No doubt we can all remember those too often moments at work when we were expected to do what no human could possibly accomplish. And they wanted it done yesterday. It seemed insurmountable and we’d go home fraught with nerves. Our teeth would clench with the stress, our jaws clamped and tight. The next day, these stresses and feelings of anxiety would invariably be there waiting for us, taking little time to swirl around and relentlessly feed our hopelessness, bitterness, and inner trauma.
Day in and day out, we spend much of our time lost in thoughts coloured in darkness, stress, and negativity. We’re swallowed by that throat-clenching heartache, fear or anguish which combine to feed our stress and anxiety. Sometimes, we’re able to pull ourselves out of it. But at other times, those feelings that brought us down decide to hang around, pulling us further below.
Many of us are caught on this treadmill of darkness and we become consumed by thoughts of negativity which feed our feelings of stress and anxiety. It’s like we’re on autopilot, simply interpreting and re-interpreting in accordance with our beliefs and fears. There is little chance of stepping outside our perspective. Someone says “Isn’t it a beautiful day?” and our response is a reference to how “it’s not going to last” or how “it’s still really cold” or “it’s too hot” and just simply not enough. Before we know it, our negativity affects what we do and soon, it just becomes normal to go on thinking that way. Ultimately, it comes to reflect how we go forward in our lives—our destiny.
With all these negative emotions taking control, we’ve now entered “survival-mode.” Our bodies are under stress and our evolution has ensured we respond accordingly. There’s nothing wrong with it and it’s actually a necessary response. If we were walking in the woods and we heard branches breaking behind us, our feelings of stress would rise and would soon trigger our “fight-or-flight” response. We would quickly turn around, only to realise it was just a tree falling. We relax, maybe laugh with relief, and then go back to normal. The problem is that sometimes our feelings of stress are never relaxed by a fight, nor a flight response to safety. We are never relaxed because the “danger” remains. Survival-mode emotions simply hang around and we are in a constant state of stress.
So, our problem is now living in survival-mode, that is, in constant stress. And this brings with it very real problems. Anything from chest pain and fatigue or stomach upset and sleep problems. At its worst, it can lead to depression.
Turning the Page
So, how do we get out of survival-mode and the feelings of constant stress and anxiety that accompanies it? One of the techniques is to find a way to connect with yourself. Listen to your body. It may be saying loud and clear what it needs. How healthy is your diet? Are you getting enough sleep? Just take a moment and listen.
Take time to connect with others in your life, be it a loved one or friends you’ve been too busy to contact. Sit down and give them a ring. Make a date to meet. Don’t forget exercise or other relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, tai chi, or deep breathing. We can also take some time to enjoy a hobby or perhaps reading a book. These are all methods we can use to relax and bring down the levels of stress in our lives.
There’s a saying that’s been attributed to different people, one of whom being Buddha. And it goes,
The thought becomes the word,
The word manifests as the deed,
The deed develops into the habit,
Habit hardens into character,
Character gives birth to destiny.
So watch your thoughts with care,
And let them spring from love
Born out of respect for all beings.
There are ways to think positively.
So the next time some negative thought enters your mind, reach up and catch it before it can turn the key and open the door of your heart to unnecessary stress and anxiety. It may not always be easy, but it is well worth your time to look on the bright side every now and then.