When you're so stressed out all the time the last thing you want to do is listen to someone tell you chill out, right? The best you can probably do is bite your tongue from telling them to butt out and mind their own business.
It's so annoying when you know you're stressed out and there's so many things that need your attention, and it's not even an option to take time to chill out.
It's when the little every day things become overwhelming and you start to feel emotional with everything from losing your keys, to spilling the milk, to running late, which may lead to emotional outbursts and tears at the most inappropriate of times.
And from my experience life aint a whole lot of fun living like that. It lead me to question many times, what the hell am I doing with my life and what is the point, surely this isn't what life is all about....right?
Fortunately now I live with a lot more awareness, which means I have much more effective ways to catch it creeping up on me in the early stages and manage it before it spirals out of control and I lose it completely.
If you're done with feeling stressed out all the time, then read on, you're in the right place.
It's all very well, to have a massage, take a bath or have a glass of wine to help you unwind, and if these type of actions do help and you have strategies that do actually help you that's great.
However, it can be much like putting a band aid on top of the problem without addressing the cause of the stress. Much the same as taking a tablet every time you get sick without looking deeper to investigate what's actually causing the sickness.
And it's okay if that's how you want to manage things - deal with it as it comes up, and put a band aid over it to cover it up, however this information might not be for you. This is for you, if you no longer want to constantly be stressed out all the time. If you actually want to better understand yourself and discover what might be contributing to creating the stress so that you can feel in control to create changes that address the root cause.
First lets take a look at what may be contributing to creating your stress.
Stress is such a huge topic - too big for one post - and there are so many elements that contribute to create stress in our lives. Essentially they all come back down to one core thing no matter what it is that's actually triggering your stress. For the purpose of this post, I'm going to talk about this important component of stress that has been key to my personal transformation and is also the area in which I am trained, and specialize in helping my clients.
Our default habits, behaviours and ways of thinking are a result of what we learned and absorbed subconsciously as a child.
These default behaviours are stored programs in your subconscious mind that happen without your need to think about them. Just like programs installed on your computer, we have programs installed for how we behave, respond and react to every single thing in life.
Think of how many things you have learnt to do throughout your life that you can now do without thinking about it, like driving a car, getting dressed, playing a sport, or touch typing on the computer.
This is how your subconscious works - once something is learnt it is stored like a computer program that will run automatically, so that you no longer have to use all your energy and brain power to think about every single step required to do the task.
Here are some examples related to stress to illustrate how we as children created our own programs, based on the meaning we gave to certain experiences or events in the past.
- If as a child you learnt that you had to be doing something useful or productive to be valuable and worthy, your brain may have created a belief that to be valuable you must always be doing something useful or productive. Therefore a program (habit or behaviour) was created so that you must always be doing something useful, and as a result you might experience in your current life that it's very difficulty to slow down, take time out and rest or to just be.
- As a child you might have worked really hard on a school project and failed according to the school system or your parents expectations, therefore you created a belief that you must work harder in the future because you don't want to be seen as stupid and disappoint your parents, your default behaviour is then installed for hard work because you're afraid to fail.
- If you witnessed your parents complaining there was never enough time and they were always rushing about stressed out, then you may have absorbed the belief that there is never enough time and this then becomes your experience as you experience habits and behaviours that reinforce this belief.
- If someone let you down in the past and didn't meet your expectations, you may have formed the belief that you have to do it all yourself so you know that it's done right, then your default behaviour now might be to do everything yourself and never allow anyone to help you, and therefore you're always under constant pressure because you're doing everything yourself.
For every single experience in your past, you have created your own meanings about an event which drives your automatic habits and behaviours that influence everything that happens in your life today.
Ultimately our beliefs are what determine our behavior and our experience of life. And science now proves this, that it is not what happens in life but the meaning we attach to what happens and our response to it.
Stress is a learned response. Which is why some people are not affected by some situations in their life where as others may break down and fall apart under the same circumstances.
When you're feeling stressed out all the time here's 4 ways you can get more understanding about what's really going on so that you can start to break down what's creating the stress in the first place.
1. Identify and acknowledge what is actually stressing you out.
Is it that you've got so much work to do and you don't want to let anyone down. Is it that you can't sleep because you're worrying about how to get everything done now. Is it that you're putting so much pressure on yourself to do everything yourself and you won't allow anyone to help and support you.
2. Identify what it is that you're really afraid of.
If you don't get all that work done today, your boss will be disappointed. If you don't put on your happy face for your friends they might reject you. If you slow down and take a break people will think you're worthless and lazy.
3. Ask yourself is this true?
Yes or No. How do you feel or react if you believe that thought were true, for example that someone won't like you or will reject you. Does this thought create peace or stress? These questions are a simplified process of The Work by Byron Katie - brilliant questions you can use to get to the truth of what's going on.
4. If it weren't true what could you do differently to support yourself right now?
If it weren't true and it were safe for you to stop, slow down and take care of yourself what would you need right now in this moment? What can you let go of or give yourself to let yourself know that you are enough, that you are important, that taking care of you is essential?
This allows you to create more understanding, because when you know better you are now in a position where you can choose to do better.
However often times, even when we know better we don't always do better, if you find this is the case it's likely their are deeper subconscious layers preventing you from taking the actions that will reduce your stress levels. Book a coaching session if you want to be guided and supported through releasing the subconscious blocks keeping you stressed and burnt out and putting everyone else first all the time.
When you've released and transformed the subconscious programming that has you believe that you are not enough, not worthy, not useful or valuable as you are now, how you feel about yourself will change, and as a result your choices and actions will change.
Taking care of yourself becomes effortless because deep down you know you are important and worthy and taking care of yourself and your needs matters.
You don't have to forever live a life being stressed out and constantly working hard to manage it. If you're willing to get to a space where you know that you are enough, and address the root causes that have you thinking that you're not enough, then you can begin to create a new, and more peaceful experience for your life.