Does it feel you are continually rushing from one thing to the next?
Yet, despite your hurry and busyness, does your stress just seem to increase?
Maybe it even feels like you can never get on top of all there is to do, no matter how hard you try.
I’m sure you’ve heard stress gurus talking about needing to slow down, and maybe even re-think your priorities.
But, you wonder how to do that with the mountain of tasks before you, and so many people depending on you. It seems you don’t have time for stress management.
You’ve probably also been told that you need to focus only on those things that are important, and that you can control.
The big trouble with prolonged stress is that it becomes increasingly difficult to sort out what things you can control, what is important, and what you could actually let go of.
That’s because of the neuro-chemicals released into your system when you are super-stressed.
The Fight-Flight-Freeze Response
When you experience stress, the body releases a cascade of neuro-chemicals into your system. The purpose of those chemicals is to help you respond faster, think clearer, and be physically stronger.
That works really well when the stress is short term, and especially if you are dealing with a short-term physical threat, like escaping a saber-tooth tiger.
The trouble is that today pretty much all the stress we experience is long-term and almost entirely emotional or psychological.
You are probably stressed because there are too many things to do, and lots of complex relationships and situations to manage. You are not stressed because you are in actual physical danger.
So, with this kind of chronic stress, the neuro-chemicals backfire. You end up feeling tired, sluggish and muddle-headed.
Somehow, you need to find the off switch—a way to remind your body to stop making more stress chemicals.
The Power of Gratitude
Think about it— most times when you are stressed there is a “not enough” tape playing in the your head.
That tape insists you are not good enough, you are not doing enough, there isn’t enough time, you don’t have enough money, you are not good looking enough, and so on.
Gratitude is the gentle of opposite of “not enough”. And, interestingly, even just a small amount of gratitude might be enough to give your system the break it needs.
A little bit of gratitude may give you that breather that allows you to regain a bit of serenity, a bit of calm, a bit of relief.
Your gratitude practice can be super simple. All it involves is stopping, for a few seconds, to acknowledge the things you are grateful for.
Some people use a gratitude diary. Others say what they are grateful for out loud. Some tell another person or a spiritual being, while others simply think about the things they are grateful for. How you express your gratitude matters less than the act of doing it.
You can be grateful for the gentle rain, the pretty trees, the sunshine, your child’s smile, your comfortable home. Let yourself, for that short time period, feel the peace that comes with truly appreciating something.
If you can take these “gratitude breaks” a few times a day, within a few days you will probably find yourself feeling less rushed, and more “enough”.
When To Seek Help
For some, engaging in this kind of gratitude practice is easy and intuitive. Because they are able to do it, their stress levels go down, and they feel more at ease.
For others, this does not make a lot of sense. You may feel so stressed that gratitude feels like a meaningless phrase. There may be so many hard experiences and bad moments fuelling the “not enough” tape that you don’t know how to turn it down enough to get a breather.
If this is what is happening for you, it may be a time to get some help. Even though it may not feel possible right now, stress therapy can help you find lasting contentment and relief.
Feel free to look at all the great stress reduction resources on my website. When you are ready, call me or use the pop-up box to schedule a free consult.
I look forward to hearing from you!