Sometimes life hands you more than you can bite off. And sometimes even if it’s more, it’s exactly what you have to go through to become who you are meant to be.
I’ve been absent from this forum for a while and as we enter into the third month of 2017, I thought it might be about time to explain myself.
The last three months have been a swirl. Every sort of life event you can imagine has taken place (death of a loved one, new arrival of a loved one, surgery, a new house, new job, and the list keeps going). Most of the events were joyous and invited happy shifts into my life, at the same time they also required massive amounts of my energy and focus.
It’s easy to think that only negative change causes stress, but this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Even great changes carry a certain weight with them, and when that weight keeps piling on its guaranteed you’ll come face to face with your own limits in resilience.
As an ambassador of stress resiliency, the last few months have challenged me to really hone in on what it means to be elastic and recover when stress has been heaped on in every area of your life. I’ve managed to deepen my understanding of what it takes to bend, reshape and bounce back in these times. I’m sharing my thoughts with you in the hopes that each of the four practices, may provide you with the boost you need when life inundates you.
Change how you look at it
A well known health psychologist ,Kelly McGonigal, gave an amazing talk on how to make stress your friend.
Over the last three months as I caught myself getting sucked into “I’m so stressed out” mode, I found that regularly (daily) reminding myself that this was not a bad situation was incredibly helpful. Especially because many of the stressors I was facing, were related to something I wanted to bring into my life.
Not so excited about the changes happening in your life? Choosing to view the causes of stress and even the stress itself as helpful can actually shift your stress physiology and potentially create more positive outcomes and reduce the harmful side effects of stress.
There are times where you just need to hunker down and go within. It helped that I came into this period during winter, when hunkering down and hibernating were a bit easier to do. While Netflix is a wonderful way to kill time during the winter months, what I actually found to be most helpful was recommitting to my meditation and journaling practice.
I started an early morning routine, that includes meditation and journaling and have found the mental space created through both practices has helped me transform the way I look at and approach the challenges I am facing. In particular my meditation practice helps me clear out the cobwebs and align my energy to an intention and journaling helps me work through some of the meatier issues I didn’t have immediate answers for.
Have a “Planned” Freak out
At the end of January everything hit me like a ton of bricks. I had a day where the tears just needed to come. So I let them. After the storm, the cobwebs in my head were cleared and the sun started shining again.
Katie Horwitch of the Wantcast, encourages scheduling planned freakouts. I found this exercise she lists out in this episode to be INCREDIBLY helpful.
Practice love and gratitude
There were many many many moments over the last few months where I felt incredibly disconnected from these two emotions and the impact was palpable.
Take for instance the day mortgage rates jumped before we had locked ours in, and I immediately started blaming my husband and getting really huffy. In a fortunate moment of clarity, I realized that blame not only didn’t serve the situation, it made me feel lousy. I chose instead to re-approach the situation with love. The result was a far more productive conversation, a deeper connection with my husband and a de-escalation of my stress response.
Every day, take a few moments to notice what you are grateful for (I try to do this before I get out of bed). Notice when you start to feel judgment or blame toward others, observe what that feels like in your body. Then ask, what would this feel like if I approached them from a place of love instead?
It’s one of many of life’s unfortunate truths, but we don’t get to control what comes our way, only how we react to it. Go ahead, test out each of these practices and let me know which ones give you a much needed boost when life gets out of control. Shoot me an email or comment below to let me know what works.