Today was an opportunity for me to practice experiencing the full spectrum of my feelings.
Today would have been my mom’s 80th birthday. We were planning a big party with all her friends and lobster from Maine, her favorite. Instead, I woke up with the song “This Little Light of Mine” playing on repeat. I know it was a sign to go for my dreams from my mom, who passed away in June.
I also had a client today tell me that she feels like a new person. She is making some major progress in managing her mind and I am bursting with how proud I am of her.
In my quest for more emotional evenness, I sat with both of these feelings for quite a while today. I gave myself permission to have the whole experience and not try to numb any of it.
While both feelings made me cry, it was a totally different experience in my body.The grief I experienced in my throat. It was a tightness, a very dark blue, and heavy. The pride I experienced in my chest. It was yellow and expansive.
How does chronic stress feel in your body?
When I was experiencing chronic stress, it was a tightness in my chest, jaws, and shoulders. It was heavy, making me exhausted. It was hot, black and smelled like gas.
According to Harvard Health, chronic stress can lead to a host of physical issues such as high blood pressure, heart disease, more colds and flus, asthma and even cancer. It can even speed up the aging process. There is also evidence that it does physical damage to your brain cells. That’s some scary stuff right there.
The first thing to realize is that stress is a feeling that is generated by a thought that you are having about a circumstance. That thought is completely in your control.
Circumstances are just facts. What one person thinks is wrong, another may be ok with. It’s just their thought about the circumstance that creates how they feel.
Some of the thoughts that I was having that led to my chronic stress were:
I have so much to do and not enough time to do it
I will be a failure if I don’t accomplish this
I am only as good as my achievements
I have no control over what is happening to me
These are all stories that my brain had created based on my experiences in life. I was not broken, it was just how my brain interpreted my experiences. Our brains are one big predictive engine that only cares about pleasure, things being easy, and avoiding pain.
We have to reprogram our brain if we want to get different results by intentionally thinking new thoughts.
One way to do this is to do a thought download every day. Just get all of your thoughts out of your head and onto a piece of paper (or electronically). Go back on a weekly basis to see what patterns you can find that are standing in the way of the result you want.
Figure out what your primary thought is that is driving your stress. Ask yourself if it’s really true. Ask yourself why at least 5 times to really get to the root of the issue. Once you find it, figure out how you can change that thought to get a better result.
Be a scientist my friends. Gather the data. You can figure it out. You are in the programmer’s seat here. Put in your enhancement request and make it happen. You can totally overcome chronic stress and start to feel better.
I want you to feel better. I want you to create amazing products, services, and relationships. I want you to live an amazing life.
PS: I would be honored if you joined my free Facebook group called “The High Achiever’s Stress Management Collective”.