Here are 3 reasons why people get stressed, the second two are reasons people usually don't know about until setting the intention to become consciously aware of them.
- Reason #1: Taking on too much - Is your plate too full? In this society there's a paradigm that says we never do enough, that we always have to take on more and that if we take care of ourselves first we are selfish. It is not selfish to take care of ourselves first and foremost. And if we are really doing what feels good to us, it will feel good to others too. In order to properly provide for others we need to take care of ourselves... and we need to be able to say no or delegate. It's a good rule to never say yes to something right away. Anyone can accept the answer "Let me check my schedule and I'll get back to you." It doesn't have to always be black and white either we can take on a portion of what someone else needs or get some support in sharing the task or responsibility.
We also need to watch out for taking on responsibility for how others feel. At a young age we learn to take on responsibility for others' emotions: remember hearing "If you do that I'll get angry at you." Keep in mind that acting and speaking with the highest integrity possible is your only responsibility... not how someone takes it or what their response is. If someone chooses to dwell on the negative or take things personally then that is their choice, and how they respond has nothing to do with you, even if they try and place blame or shame on you. When that happens they are trying to give their power away to someone else and when we take it on we're not only taking away their power but also giving our power away to them. When we take responsibility for someone’s happiness we enable them to continue reaching outside of themselves for their joy and strength. Perhaps they are having an actual loss over not having things go the way they expected and are taking out on you (maybe they need to see this stress assessment article!). When we stop trying to carry the heaviness of others' burdens and only take on what really does belong to us (full self care and a sense of integrity), what we have to carry is much, much lighter!
- Stress reason #2: Not acknowledging true feelings - Have you just had a loss of some sort? Maybe you're disappointed that something didn't go the way you had planned or hoped, maybe you don't have control over something you wanted to, and you're having a loss but it's showing itself as snapping at others, ordering others around, being impatient, frustrated or grumpy. Many times when we are stressed it is really because we are having a loss and we didn't stop to acknowledge it and allow ourselves to fully mourn it and process our feelings.
- Reason#3: Not taking care of your body - Is your physical body stressed? Did you know there is a delicate balance of bacteria and yeast in the gut that are thrown off balance when we don't eat enough veggies, or we eat sugary, starchy or white flour products? The villi that line the intestines take in and absorb nutrients from our food. They are coated with a protective layer of bacteria that fight pathogens, but these foods create an an excess of these microorganisms, preventing the villi from being able to properly take in the nourishment needed to build a healthy immune system.
Candida (yeast) overgrowth in the gut can cause stiff muscles and joints, headaches, migraines, sensitivity to light, constipation, diarrhea, recurring yeast infections and hundreds of other symptoms associated with autoimmune conditions like fibromyalgia, chrone's disease, and IBS, to name a few. Many doctors and nutritionists believe that if everyone stopped eating foods like wheat, dairy and sugar for a just few weeks a majority of the population would find that their bodies functioned much much better! These inflammatory foods could be the cause behind many ailments such as anxiety, depression, arthritis, ADD, acne and more.
In conclusion, stress can actually be a good thing in our lives to motivate us to change, if you are feeling anxious, overwhelmed or stressed stop and reflect on what might be the cause. You have more power than you realize to manage and cope with the natural (and sometimes dramatic) ups and downs life. Remember to look at how much you’re taking on, your hidden emotions cropping up from under the surface and your lifestyle habits like eating (or drinking) that may be the cause. Check out some of the journaling and imagery exercises on my blog page to develop a healthy routine for mitigating stress.