Sometimes I wonder if a 100 years from now we will be looked at as the generation that was killed by stress. And that is kind of sad.
When we try to expect and imagine the outcome of our every decision and not let our emotions be truly felt, they sink into our soul and body like residue. This residue is called stress and is also exactly the reason why we cannot reach our highest potential in life. Emotions are what make us human. Ironically the one thing that makes us who we are, is also the only thing standing in our way to greatness.
Life is a pattern of moments. A giant cycle bound by time; emotions are the road blocks at each and every turn, and we are the vessels. We all go through it. We all have to experience these emotions. Pleasant or not, they are all meant to be felt but NOT held on to. You cannot go back and change the moments. You can only choose to accept the emotions you felt and move on to the next. Since being in control is in our nature, we do not tend to give in to what we are supposed to feel. We block our emotions most of the time . We hide them in the form of stress in our bodies. We over think the outcomes of every moment or worry about the future moments that are not ever present. What we do not realize is that we are letting stress take the wheels. We let our unfelt emotions rule our thoughts. And our thoughts are the nutrients of our mind. When our mind is clogged by all the extra emotions with nowhere to go, it uses the body as an outlet.
Believing in the unknown, living in the moment, choosing faith over fear and letting go of the things you cannot control are all cheat sheets to actually being in control. We start learning the patterns of life only when we stop fighting them. Because believe me, what rules the mind wins every time!
Below are 10 Places Stress is winning in our lives:
- Our relationship with food: Food is our fuel. We learned that very early on. As a matter of fact, it is part of our survival and natural instincts as human beings. But somehow somewhere along the way, we messed it all up. Our fuel got poisoned and left our bodies with the most cruel internal war. Some say it was overpopulation, high demands, limited food and resources, and our need to speed things up no matter what it does to the quality component. This debate is not related to this post so I’ll stop ranting. However, the outcome of what our food industry has become is the spotlight of why we cannot enjoy what we eat anymore. We went from survival instincts to counting calories and drinking our food like hospital patients, because we want it fast, easy, preferably cheap and we want it to fill us up without making us sick. So the joy factor is out of the equation, and stress became a mandatory side dish! I got some news for you, FOOD IS NOT THE MAIN PROBLEM, STRESS IS! Counting calories is stressful. Eating crappy fast food on the way to work because you just need to scratch a meal off your to do list is stressful to your body. Food was created to bring pleasure to our bodies. The food we eat is the fuel to our biological and chemical reactions that keep our body functioning. The emotions we feed our mind through the act of eating makes up the entire outcome of the digestion of food. Food and emotions go hand in hand. Have you ever been able to eat when you were extremely upset, beyond mad or just exhausted? Chances are you either said “Heck no, I just wanna be left alone.” or “Heck Yeah like I could eat a cow and 3 gallons of ice creams!” Do you see the connection?
- Sleep cycle: We sleep with stress the mistress every night! Aside from all the tips to getting a good night’s sleep, you cannot shut off your mind if you are not letting go of all the emotions you felt throughout the day. If you catch yourself pondering, chances are you will start over thinking everything you have done since you were 9 years old. Let it all go. When the sun went down, so did all of your chances to change the course of your life. Night time is time to turn it all off and wait for a new sunrise and a whole lot of new beginnings.
- Intimacy: Intimacy is when two individuals are drawn to each other in a way that no longer can be felt by staying in their personal bubbles. No matter how selfish the argument of intimacy can get these days, it has always been about letting go and being vulnerable. The outcome is pure pleasure, our reboot button. Sometimes pleasure comes from eating delicious food, watching our favorite show, or even playing sports, but the most pure and critical has always been intimacy. However, it is no longer about pleasure because we bring our unresolved emotions into the bedroom. We stress over how we look and how well we perform and please that we forget what intimacy is for.
- Social Life: Human nature loves to stand out but also to fit in. We all like to be loved and favored in the society. However some of us take this to the next level and stress builds up as a result. It is good to be the life of the party or the one everyone looks up to, but don’t let this consume you and become your main goal. Society was made for us to share our stories and help each other but sadly it has turned into a gun with stress as its bullets!
- Holidays and Family gatherings: I think every one of us can agree that holidays or “family in town” is associated with headaches in our lives these days. Unfortunately we forgot what they are for, when we let the stress of whose-turkey-tastes-better-this-year or who-is-getting-a-better-gift and even what-is-our-excuse-for-still-being-single take over. Family gatherings and Holidays are times to be thankful and reflect on how far you have come!
- Special occasions: Birthdays, weddings, showers, boys and girls nights are all filled with so much fun and joy. That is what they are for. Don’t stress instead of celebrating! Enjoy the moment and let go of what you cannot control. If your wedding cake tastes like bacon instead of lavender, learn to laugh about it. If you are on a girls night out, try to have fun and let it all go. If your birthday outfit is 2 sizes bigger this year, it is probably because you stressed over having the most amazing birthday in town that even Kylie Jenner gets jealous. Girl, blow those candles and make some memories instead of wishes!
- Traveling and Vacation time: This one is a no brainer! We all do it. How many of us have come back from a vacation even more stressed because the whole time we were thinking about our to do list waiting for us at home? Keep focusing on those toes in the water, and live in the moment instead.
- Exercise: There are two different ways we stress our bodies with exercise. One is when we strive to look a certain way. So we forget that exercise is a tool that helps our body function in a better way. Appearance is the cover of our body not the quality of it. The other area exercise causes stress to build up in our body, is when we over do it. The most stressed athletes are cross fitters, marathon runner, and triathletes. They put so much pressure on their bodies that instead of seeing benefits from exercise, they get hurt. When was the last you enjoyed exercising? When was the last time you looked forward to physical activity? Stressing over something that is supposed to be enjoyable is not going to make this life easier! Choose the activities you enjoy, and get out there as much as you desire.
- School: School is a place for us to get educated on general or specific subjects. We need to learn how to read, speak, calculate in order to live in the society. Then there are some of us that choose to learn specific subjects to become experts in those field. That sounds really easy and exciting but when you have a broken education system that will leave you in debt up to your neck, stress is inevitable. However, you can shift the way you learn and choose the fields you love. I knew someone who quit medical school on his last few months of residency because he was not becoming who he wanted to be. Today he is a very well-known missionary in Africa doing what he loves with NO STRESS.
- Career: Career and education go hand in hand. All I can tell you is that if you’re constantly on social media and the internet and it has nothing to do with your job duties for the day, you are not in the right place. When you love what you do, you give it all. If you follow your passions, you will not be let down. There are no accidents or coincidences in life, only signs and directions. If scooping ice cream on an island, writing a book about multiple universes, building orphanages in under developed countries sound like your dreams, I hope you never stop pursuing them. You are in control of your life. Don’t let your mind block your emotions and dreams because they sound less “acceptable” in this society. That is when stress wins. Big. Time!
Next, I will be posting about Stress and Cortisol Levels to show you what it actually does inside the body!
Sweet Escape Project