Please read the full article on Elephant Journal.
Are you perpetually stressed out? A perfectionist? A workaholic?
Perhaps stress is so intertwined into your daily life that you hardly notice it anymore. Maybe when there’s not enough “natural” stress, you go about creating dramas or situations to up the stress level back to your “discomfort zone.”
While stress is a part of life, it doesn’t need to be the foundation of our way of being, which it surely is for many of us in modern society. I know it was true for me as a young adult. My stress blossomed into clinical depression and later anxiety and bipolar disorder. My stress stemmed from simply living in a culture that tells you to study hard, work hard, play hard, and buy lots of stuff.
For the past decade and then some, I’ve lived in a different culture, a slower-paced, more heart-centered than head-centered one. This sometimes means things are not logical and take forever to get done.
There is still stress in my life, but my stress level is way lower than it was 15 years ago. I can cope with the stresses in my life today. The fact that I was locked up in a psych ward 16 years ago this month seems like an alternate reality from a different lifetime.
So, I’m no longer maniacally stressed, just dealing with the everyday, typical stresses of midlife—aging parents, raising a child, working for a living, maintaining a healthy marriage, the grocery list. A utopian state of constant bliss and a total lack of stress would actually be rather dull, if it were even possible.
How does chronic stress manifest in our lives?
It’s true that chronic stress wreaks havoc on the body on many levels. Stress even kills by causing anxiety, insomnia, exhaustion, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, depression, weight gain, and more.
The good news is that our human bodies are quite capable of handling everyday stressors. With a low to moderate stress level, our well-being actually improves. In fact, moderate stress (as opposed to chronic) is said to enhance cognitive function, boost our immune system, and cultivate resiliency.
3 Simple Ways to Reduce Stress:
How do we let go of chronic stress—stress as a way of being—and embrace a more sustainable, relaxing, healthy, and happy alternative?