How can you get out of your mind? Taking better care of ourselves is a process of shifting our perceptions, knowing more about ourselves so we learn what we need, and of course actually doing it. It sounds like a lot of work, and yes there is some effort involved in this, but most of what you need is the desire and the commitment to feel better. When we are living under stress, the last thing we think of is taking care of ourselves, yet what we need the most at that time is exactly that.
Stress and stressors
These days we are constantly connected via our devices and we are never really “unavailable.” Our mind is in a million places and we are on chronic alert for what comes next, what did we miss, or what is there still to be done. Essentially, we live like our ancestors except our stress is far more self-induced. Our ancestors lived under chronic fear of survival; we live under chronic fear of suffering.
Yes, suffering. So many of our habits are based on finding pleasure and avoiding pain. We are no longer struggling with basic survival issues, at least not most of us. We might be struggling to pay the rent, we might be afraid of failing, even annoyed that the internet is not fast enough when we have a deadline, but that is still not basic survival. These are all valid concerns, but we have choices in how we handle these threats and that is what helps us feel capable instead of fearful.
It is our perception of danger that creates most of the stress in our daily life! In modern life, generally speaking, actual danger is not hanging over us 24/7. However, we perceive it as such when we are suffering with performance pressure and then we end up living under chronic stress. Under stress, we tend to live with a narrow perspective, because we only see the problem. This is part of our fight and flight survival skill, but when we are trying to be productive that is actually not helpful, it is just stressful.
Stress disconnects us from not only our bodies but also from ourselves and we end up living in a mind-state that is not present, not in the moment. We feel separate from others and the community we have around us. When we are living in stress, we abandon our Self and we feel alone in the fight to survive. We might end up stress eating, shopping, drinking, or binging on TV to find some pleasure. The point is, we try to avoid the pain and find pleasure. It is what we do as human beings, it is part of our nature. However, what we need is to slow down, practice mindfulness, and self-care.
So what do I suggest?
We get stress from fear, which are the things we think we cannot handle or will not get done; we don’t actually get stress from just simply being busy. It is the way we think that causes us to be stressed out!
To counter stress you need to get yourself out of the stories of fear and come into the present moment of being ok right now. 90% of our everyday thoughts are repeats from the day before, and if they are thoughts of what is not working, thoughts of fear, and thoughts of self-judgment, your stress will increase. Below are a few things to consider next time you are feeling stressed:
- Take a moment to just consider what causes you stress on a daily basis. Think of it as your fears, not the actions of what you are doing.
- Consider the imminent danger you are in right now versus the perceived danger of “what could happen if?”
- Bring your attention from your head (thinking) into your body (feeling.) Use your breath to bring your focus into your belly. See if you can re-focus your attention from your thinking mind to your breathing belly.
- Keep moving the focus from your thoughts into the belly every time the thoughts pop up. If you have a hard time doing this sitting still then go for a walk, do something physical, or get out in nature.
Mindfulness, self-care, and stress
One of the things that happen when we live under chronic stress is that we don’t take time out to care for ourselves, recharge, and recover. We might not even get our sleep; you need your 7-8 hours of sleep! We don’t take time out for meals; you need food to thrive!
Your nervous system needs the down-time and it actually helps you be more on your game, productive, and thinking clearly! Mindfulness helps you slow down and even if you feel that you don’t have time to slow down, that is probably the very thing that will give you more time.
Recent studies show that meditation actually helps you be more productive, yet you think you did not have time for it, right?
What will it take?
What will it take for you to start practicing self-nourishment? What will it take for you to give yourself permission to have some downtime, some time out to connect with not only those around you, but also nature and your Self? I started my own journey about 26 years when I first came to the United States, because I felt lost and confused. I needed to not only find myself; I needed to even get to know myself. Although I was practicing meditation and self-awareness, I still got sucked into the busyness of the business I was in and it took another traumatic event to stop me in my tracks and once again reconsider my choices. My choice to leave my career and enter the business of being of service was because of having learned first hand how stress had ruled my life-choices. Losing my parents, 9/11, and other losses during a short period of time was a turning point that made me realize I needed to live differently. Even though I had to make some very big changes, I wanted to be part of the solution to live a better more nourished life, and help other people find their way.
Take the time
Plan time so you can have time for you to just spend a while without thinking about time, and enjoy those moments that you can disconnect to reconnect with you! (Yes that is a hypnotic way of giving you a suggestion so that your unconscious and conscious mind can agree to give you some time that matters.
Struggling with cravings and always feeling hungry?
Do you feel like you are constantly on a diet, but nothing changes? My book “EAT TO FEEL FULL and nourish yourself for good” helps you leave dieting behind and start eating in a way that helps you feel satisfied, nourished and full, without the restrictive ways of dieting. You can get the book on Amazon and in the Path for Life Store.