.
This week’s email dives into the next layer of working with the daily stressors in our lives, which is the UBER-important area of STRESS RESILIENCE, and INNER PEACE.
“Okay, Laurie Warren, I have an idea of what inner peace is, but what on earth is stress resilience?!”
Great question. Let’s explore.
The Wicked Witch Metaphor
Metaphorically, let’s say that you’re the Wicked Witch Of The West (WWotW) in the Wizard of Oz (Please don’t bum out that I’m using her as the metaphor; I actually have a fondness for her, and think that she was misunderstood). In this metaphor, stress is rain (remember, the WWotW melts in the rain).
I could tell the WWotW where all of the rain shelters were in her neighborhood. I could provide her with healing remedies to un-melt if she happens to get caught in the rain. I could put an app on her smartphone that forecasted the weather for her, so that she could avoid rain (and then activate the smartphone feature that doesn’t let her check the weather while she’s driving her broomstick, of course.) These tips and precautions are like stress management. Important info, and useful for her, to manage her way around the rain that may show up, and avoid melting. Yay.
AND, I could also provide her with patented, no-weight, invisible rain gear, that’s just part of her everyday existence. Then, she will barely notice the rain, and will rarely need the other tips and cool app, because her whole outlook on, and relationship to, rain…is totally changed. And for us mere humans (not powerful witches), the equivalent to that in the stress arena is STRESS RESILIENCE. And stress resilience is deeply connected to Inner Peace.
Stress resilience and inner peace are very big topics. When I’m working with folks, one-to-one, in my 6-month Transformation Coaching program, I share FIFTEEN fantabulous practices for inner peace. We also spend time shifting belief systems that act as barriers for the ability to become stress resilient, and for inner peace. That would make for a very long blog post! So today I’m going to share the basics of stress resilience, and then give you 3 Easy Inner Peace Practices that will be especially helpful for you during the holidays.
Stress Resilience is ALL ABOUT our “inner world”…our emotions and mental approach. This is where everything starts, ends, and everything in between. It’s the whole enchilada, and the whole kit and caboodle. You see, we take our inner world and project it onto the outer world. “Projecting” basically means that I take my “stuff” and mentally wipe it all over other people, my environment, and the world. So, if I’m a stressed-out person, then I experience the world as a stressful place. I can create feelings of stress at work, at home, at the holidays, in the market, or sitting in front of a fire with a loved one. I AM the stress.
On the other hand, have ya ever meet those folks that always seem relaxed? We tell ourselves that they’re chillaxed, and we’re wound tight, because we’re busier, our job is more important, our kids are more needy, our financial situation is harder, etc, ad nauseam. The truth is that those perpetually chillaxed folks cultivate inner peace and stress resilience so they carry their chillaxedness wherever they go. They create the mental approach of inner peace. And, this creates stress resilience!
“Sounds fab, Laurie Warren, but how the bleep do I get started on that party train?! It sounds so different from the way I currently operate, and I’m feeling stressed out just thinking about creating that kind of change. Aaaahhhh!”
Never fear. There’s no timetable and you can do this. AND you, your health, and your joy…are worth the effort. Let’s look at…
3 Easy Inner Peace Practices
1. Utilize the Magic of the Breath. When we breathe with awareness, we immediately reconnect with our body and release our “monkey mind.” I suggest just closing your eyes, naturally breathing, and focusing on the sensations that we rarely notice that accompany breathing: the feeling at the tip of our nose, the sensation of the air pulling in through our upper nostrils, our ribs expanding and contracting, etc. Even doing this for a few breaths creates the “Relaxation Response” and cultivates Inner Peace.
2. Selectively Simplify. If the holidays feel stressful and overwhelming, then reduce your mental load by selectively simplifiying…weeding out some things that would create the idea of more time. Maybe you ditch sending holiday cards. Maybe you make Christmas dinner a potluck. Or maybe you pay your kids $20 to wrap the presents (and let go of how perfect they look!).
3. Gift Yourself a Perspective-Check. Auschwitz survivor Viktor Frankl said that “our perspective toward life is our final and ultimate freedom.” Changing our emotions is quite hard; changing our perspective is quite easy. (Yay!) Remind yourself that there are currently 7.4 billion different perspectives on this earth, and yours is only one. Remind yourself that most of your problems are “first world problems.” My go-to for a perspective change is going on to YouTube and watching Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot (well worth 3.5 minutes of your day!)
I invite you to take a deep breath, know that change takes time, and remind yourself that you’re worth the effort!
Have a comment or tip? I’d love to hear from you! Please chime in, using the comment feature below.
With love & holiday joy,