Let’s stop being at war with ourselves…okay?

I got an invitation the other day to learn how to ‘conquer stress’. This came after reading an article about how to deal with the ‘trauma’ of midlife (eye-roll). I hear this so often. Beat overwhelm. Conquer stress. Kick fear to the curb. I keep thinking, let’s stop being at war with ourselves. OK?

As a life coach, I’m all for reducing stress and creating greater harmony for anyone and everyone. Nor am I criticizing anyone else’s good work or program. The point I am making is this. Words have power. Conquering, beating, and kicking what you don’t want in life might sound good, but these are fighting words. They put us at war with ourselves.  

Every emotion, including stress and overwhelm, serves a purpose. Stress is the check engine light on your body. You’re putting yourself at risk if you don’t give it the attention it needs. Some stress is necessary and helpful, like stepping out of the way of danger, but honestly how many of you or those you know are living in a constant state of stress and overwhelm?

What you resist persist. So, what if you put down the struggle?

Emotions are your personal GPS; your compass for navigating life but you have to be willing to feel and process them. They’re not good or bad, right or wrong, they’re simply your body’s response to what you think about a situation or circumstance. Reducing stress takes curiosity and total honesty with yourself about what you feel and why you’re feeling it. Why? Because thoughts are what create your feelings…your thoughts.

There’s no blame or judgment here. And please don’t go beating yourself up about what you didn’t know. This is the way the mind and body works. Most of us have no idea. I sure didn’t until I began my coaching journey. Understanding this is magic, an act of self-love, and allows you to take back your power and put yourself in charge of your life. It also lets everyone else off the hook for your happiness and fulfillment.

Is it easy? No. Is it worth it? Hell, yes!

Words matter. They shape the life you live. Thoughts are words you silently speak to yourself. Stress is an emotion that often comes from a sense of lack. Most of us feel stressed as a result of thinking we’re not enough, not good enough, not doing enough, or don’t have enough of something.

Instead of trying to conquer and muscle through it, what if you give yourself the time to just pause and notice it. Gently and lovingly give it your attention. Check-in with yourself. What are you thinking? How is that thought serving you? Let what you feel show you the way forward. What might you discover or change? Who would you be?

I want to leave you with this simple practice to bring you back into harmony when feeling stressed. Instead of trying to soldier through or press on, give yourself the gift of breath.

Pause. Notice what you feel. Take at least 5 long, slow, deep breaths in and out. Coming into the breath engages the parasympathetic nervous system and your body’s rest and digest response. Notice that you lack nothing at this moment. Connected to the breath brings you back to the body, to the present moment. Now, you’re prepared to see the next step more clearly, even it that means doing nothing at all.

From my heart to yours,

Check out my 2 part video series to help you Tap Into the Magic of Midlife and end the war with yourself. XO

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