Living Beyond Chronic Pain Part 2 – 5 Ways to Manage Your Stress
You can find a life living beyond chronic pain. I’ve listed below 5 effective ways to manage your stress.
Shift from Unconscious to Conscious Breathing
We all know how to breathe. We do so unconsciously and we are so blessed to have this ability. Yet, there is great power in us learning to use the breath as a conscious activity. When we are calm, we breathe more deeply and slowly than we do when we are stressed. As we feel the pressures of life, we tend to shorten and even hold our breath altogether when we are startled or feel threatened.
The heartbeat follows the breath. When we experience stress in our world, our breath quickens and becomes shallower. Our heartbeat follows suit, speeding up and becoming more erratic. Then we feel this as increased chaos and discomfort in the body and we wonder, what happened? When we bring consciousness to our breathing, we can calm ourselves deeply and bring the heartbeat back into its normal calmer rhythm.
So, take a breath. No matter what’s happening right now in your life, when you bring consciousness to your breathing, you keep yourself grounded and centered, more apt to respond than get lost in reactivity. A slow, deep conscious breath in and out, repeated four or five times, will serve you very well.
Time Shifting and Slipping Out of the Now
We have a tendency to live in the nostalgic past or to project into the future and miss the present moment. The present moment offers us the space of sweet surrender and acceptance, and liberates us from the burdens f the past and our ties to an expected outcome. We close the door to possibility when we step out of the present moment.
When we surrender and accept life, as it is right here, right now, in front of us and release the things that are no longer serving us, we open and allow ourselves the space to shepherd in something new and beautiful. When we can fully trust ourselves, and trust in the Divine to guide us along the journey, we realize that we are already receiving miracles. Step into the sweet surrender, let go and release yourself into the flow of life. Let its current take you. What can you let go of today that will allow you to step into your most magnificent self?
Judgment – Judging Others, Judging Ourselves, Judging the Moment
When we judge others, we’re moving into blame and dropping responsibility for our part. When we judge ourselves, we do not allow ourselves to be human and fallible. When we judge the moment as good or bad, we miss the space of surrendering to what is in the moment, to what is happening right now.
Drop Your Resistance and Find the Flow
In life, we tend to resist anything that we judge as uncomfortable. The irony lies in that with our resistance, we make the uncomfortable even stronger. For instance, when I broke my arm, I felt a LOT of sensation in my arm. My tendency is to judge that as bad, well beyond the fact that the body is trying to tell me it’s hurt. As I waited for help, I realized I was resisting all the sensation. I was actually pushing against it. I stopped. I took a breath and allowed all the sensation to be what it was. As I stopped pushing against the sensation, I felt its intensity drop. When we resist, it grows; when we accept, it flows.
We can turn away and get mad and blame whoever or whatever for our plight in life – or – we can turn into ourselves and witness all that is arising within us. Feel the waves of energy, the pulsing, and all the other sensations coursing throughout the body. Healing is work that takes its own time. We turn away from the truth at our peril, I believe. When we fail to see what is squarely in front of us, here in this moment, we miss the opening of allowing what the moment offers. We miss the chance to do the work at hand. When we take a pill, or blame someone else, or distract ourselves in some other way from the bare truth of the ‘now’, we dig ourselves down even deeper into our inner unresolved turmoil, make even more work for ourselves, and just add to our barriers to healing.
I hope you find these stress management tools useful. Please leave a comment below to share with us what works for you in living a more peaceful life. We’d love to hear from you!
Stay tuned for Part 3 of this series next week!
I invite you to grab your free toolkit to help manage your stress.