We have an epidemic in this society right now and are constantly casting blame outward for the overwhelming stress we feel. This epidemic is causing endless stress, anxiety, and depression. It has lead us to a life-style of self-medicating with alcohol, medications and prescriptions masking the pain we feel, while leaving us powerless.
Yet we can take our power back and be free from this worry and stress if we could simply accept it. And let it be.
What if you could just allow your feelings to be? You know, actually feel them, accept them as yours and let them be. I know that may seem unthinkable, as your little voice says, What if they never stop? Well, what if they do? You won’t ever know unless you attempt to walk through it.
Everything is temporary. Yet somehow once things get bad, you are certain it will be permanent and the new normal. But what if you are wrong?
“What we resist. Persists.”
So the more we avoid sitting in what is truly occurring in our mind and body, the longer it continues. It is critical that we allow ourselves and others to feel what we feel. If we don’t learn to simply be with what we are feeling, we can’t learn what to do with what we feel. And if we don’t learn what to do with what we feel, then we continue to do this running without getting anywhere.
“Everywhere where you go, there you are.”
This alone is literally killing us as a society. Moving from one place to the other, changing schools, jobs, relationships…running, running, running. And yet, it doesn’t make the madness stop. Until we can finally…stop.
A wonderful therapist once said, “If you feel the urge to run, be still…it will pass.”
It was a mantra he repeated often to the emerging adults he worked with that were working through addictive behaviors, but it stayed with me. In the moment it is hard to believe it will pass, yet if we can be still long enough, it usually does.
We need to sit in discomfort not just for the sake of being uncomfortable, but to teach our body and minds how to work through discomfort in order to get to the other side. But how? With some new tools, that’s how! Tools we can access from home or work. Tools we don’t need to get from the doctor, stores or the streets and tools that will help us live more peaceful lives.
Three of my favorite easy to reach tools:
1 – Headspace App. I LOVE this app. While I do not normally feel anxious during the day, every so often I get into bed and can feel my head spinning with the idea that it is time to solve all of the world’s problems. The app, which walks you through a 1-minute or even a 15-minute meditation, instantly makes me forget about anything I was worrying about. In addition to that, even when I feel calm and peaceful I listen to it before I go to sleep and notice it helps me sleep more peacefully too.
2 – Writing. Even if you are not a writer, even if you don’t care for writing, this is a researched and proven method that works! If you prefer your fingers tapping on the key board, pull out your laptop, if not, grab some paper, or maybe even a notebook and let it go. Write the date (it is always nice to remember another time when you were able to get through a challenging time) and just write it all down. Be honest and vulnerable and let it all hang out! It is amazing to experience anxiety slowly lift itself off your shoulders just by releasing it onto paper. But it works and will help you regain your power.
3 – Get Busy. If this stress or anxiety occurs during the day, sometimes all you need to do is get busy! Literally. Find a project, a room that needs organizing, someone that could use your help. If you find these feelings arise at work, get serious about your to-do list and do the hardest ones first. Often the physical motion of getting up and busying your mind with something else, is enough to settle your nerves as well.
If you want to be free from this stressful thing we call life…let’s lean in, accept what we feel as is, and then use healthy tools to soothe our souls and take back some power.