Have you ever experienced stressful times in your life? Of course you have!
Moving house, assignments due, financial stressors, relationship challenges, work pressure, isolation, grief and loss. I’ve experienced all of these in the last few weeks. Everyone has these times occasionally.
I received this in an email from Marianne Williamson this morning, “We’re living in dramatic times, with a stress on many of our external systems ranging from political to financial to environmental. And not only the outer world is experiencing crisis; internally, we’re absorbing the stress as well. We often find ourselves experiencing emotional and psychological anxiety that mirrors the upset of these extraordinary times.”
Ah, this is a woman who is strong, powerful, and engaged in such amazing social, political, and spiritual work in the world. Hearing this from her was such a relief. Ah, it’s OK and normal to be experiencing high stress levels in these times.
And I’ve learnt through other amazing teachers to see stress as a good thing. How?
Stress is a sign that something’s out of balance. And the energy of the flight or fight response can be used for change.
We talked about the energy crisis and peak oil in Year 8 science last week. We also talked about the importance of emotional intelligence and that it’s a higher predictor of success than IQ. They understood that being able to name and cope with emotions is necessary for success in life. I asked them how they felt about the energy crisis. Their answers – “stressed, sad, depressed, anxious, angry”.
When we acknowledge, recognise and feel these emotions we can use the energy of this to take powerful action.
Stress can also be a sign that things are out of balance in our internal world. Because even in these turbulent times it is possible to feel at ease. The most inspirational people taking action for change in this world do so from a state of deep peace – not denying emotional storms but connecting with their truest and deepest self which is always at peace.
Stress for me in these last few weeks has been a sign that things are out of balance in my inner world. Lifestyle, diet, time management, etc. This stress has also definitely been a GOOD thing because it’s acted as an alarm bell to what’s not working in my life. And it’s given me the energy for change.
I’ve cleaned up my diet and have cut out the sweet treats always on the table at work and in fact sugar all together. I’ve made more of an effort to cook healthy meals rather than pick up something easy but not quite as healthy.
I’ve cut back on my teaching days so I can spend more energy on what I love doing – facilitating local girls groups and organising our upcoming Mother Daughter Retreat.
Last weekend I had NO plans, no to-do lists, and no pressure. I practiced being, trusting, and receiving and the weekend flowed beautifully. I gave myself the time to simply sit for hours with friends and chat, to go to bed early in the cold and wet and watch a feel good movie, to go to the spa and sit in the sauna and steam room, to play at the beach and enjoy the one sunny day we’ve had in what feels like ages. Ahh.
Yes, stress is a good thing. It’s an alarm bell. Things are out of balance in our external world and we need to take action. Things may be out of balance in our internal world and we need to take action. The outer mirrors the inner and vice versa.
Yes, we can use the energy of stress to make the necessary changes, however sometimes we need a tool or strategy to shift this energy.
So I know you’re wondering – the cure for everything?
“Stuck between hell and high water I need a cure to
make it through.
Dancing, nothing left for me to do but DANCE”.
Ah, Jamiroquioa, the wise funk master
Would you like to feel less stressed? Do yourself a favour. Give yourself 4 minutes alone, find a song you love, and dance. Throw your caution to the wind.
I recommend Jamiroquioa's song "Canned Heat". It has literally been on repeat for me last week.
I even had Year 8s dancing around the classroom to it!! Pure gold!!