How You Handle Stress Depends On What You Do In Between Stressful Moments

After multiple delays, the airline says the flight’s cancelled.

Your car breaks down just before a long-anticipated road trip.

That big project you toiled over didn’t go over so well with your boss.

Your husband tells you he wants a divorce.


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It can hit you out of the blue and rock your world. But it doesn’t have to bring you to your knees.

In this article, I want to talk about stress—why we experience it and how you can keep it from overwhelming your life.

Yes, even in the midst of terrible news, you can get a grip on your stress.

Understanding Stress: Your Body’s Natural Response To Unwelcome Situations

If a hungry bear is coming towards you, your body immediately sends a stress signal to your system that tells you to “run!” This is a good thing when it comes to survival instincts.

But it also happens in less severe circumstances, when you anticipate one thing happening and instead, you experience something else:

Your guests arrive half an hour early, and the main entree is burnt.

The school nurse calls to tell you your kid got hurt.

Your lab results reveal a scary diagnosis.

You think that what is happening shouldn’t be happening, and you experience resistance and press against what’s actually occurring.

This creates a reverberation of energy in your system that initiates a fight or flight response in the body. The body kicks off the exact same life-saving responses, as if a bear was actually chasing you.

When this happens, your system doesn’t know the difference between you actually being chased by a bear, or just being upset with what you thought was going to happen but didn’t.

Your dashed plans for your dinner party mean you have to come up with something else, and quick.

You need to drop what you’re doing to run to school, and your heart pounds with fear for your kid.

You’re so fit and healthy, you’re NOT supposed to get a chronic disease.

And that’s not all.

Stress can also come from an unresolved emotional memory of a “bear” or unwanted/life-threatening situation you encountered years ago.

Maybe a song reminds you of an old flame who really broke your heart, or the news of someone being in an accident throws you back into the scene of the one you survived years ago.

If you are triggered into the memory, your system can respond to something that occurred five years ago as if it’s still occurring.

The Results Of Prolonged Stress In Today’s Modern World: “Run For Your Life!”

In today’s hectic society, oftentimes too many “bears” happen all at once, and our system becomes so overwhelmed that it shuts down. The final and lasting message we receive is, “run for your life!”

Your system is now running for its life—day after day, week after week, month after month, perhaps even year after year.

The effects of stress pile on you like compound interest. You can’t find your keys and you’re already late for work: stress. You get into the office to find a stack of items that need to be dealt with yesterday: stress. Your mother needs to you to run an errand today: stress.

Our system isn’t designed to endure that kind of prolonged stress; so the adrenal glands, which have been constantly pumping adrenaline into your system so you can run from that “bear,” begin to exhaust.

When this happens, the thyroid kicks in, trying to help with what the adrenal glands are no longer able to do, and pretty soon your whole hormonal system is unbalanced.

Byproducts of this are:

  • Sleeplessness: We don’t sleep at night, because the body doesn’t want to drop into a deep restful sleep if it thinks that a bear is breathing down our neck.
  • Overeating: Instead of being able to manage the stress that’s occurring, to override it and not have to experience it, we reach for foods that are comforting but unhealthy, or we eat stressfully.
  • Addiction: We might divert, or deflect, or become addicted to any number of things, whether it’s alcohol, or drugs, or shopping, or thinking, or over-analyzing life.
  • Premature Aging: The chemicals of stress acidify the body and cause premature aging. We become exhausted and begin to have cellular breakdown in the body. It’s been proven that stress even shrinks the brain.

As you can see, stress has long-term detrimental effects, aside from just making you feel out of control in the moment. It’s clear that if you want to take care of yourself—body, mind, and spirit—you need to learn how to better deal with the animal that is stress.

3 Ways To Get A Grip On Stress: It All Starts With Cultivating Trust

If you look at all the times you are stressed, you will find one common theme: all of your stress-induced symptoms occur whenever you’re unable to have a trusted relationship with “the way things were going.” In other words, you didn’t like what was happening in your life, and you thought it shouldn’t be happening at all!

We have to develop the trusted relationship with the world, trusting that what is happening in my life is not happening to me, it’s happening through me, and happening for me, to awaken to my greatness.

Can you see how different it feels—and how you would show up in life—if you believed that even the seemingly awful stuff is happening for your highest good, and to evolve you into the person you’re meant to be?

Yes, we must have trust that even catastrophes in life are actually divinely orchestrated.

When we no longer perceive a certain situation as bad or wrong, there’s no stress—just trust. Instead of wasting precious energy lamenting what is happening and how wrong it is, we can instead open up and allow for the possibility that life is actually working out for the best.

Now, you may be thinking, “This makes sense. I want to trust. I want to be okay no matter what happens. But it’s really hard!”

While it may seem impossible to get centered and trust in the universe when things are seemingly falling apart, I’m going to show you how.

In order to shift from a resisting, distrustful state to one of acceptance and trust, we must employ a few easy tactics:

  1. Ask “Am I really okay in this moment?”—Whatever is taking place in your life, or whatever worries you’re carrying, stop and evaluate in that moment, are you ok? What will happen is the subconscious mind will answer, “Yes, in this particular moment, right here, sitting here right now, I’m actually okay.”
  2. Ask again—If we can get the subconscious to recognize that in this moment you’re ok, then a few moments later ask the question again, “In this moment, am I okay?” When we begin to check in this way periodically throughout the day, we start to send a message to the subconscious mind saying “all is well.” Regardless of what is taking place, in that moment, you are ok.
  3. Squeeze and Breathe—You can use your breath and the muscles in your core and in your heart to instantly anchor your body and get connected to the part of you that intuitively knows everything is going to be okay.

When you practice these techniques—which I demonstrate in my program Energy For Life—you’re eliciting a response in the body that calms everything down. The breath is bringing you closer to the core of your body, where you can pick up enough power to drop into a feeling of security and a greater sense of self and presence.

By doing these three steps during a stressful moment, the subconscious begins to register again and again the feeling of, “I’m okay.”

This begins to clean the slate, so that we can start to have a new creative and life-affirming idea come forward instead of continually reacting as though our life depends upon things going the way we think they should go.

Instead of resisting, we begin to TRUST what is taking place around us and allow our life, and our energy, to flow with ease.

Establishing A Foundation Of Trust As A Way Of Life So That Stress Can’t Throw You Off

When you consciously cultivate a sense of trust that life is unfolding for you, and you ground yourself in your body, then you’re equipping yourself to handle whatever life throws at you.

This is why a ritual of self-care is crucial.

Developing a practice for yourself so it becomes ingrained when the stress rises is important, because what you do in a stressful moment depends on what you do in the in-between moments.

In my program Energy For Life, you’ll learn calisthenics exercises and breathing techniques—including the squeeze and breathe method I mentioned in step 3 above.

These will allow you to create a baseline of trust and anchoring in the body so that living in this calm, peaceful state becomes second nature to you—no matter what’s going on around you.

By doing these practices regularly in between the stressful moments, the stressful moments are actually perceived as less stressful.

This means that your body won’t go into the fight or flight response. It means you’ll be able to sleep better and wake up more rested, which means you’ll have more focus and energy to handle whatever you need to.

This program is borne out of my own daily practice to achieve amazing levels of energy and that I’ve taught to thousands of people around the world—including yoga teachers and medical practitioners:

Calm The Stress Beast

The bear is really only ever in your mind. You can learn to feel grounded and rested even in the most challenging times so you can do what you need to do to take care of things—starting with yourself.

With Great Love,

Sue Morter

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