Guest Article by Michael Atma.
If you’re feeling tired, worn out, burnt out, and stretched in every direction, then you’re most likely one of the many people who are over-stressed. Make no mistake, if stress is left unattended, then it can have devastating consequences on our mind, body, relationships and quality of life.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. Most of us tend to think of stress as something negative or bad in our lives. The problem with that is that if we always think of stress as something that is negative, or not good for us, then we can become stressed out about being stressed which creates even more problems.
Stress can also be used as a stepping stone to turn a potentially negative energy in the mind and body into something positive and useful in our lives.
When we experience the feeling of stress or tension such as when we are going through a stressful time around money or a relationship, then the normal reaction is to tell ourselves that, ‘I have to relax.’ Then, when we try to relax it becomes almost impossible because we are trying to do the opposite of what our body is prepared for, which is fight or flight. So we just end up getting even more stressed because we can’t seem to relax and let it go.
That’s why, when we are feeling stressed, we can use it as creative energy to do something useful and positive in our lives. The first step to make this work is to accept the stress instead of trying to fight it. Stress is simply an indication that the body is responding to a situation and is getting ready to do something about it.
That’s why when we try to relax, it’s going against what the body is preparing for so we are in a sense fighting against our body to make it change. That takes a lot of energy and effort and won’t work if the body is not ready to relax. Instead, use the energy that arises from stress creatively. It’s already there, so rather than trying to change it, work with the energy by channeling it into something useful.
For example, if you’re worried about something when you go to bed and find it hard to sleep, instead of trying to relax and go to sleep, which most likely won’t happen anyway, use this energy in a creative way. The mind is saying that the body is ready to deal with the problem so get up and go for a walk, go for a run, do some stretches, write in your journal, or do something physical. Then relaxation happens naturally as the energy gets used up.
Rather than sitting on our stress until it boils over inside us and causes problems in our lives we need to see it as potential energy and use it as fuel to do something positive or productive so that the energy gets used up and we can relax naturally and deeply because the mind and body is ready to let go and relax.
This is how we can help stress to disappear of its own accord - just by not fighting with it and accepting it as what is happening for us in the moment. Then choosing to use the energy in a way that empowers us, so that we can naturally relax and be at peace without having to fight with our nature to do something it’s not yet ready to do.
Once you change your relationship to stress, that’s when the magic happens. If we see it as a bad thing that has to be gotten rid of, then we are really just judging a part of ourselves that we don’t fully understand. Once we see stress as an opportunity to use a powerful source of energy in the body, then the quality of relaxation that we experience will be deep and rejuvenating.
Michael Atma is a best-selling meditation and personal development author of Master Your Mindspace, which is a revolutionary fitness book for the mind. His books, seminars and online courses have touched the hearts and changed the lives of thousands of people seeking more happiness, health and fulfilment. Recently, he launched Mindspace.Club home to his Meditation Made Simple Program, where you can change your life in just 5-minutes a day. Find out more: Mindspace Club or check out Michael’s website.