- A physical or psychological stimulus that can produce mental tension or physiological reactions that may lead to illness.
- The physical pressure, pull, or other force exerted on one thingby another; strain.
How many times in a day do you use the word stress? A lot more than I bet you think you do. I hear people talk about stress all the time…being stressed out, having so much stress, not needing more stress. Look at the definitions of stress at the top of this post. We are allowing outside forces to make physical changes in our bodies–sometimes to the extremes of heart disease, cancer, obesity, and addictions. Something outside of ourselves puts us under so much pressure, so much strain, that our bodies’ coping mechanisms can no longer function and our bodies fall victim. It’s awful! I’m not saying it’s not real. I’m saying it’s an epidemic and it’s chronic. And I think we can all do a little something to lesson our own symptoms of stress.
First–look at the word. Be aware of when you say it. Our thoughts, our words, and our actions create our lives. Stop saying any version of the word stress. Find another word. Stress is ugly and dangerous. Let’s skip from the dictionary to the thesaurus and see what we find (I love doing this–they’re my two favorite tools):
Stress (verb) Synonyms: burden, force, overextend, tense
Can you substitute one of these words when you would typically say stress? Do you want to? How many things in our day are we allowing to burden us, to overextend us, to create tension in our bodies, our relationships, or our finances? What can we say no to? What can take the back seat to our own peace of mind, our own health, our own fun-loving spirit?
There are pressures and challenges in life–no doubt! In order to learn and grow and achieve we need to push through, to overcome, to bust our butts. That’s all positive! If we knew our life challenges were going to result in nothing but illness, exhaustion, and lack of joy, would we make different choices?
The next time you say the word stress, think about the energy attached to that and what you’re sending out into the world. Whatever it is that is stressing you out, think of how it’s going to aide in your growth, or ultimately bring you more happiness. See if that changes the light around whatever it is that is pushing you off your path and distorting your natural state. Offer gratitude for the opportunity and ask for protection and guidance.
There are many tools available to help you manage the moments when you’re overcome by the sensation of stress. Deep breathing, stepping into nature, hydrating your body, exercise, journaling, petting an animal…find whatever it is that works for you and incorporate that in to your life. You make room for the pressure, make room for the release.
Being stressed to the max does not make you more productive, efficient, important, or valuable. It makes you sick. And unpleasant. And unfulfilled. Make a different choice.