Are you able to switch your mindset from being an addict of doing into one that is an addict of being? This certainly is one of the harder aspects of life for anyone to embody. But, if you are able to accomplish this feat, it will set you on a path to mastering a life of being stress free.
Everyone suffers from stress in some way and I have talked in previous articles about how it is actually a friend not an enemy. Of course, it all comes down to your perspective and how you see the world and your life. Primarily people focus on what they need to do in life to achieve success and the only way to accomplish anything is by doing. Since this is a physical plane there is an aspect of doing that is required but ultimately it comes down to the context of that doing. Everywhere you look, people have that context wrong and that is why their "doing" causes so much stress.
Stress is defined as:
- pressure or tension exerted on a material object
- a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances
I ask that you switch your perspective of looking at this stress problem into one where you take complete responsibility that you cause all the stress you experience in life. I know that can be very hard especially considering that the definition above defines stress in a context where it is caused by external forces. So, because I am asking you to look at things in a way that is different that your belief structure, you will probably be feeling some of stress because of this. This feeling can also be called cognitive dissonance, but I will cover that at another time in another article.
As the subject of this post implies, I am going to give you three core steps to allow you the ability to be stress free. Here is the first one:
1) Be aware of your inclination towards a particular characteristic or type of behavior.
Our brain is basically a big computer that has a set program it follows. We have unique tendencies that are the unique programs with each of us. These programs define how we will respond to every situation we experience in life. Each program was created based on a belief we have that came from an experience when we were a child or were given to us by our parents, family, society or whoever we were in contact with before the age of 7. Throughout our life we can create these programs, but the largest amount of them are doing when we are a child.
When you start to put your mind to work and be conscious of what programs your brain is running you can start to break down the cause of stress. Stress is actually its own program that just needs to have its code changed around a bit. What are the thoughts you have when you are in a stressful situation? Notice the type of behavior you are having in that situation.
Write down these tendencies and the characteristics and behaviors you have specifically in a stressful situation. Start to become aware of how they are different that the ones you have in a non-stressful situation.
2) Examine the thoughts, characteristics, and behavior you are exhibiting during stress
To do this you need to understand the difference between your brain and mind. Most people consider them the same thing, when in fact they are not. Your brain is the organ in your head that runs your body for you and is the center of the nervous system. Your mind is the part of you that makes you be aware of the world around you and the experiences you have. It is the faculty of consciousness and thought.
The thoughts you have are not always from your mind but can actually be from your brain. So, by learning to examine your thoughts you can start to define which ones you want to keep and which ones you do not want. This is basically taking responsbility for your thoughts and consciously choosing them.
Now I ask you, do you want those thoughts that are causing stress? Likely, you do not! Yet, by default you usually have them and are willing to live with them and the stress they cause each and every day of your life. Most people walk around every day allowing negative thoughts and feelings to race through them. Then they act out at other people with those feelings and thoughts.
When you start to examine your thoughts, the personal characteristics you have, and the behavior you exhibt, it allows you to take control and no longer be a victim to your own life. You enter a mindful state where you positively challenge your responses and consider if they really are beneficial to you.
Earlier you wrote down how your responded to stress. Beside those entries, challenge that response and ask yourself two questions -- a) how does this serve me, and b) how does this not serve me.
3) Do not fight your response to stress but accept it and choose differently
Everywhere we look, the world is fighting something. We have the war on drugs, the fight against diseases, the war against inequality among races, gender, etc., the fight against the rich and poor, etc. You name it and somewhere you can find someone battling something. The funny thing is that by fighting something you are actually giving it energy. We all know the phrase - what you resist, persists.
So, if you start trying to fight stress or fight the reactions you have toward stress you are actually feeding the fire instead of stopping it. What you need to understand is your actions toward stress and these feelings we asked you to examine are really signposts pointing toward an area of your life that needs attention. You also need to make sure you do not judge yourself or the situation. Remember your reaction is just a program and choice that had been defined in a previous part of your life. Now, you have the ability to choose different.
Basically, the sequence is now one where you enter a stressful situation and you are conscious of the response you have. Then you examine that response and understand what part of you is being served and what part is not being served by the response. You accept that you had this reaction and are being served by it in some way. Lastly, you then make a decision and choose if that response is really worth while in the grander perspective of your life and the situation you currently are in.
Do you see the simple power in this approach? You are no longer just responding to stress in the average way, but instead are really starting to get to the root of your belief structure around the situation you are in and the stress it is causing.