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How to deter stress and overwhelm

Hello my friend.

However things feel to you in this moment, I'd like to offer some support. Maybe you're feeling okay or maybe you're not. Maybe you're calm or maybe you're stressed. Maybe your life hasn't changed much this year, or maybe it has fallen apart. Whatever is happening in your world, what I share in this blog can change everything...long term.

I'll get to that in a minute, but before I do, I want to share that I'm hearing stories in which all of the scenarios I mentioned above are true. While some people's lives are stable, others are dealing with devastating changes that have turned their world upside down—an unexpected divorce, loss of a job and steady income, death, wild fires, floods, a dreaded diagnosis...The list goes on.


THE REALITY OF CHALLENGE


And yet I'm aware that despite the unusual nature of 2020, such challenges are always a part of life. Life has a way of reminding us that we are not in control...ever. And how ironic to be writing about this today, on one of the most shockingly out of control days in North American history—September 11th.

This reality of not truly having control over the course of our lives can feel overwhelming and frightening, especially since we're conditioned to believe if we work hard enough and make all the necessary sacrifices, we'll eventually get the payoff of not having to worry. And yet no matter how hard we try or how much we do, we may find ourselves back at the foot of the mountain.

So how do we quell the urge to crumble into a heap of anxiety and hopelessness? How do we stop wasting our energy trying to outpace or control life, when it is capable of knocking us down over and over again? This is the million dollar question, right? And we all want the answer.


THE ILLUSION OF CONTROL


It may sound and feel crazy, but the answer is actually found in giving up our attachment to control—the notion that we can somehow make life go our way if we do just the right things. We can't. We can't control the flow of life through this dynamic reality, no matter how perfectly or diligently we try. There are too many moving parts. The unexpected will happen. There's no way we can anticipate every possibility in every situation all the time.


That doesn't mean our actions make no difference; on the contrary! They make every difference. Every action we take has a ripple that impacts the whole of this reality. Quantum science validates this. We are all interconnected. The seemingly separate bits and pieces of this entire reality form one living entity.


But let's not go down that rabbit hole today. Today I want to invite you to find a new balance inside, one in which you stop trying to control or manipulate life into doing your bidding, and instead, begin to align with its power. Because here's the deal: there's a much larger force than you operating through you. In fact, there's an infinite source of life expressing itself through you. That's powerful!

CULTIVATING SOVEREIGNTY


So let's get you aligned with that source, because when you do, the power of life can flow through you more easily, easing your sense of struggle. The first step is to unclench your fists from the things you cannot control, and embrace the things you can. For example, you can't control how other people treat you, but you can control how you relate to them, and how you treat yourself.

Now more than ever is a great time to practice self-nourishing. Make time to refill your cup every single day. You can't live your best life from a place of lack, overwhelm, or depletion. You can't be there for others when you feel exhausted. You can't change your circumstances without energy, inspiration, or motivation.


It's not selfish to fill your cup first. It's like they say on an airplane: put on your oxygen mask first; then help others with theirs. So figure out what your "oxygen mask" is, grab it, and put it on every single day, even if it's just for three minutes. Do it, because keeping yourself full enough to have a positive relationship with life is being self-aware, not selfish.

CURBING STRESS AND OVERWHELM

Here are a few of my favorite "oxygen masks" to give you some ideas:

  • nourishing movement such as yoga

  • inner listening such as meditation

  • singing

  • moving or dancing to favorite music

  • reading an inspiring book

  • watching an inspiring movie

  • a comforting bath

  • a conversation with a dear friend

  • a nature walk or sit

  • a long (or short) hike

  • creative play

  • working puzzles

  • creative writing

  • opening inner flow through journaling

  • creative visualization

I bet you can come up with some of your own. Whatever you do, devote yourself to doing something self-nourishing every single day. Everyone can find three minutes! Now more than ever before, this is essential. So stop "thinking about it" and just do it, because as I like to say...if you change nothing, nothing changes. Cheers!

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