tress comes from anxiety, fear, guilt, and pressure; it is basically an inability to cope accompanied by a deteriorating sense of self-worth. Stress erodes confidence and causes illness and self-destructive behavior. Stress indicates a state of anxiety, frustration, and fear, which can sometimes lead to an unexplainable sense of terror.
How Do You Cope With Stress?
Stress is the opposite of calm. Stress is the opposite of relaxation. The inability to cope with stress directly affects our sense of well-being and our happiness.
Physical results of stress show up in a thousand different ways. It causes headaches, earaches, toothaches, chest pains, palpitations, skin rashes, and butterflies in the stomach. Stress makes us hold our breath or breathe unevenly, gives us indigestion and diarrhea, or causes constipation. Stress leads to an inability to speak coherently and remember basic facts, and a fatigue that is not in proportion to our workload.
Sometimes stress causes us to lose our appetite and makes it hard for us to concentrate. We are easily distracted and often overreact to people and events. The worst effect of stress is behavioral. Stress makes us negative in our attitudes and in our emotional reactions to others. It causes us to lose our patience, to become angry and short-tempered.
Stress is one of the most self-destructive phenomena of the modern living environment, and unless we learn to cope effectively with stress and its effects, nothing we do will ever be much fun or give us any real satisfaction.
Test Yourself: What Causes You to Feel Stress?
Your journey into self-discovery must take account of the stress level under which you operate. Look within to see what causes you to feel stressed. Consider the following stress-inducing situations, and see if anything is causing you anxiety.
1. Are you feeling inadequate at work?
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2. Are you feeling inadequate in your love life?
3. Do you compare yourself unfavorably with your peers?
4. Are you dissatisfied with your marriage?
5. Are you having a problem at work?
6. Are you having problems in a relationship?
7. Is someone you love chronically ill?
8. Are you having cash-flow problems?
9. Are you in danger of losing your job?
10. Have you just been fired?
11. Are you feeling dissatisfied with life for no reason at all?
12. Are you feeling bored?
13. Are you finding it hard to cope with your work?
14. Do you feel stuck in a stress cycle?
15. Are you hiding a terrible secret?
16. Are you suffering from a secret addiction?
17. Is there something in your life that is causing you resentment?
18. Are you desperately afraid of something?
19. Have you made a promise you cannot fulfill?
In attempting to dissect the causes of stress in your life, you will also come to recognize your level of stress tolerance. Different people have different levels of tolerance. Invariably the cause of all stress can be reduced to three sources:
1. People around you who cause you to become emotionally stressed.
2. External events that cause you to become physically stressed.
3. Lifestyle-related issues that cause you to be psychologically stressed.
If you examine these three main causes of stress, you will see that they all have to do with the way your mind reacts. It is the mind that is the root of all stress. You cannot change people's behavior toward you, you cannot change the events that happen, and you cannot change the physical circumstances in which you find yourself. But you can change your responses and your reactions to them.
The key to dealing successfully with stress starts with pinpointing the root of stress. Everything that causes us to feel stressed comes from the mind. Guilt, pressure, ego, vanity, ambition, frustration, and fear -- they all originate in the mind. There are many different ways to transform the mind and cope with stress.
Five Sure Ways to Cope with Stress
First, we generate a sense of mental calmness. We slow down our reaction to people, events, and circumstances that cause us stress. For example, each time something stimulates anxiety and makes us reach for the phone, we immediately put the phone back in the cradle, count to ten, and give ourselves a day to respond.
Second, we learn to reverse the negatives in our life. For example, we can reverse our view of everyone who causes us stress in our lives. Think of all the difficult people currently causing you grief as wish-fulfilling jewels brought into your life for you to practice patience and tolerance. Think of every setback as a blessing in disguise. This is the process of transformation that operates simultaneously at the mental, intellectual, and even spiritual consciousness levels. Do not expect instant success -- it takes time.
Third, try some physical relaxation methods. Start with deep breathing exercises. Learn some basic exercises. Take up simple yoga or chi kung, or learn a few stretching exercises that can relieve you of physical aches and pains. You will be surprised how effective a simple exercise regimen can be in reducing your stress levels. Once a week have a body massage concentrating on the shoulders, the neck, and the back. Once a month have a reflexology massage, and occasionally treat yourself to the full works -- aromatherapy, Bach remedies, mineral therapy, homeopathy, a complete detoxification, and a full pampering regime. When you look after your body, it looks after your mind!
Fourth, create powerful and positive affirmations. Think up short, powerful statements that continually enhance your confidence, build you up, and convince you of positive outcomes. Then write them out, stick them in places where you can see them, and most important, repeat them like mantras in your head over and over again until you believe your own rhetoric. Be very selective in your choice of words. Craft your sentences carefully. Use the present tense. Use only positive words. Make them believable.
Fifth, try mental and creative visualization exercises. Picture yourself happy and relaxed, lying on a beach, or going for a walk. Images have the power to convey moods and nuances. Pictures will add powerful energy to all your words. Say to yourself, "Every day in every way, I am getting better and better at everything I do."
Ten Sure Ways To Relax
1. Grip your hands very tightly so that your fingers dig deep into your palms and then let go. Feel the release of tension.
2. Tighten your forehead, close your eyes, and contort your face into an ugly frown. Keep frowning until you can't go any further and then release. Feel the tension lift instantly
3. Stretch your arms out horizontally so they are parallel with the ground. Stretch them far out until you cannot stretch anymore. Then relax and feel your body relax.
4. Place your palms flat against a wall and then push. Keep pushing until you cannot push anymore, and then release. Feel your arms relax.
5. Open your mouth as wide as you can and make it into a big O. Then close it. Feel your facial muscles relax.
6. Rub your hands together until they warm up, then place them flat against your face. Close your eyes and feel the relief.
7. Lie on your back and put your feet up. Feel the blood rushing to your head.
8. Lie completely flat with your back to the floor and systematically flex and release every part of you. Start at the feet and move up through the legs, to the face, and even your scalp. Feel tension drain out of you completely.
9. While lying on your back, breathe in through your nostrils slowly and deeply. Feel your abdomen expanding like a balloon. Then slowly breathe out through your mouth and feel your abdomen flattening like a balloon, releasing air. Visualize fresh, energizing chi flowing in; and stale, stagnant chi flowing out.
10. While lying on your back, close your eyes and begin to daydream. Think pleasant thoughts, and then visualize a positive outcome to something you are working on at the moment. Smile happily to yourself.
Discover Yourself: Understand Your Mind, Know Your Body, Nuture Your Spirit, Realize Your Potential
by Lillian Too.
Reprinted with permission of the publisher, Hay House, Inc. ©2002. www.hayhouse.com
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About the Author
After graduating with an MBA from the Harvard Business School in the USA, Lillian Too embarked on a corporate career and became the first woman in Malaysia to head a public listed company. In 1982 she became the first woman in Asia to be appointed CEO of a Bank. Today, Lillian Too is the world's number one selling writer on Feng Shui. She has authored over 48 best selling books on the subject, which have been translated into 27 languages. Lillian is also the founder and chairman of WOFS.com, a feng shui merchandising and franchise company, and the Lillian Too Certified Consultants Institute, which runs correspondence courses and certification programs in feng shui. Visit her website at www.lillian-too.com