The following is a guest post by Nancy Maxfield-Wilson of MyMax Performance.
Got stress? It’s becoming increasingly more difficult to reduce our stress. In fact, it seems to multiply daily in our hyper connected, smartphone-addled world. So how do we develop a more effective response? Resilience is critical to thriving vs. merely surviving! Resilience (our ability to bounce back and even transform adversity into opportunity) can absolutely be learned. It can also be strengthened, just like we strengthen our muscles.
Why care? Stress is linked to the six leading causes of death, and two out of three of every doctor’s visits involve stress-related conditions. It costs the U.S. $200-$300 billion each year in healthcare costs and lost productivity. In 2016, the American Psychological Association saw a significant increase in stress due to political conflict, fear about our nation’s future and social media usage.
Chronic stress can crash our productivity, health and happiness. It can disrupt sleep, memory, metabolism and ability to learn. Adding insult to injury, it can make us gain weight! In response to stress hormones, our body pushes more fuel into our bloodstream for fight or flight, but if unused, that extra blood sugar gets converted to fat and the infamous “muffin top”.
Research shows how you perceive your stress can influence whether it adversely affects your health. The GOOD news (there’s lots, so read on for it!) is that humans are incredibly resilient, which is why our species has been so successful. In addition, we can change our behaviors once we become aware of them.
Here are five big reasons to be optimistic- we’ve GOT this!
1. Our mind is incredibly powerful and it can heal. This is why in medical trials, we control for the “placebo effect.” We can actually recover because we think we’re receiving treatment.
2. We create our reality moment by moment with our thoughts and mindset. Consider Viktor Frankl or POWs held for years in unimaginable conditions. Bad things happen to good people; it’s our response that defines us. Optimism can be learned.
3. We are more than our DNA! Research of twins shows that lifestyle choices influence our health just as much or more than our genetics, in some cases (epigenetics).
4. Our body’s natural state is balance (“homeostasis”). This is the body’s ability to stabilize body temperature, heart rate and stress hormones, to name a few. Just give it a break and let it do its stuff! It’s a mind-body system; the body is a powerful tool for resilience.
5. Everyone can become more resilient, no matter where you are starting from, if we are willing to develop new skills.
Reset your stress meter to become present, productive, healthy and happy. Remember-resilience is your superpower-the difference between thriving and merely surviving in your one precious life!
The following is a guest post by Theresa Nutt.
As I continue my journey of becoming my own beloved, I have noticed something important: a theme that is really standing out for me right now is the topic of toughing it out. Too many of us have learned to ignore our feelings and other parts of our experience that are not considered acceptable (according to who, I wonder?).
Here are a few of the common symptoms of toughing it out:
- We swallow feelings and let them fester inside.
- Others treat us poorly and we don’t speak up.
- Our needs come last after everyone else is “happy” or comfortable (which never happens).
- We stop pursuing our passions and wait for a magic someday.
- Our body tries to get our attention and we just keep pushing on because there isn’t enough time. Eventually, something big happens and we suffer as a result.
- We are exhausted, but afraid to slow down or rest.
- Instead of living a unique life that speaks to us, we try to fit in and be more like others around us.
Tune In Instead Of Toughing It Out
The obvious remedy is to tune in more deeply to ourselves and our experience. There are times when the most loving thing to do is notice that life is really challenging. Or, that despite our best efforts we can’t seem to make headway.
There are not enough spiritual gymnastics in the world to help us in certain situations. And instead of admitting we are struggling or instead of asking for help when we need it the most, we start beating ourselves up using our inner critic.
What if instead of all the critic’s responses, you found yourself asking what you needed most instead of how can you tough this out?
Help Yourself First Instead of Toughing It Out
Once you tune in, you have the good fortune of knowing what you most need. Is your inner child screaming for your attention in some way? Are you in need of a supportive friend to listen or give you a hand? Do you need some time in Mother Nature to calm your mind and deepen your breathing?
And in the end, if you could just remember that the love, attention, approval, appreciation and every other thing you seek from external sources is a neon sign. The neon sign is reminding you to stop, tune into what is true for you, and love yourself more fiercely than ever before.
More musing from the stillness. Here I am still submerged in stillness, softness, and surrender. I am embracing fully that I am love. I am letting so many things that are not working about my life dissolve and fall away (sometimes gracefully and other times as humanly as one could expect – kicking and screaming of course). And I am realizing that I have a strong need to know.
Listen, I will not sit here and pretend I am not a class A control freak. I will not pretend that I don’t care about how things turn out. And at the same time, as everything I have always tried is no longer working the way it has all these years, it seems wise to stop moving. When in quicksand, the quickest way to avoid sinking is to stop moving.
Here’s the tricky part. A lot of us have been lead to believe that we need to have a plan, have our lives all figured out, and need to know where we are going. So over time we lose our ability to trust the Universe (or whatever your name for the bigger order of life is). What if we have been doing it all wrong all these years? What if its so much simpler than we ever thought possible?
All You Need To Know
In the end, I am realizing that the truth is the deepest part of us has always known. We come into this lifetime hardwired to live a life of meaning and purpose. And our incessant need for control takes us further and further away from what it is we came here to do.
Control is slippery, it comes in a number of formats that you might not recognize. Here’s a sampling of the common forms:
- Constantly staying busy
- Constantly taking care of others and pleasing others
- Always having a plan (also checklists, 100 things to do each day, a fear of too much downtime, etc.)
- Needing to know the outcome before starting down a path (aka fear of failure and disappointing others)
- Not following inner impulses and intuition because you don’t know where it leads
- Always trying to figure out your life and why you are the way you are
- Making sure to do things a certain “right” way
- Striving to be more and have more
- Can you imagine the immense freedom you would feel if you learned to trust that your deepest inner being was programmed to help you reach your destiny. Without fail?
Take a deep breath and really let that sink in. It’s the truth I am sitting with as I write today.
Trusting That All You Need To Know Is Here
In the past week, I have leaned into some pretty big wounds and pain patterns in my life. And at times it has felt like, “Are you kidding me?! This again?” Because I have been doing the work for 20 years now and I am about ready to be done with these yammering monkeys on my back. I know you feel me.
Here’s the difference. I am finally leaning all the way in to the pain and the wounds without needing a distraction. There is nothing easy about facing the truth. Distractions are readily available in our society for the express purpose of preventing us from reaching the greater truth.
I finally realize facing the truth is the path to freedom.
Your deepest longings, your greatest pains, and your biggest wounds are the lighthouse to your greatest gifts to this world. But you have to be willing to ride right into the eye of the storm with the darkness and pain while fully exploring the landscape. How many times have we heard, “The truth will set you free?” And how many times have we assumed we knew what that meant when in reality we were just paying lip service?
Your willingness to live through what you have in your lifetime has given you the exact gifts you need to touch the hearts of others. And a very deep part of you knew it all along. Time to sit back and cultivate your awareness of all the gold you have been mining through the darkest days.
All You Need To Know Is Already Inside You
If life is for you and your deepest self knows exactly what you are programmed to do in this lifetime, can you rest knowing it is all unfolding perfectly? This is the truth the stillness has created in me this week.
I am choosing to stop wriggling unnecessarily, to stop worrying about what’s next or how I will get there, and to stop asking what is wrong with me. None of these questions are helpful and yet, how many of us spend time asking these questions while demanding answers that we think should set us free? And in the end, we feel more confused, defeated, overwhelmed, and unable to trust.
If you have been to a water park, you know about the “lazy river” attractions. If not, the lazy river is designed so you can’t help but be pulled along gently by the moving water. Imagine aligning so fully with your deepest self, who already knows what your destiny is and exactly how to get you there, that you get to just float on the lazy river. Because when you stop moving and filling your life with busyness and a million forms of control, the deep natural order will take you to your deepest desires. Your satisfaction and fulfillment are 100% guaranteed.
Resources On The Journey To All You Need To Know
I am asking some different questions and using some different resources to navigate this time in my life. Here are a few that might really support you.
First, Kelly Canull is a soul coach who absolutely has a handle on navigating the deeper path and her podcast is changing my life. Check out her work here.
Second, my coach recommended a book that is revolutionizing the way I am thinking about my life. That book is titled Being You, Changing the World. It will teach you how to embrace fully who you truly are and stop looking outside yourself for answers.
Third, here’s a great article about surrendering the need for control called Let Go of Control.
in breath of creativityPlease leave a comment about how you are going to start living your life knowing that you already know all you need to know.
And if you would like the support of other women who are on the transformation journey to become vibrant. imaginative. unforgettable. join the Closeted Creatives Coaching Facebook group.
I desperately wanted help “letting go” of my tremendous emotional pain but felt many self-help books were bullying me to move forward more quickly than I was able. I didn’t want to wallow in self-pity. Like most women dealing with divorce, this was simply a process I couldn’t rush. (more…)
Louise Griffith MA, LP
It is common to feel like a failure and not worthy when one is going through a divorce, whether or not it is or was your choice. In the end, however, only you can decide the answer to this question. It is important that you honor your wisdom within. Think of the times that you have honored that gentle knowing. What has been the outcome when you paid attention as well as when you ignored it?
Wisdom brings perspective that informs your choices. Wisdom can be accessed when you are in the now. Wisdom is the memory of the soul.
Fear can drown out the voice of wisdom. Fear of the unknown and foreseen as well as unforeseen consequences can keep you from honoring your truth. At the core of who you are, you know what is right for you. At times, you may need the help of a trained professional to journey with you to get to that place. Others may not understand. However, if you don’t honor your own soul, who will? (more…)