Drained from the aftermath of the pandemic, we are now facing a deep recession, a cost-of-living crisis, global warming, and climate change.
Adjusting to a life full of so much uncertainty is stressful. Unless we understand why stress is so difficult to fight, we will never appreciate the nuances of self-destruction. We will continue to witness a rapid increase in mental health issues, absenteeism, and an overburdened NHS.
Stress stretches across the space-time continuum. Emotional baggage from our past contaminates and intensifies feelings in the present; these feelings change our biology and define our future wellbeing.
Now is the perfect time to learn how to manage our primal reactions to these unprecedented times so we can live with a better inner sense of calm and ease.
Your PAST catches up with you
From the moment you are born, you experience different emotions. You discovered ways to process and express how you felt. If you felt scared, you may have screamed your head off. If you got angry, you might have stamped your feet and pummelled the air with your fists. If you were sad, you might have cried and sobbed. This natural ability to express how you felt enabled your mind/body to release the tension and stress within you.
Emotions are a natural part of being human. Emotional expression is healthy, yet as we grow up, we tend to suppress or repress our feelings. A little boy may fall over and hurt himself. When he starts to cry, his father may say, “Come on son, big boys don’t cry”. At that moment, the young boy learns that to win his father’s appreciation, he needs to hold back his tears and put on a brave face. A little girl with an overbearing mother feels hurt under relentless criticism. She starts to believe that she needs to be perfect to be loved, which builds a huge burden of pressure and increases anxiety over the years. Layers of unprocessed emotion are held in the musculature of the body. These pent-up emotions erupt when these layers are triggered, and early childhood behaviours become evident.
Is your capacity to cope full up?
Imagine a glass under a running tap. At some point, the glass becomes full of water. If the tap isn’t switched off or the full glass is emptied, then water will spill over the top of the glass. As a human being, the tap of emotional experiences continues to flow. If we haven’t learned how to process and release these streams of emotions, then our capacity to cope and deal with more day-to-day emotional reactions becomes impaired.
How to ’empty your glass’
Pent-up emotions in the body constrict your breath. Take a moment to close your eyes and notice how your breathing feels. Many people have shallow breaths, which immediately reduces the oxygen in their bloodstream. When you take deeper and slower breaths, you become more aware of your body and are likely to feel calmer. The quickest way to change how you feel is to change how you breathe. If you want to release old emotions from your past, take 5 open-mouth breaths, then pummel the air with your fists for the count of 10. You’ll notice an instant lightness and a tingling sensation from good energy flow. Any activity encouraging you to breathe deeply and move your body releases excess stress-related hormones.
The PRESENT moment is your point of power
We become distracted from the present moment because we either dwell on the past and depress our emotional state or feel anxious about the future. When not present, we seek safety and security and develop a need to control people or situations. This creates tension and muscular resistance in the body that switches your autonomic nervous system into fight or flight. Life feels like a constant battle, and we become exhausted by the struggle. Paradoxically, the ability to rest and sleep often eludes us.
Reclaiming your point of power requires a focus on being present. This is easier to do when we ‘accept’ how things are. For high achievers reading this, it doesn’t mean giving up on a challenge or a desired goal; it means making friends with the present moment. Acceptance calms and soothes your nervous system. As your mind/body becomes more balanced, your cognitive function improves. You feel clearer and more confident in your ability to make decisions. Life feels easier to navigate.
How to be more present
You are not your thoughts and yet your thoughts are hugely distracting. When you quieten your thoughts, you find it easier to concentrate on the present moment. Quiet thoughts create harmony in the body and in this state of balance, your brain is accessing a brainwave frequency of theta. Therefore, meditation is so powerful for our health and wellbeing. If you struggle to meditate but crave the results of meditation, listen to theta binaural beats. These are available on Spotify and YouTube. Binaural beats are produced by simultaneously playing two different frequencies in each ear. This causes the brain to process the difference between the frequencies. When listened to through headphones, your brainwaves entrain to the frequency of the binaural beats. These are game changers for people over the past decade and show how neuroscience technology can effectively manage stress. I have applied binaural beat technology for over 15 years and have blended them into The Healing Hub App. They are a powerful shortcut that quickly delivers the therapeutic advantages of meditation.
Creating Your FUTURE
Anxiety is excessive worry often caused by a fear of the future. If you imagine a future event going badly, this creates a response in your body that is identical to the event. If you re-imagine the same event going well, your body responds differently. This principle explains self-fulfilling prophecies. What you focus on will determine how you feel and what you feel creates your future reality. Your emotions are ‘energy in motion and energy has a frequency. If you listen to your favourite radio station, it has its own frequency. If you change the frequency, then you can no longer listen to the same programme.
Visualising future events going well will trigger positive emotions that keep you on a positive frequency. You are creating your future outcomes based on the emotions you regularly feel in the present moment. Therefore prioritising how you feel is so important.
How to programme your future for success
Mental rehearsal uses visualisation to imagine your desired outcome, aiming to create a compelling vision that builds positive emotions. This powerful process starts to reform your thoughts by directly changing the neural circuits in the brain. A thought is an electrical signal with neurotransmitters that attach to another neuron. This builds a neural pathway that gets stronger every time you think the same thought. The more times to imagine and rehearse what you want in your future, the more you strengthen thought patterns and circuits that will naturally support automatic positive thinking.
Mental rehearsal for courageous conversations
Validating your feelings and expressing what you really want to say is vital for managing stress. Many people feel anxious about having difficult or sensitive conversations and resort to pushing down their thoughts and feelings. Anxiety around open and honest self-expression creates toxicity in the workplace and in personal relationships. Explore and use this powerful process to give you more confidence during difficult conversations.
- Validate how you feel to yourself. Emotional processing is an essential step in managing stress. Permitting yourself to connect with your feelings without judgement encourages emotions to flow instead of freeze. “I’m angry and frustrated by my boss’s demands.”
- Acknowledge to yourself what you really want to say. Validating the truth of what you want to communicate is very cathartic. This step of self-validation builds your self-worth and increases your self-awareness. “I’m feeling overwhelmed with the workload you’ve given me, and this feels unfair.”
- Reflect on their likely reaction. With your knowledge about this person and your history with them, how are they likely to respond? It’s important to be honest with yourself even if you know their response won’t be good for you. Likely answer from the boss is that he says the project is too important and the timescales are fixed. There is nothing he can do.
- Mentally rehearse the conversation to include a response to their response. Prepare a reply to their anticipated response that demonstrates grace and personal integrity. Take a higher perspective and imagine feeling proud of your dignified and gracious response. “Thank you for listening and taking the time to explain this. I appreciate it.” When you imagine yourself responding calmly and with dignity, you’ll feel more confident and powerful. This is the energy that you’ll be holding throughout your conversation.
A final thought
There will always be situations in life that trigger stress. Your willingness to look for the answers to how you feel, inside yourself rather than outside yourself, will give you greater control over your life. Recognising the symptoms of stress and being open to taking the necessary steps to resolve it will allow you to navigate life with confidence and ease.
Find out how you can work with me.
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