Stress, in one single word, a range of emotional ick is evoked. The emotional umbrella of stress is the perfect storm of overwhelm, panic attacks, disconnection, worry, fear, doubt, self-sabotage, resistance, resentment, full out and wide open leaving no one behind. Spend a day with stress and spend your waking and sleeping hours dipping in sharp chest pains, shortness of breath, preoccupation, headaches, and exhaustion. A catalyst to a more peaceful existence is stress itself, it becomes our personal change agent.
1. We create our thoughts
We all have stress, gnawing, taunting, pulling at us, propelling us into a vicious cycle of emotional pain. Not only do we all have stress, but I choose to exert additional energy comparing my level of stress to others, catching myself saying, "What do they have to worry about, they're not contending with _____!" Holding myself higher on an undisclosed rank because I perceived myself as having more on my plate, my internal measuring stick clearly in action bringing to me heaps of emotional pain and suffering. Equally gnawing was an awareness that stress in its entirety, did not change my situation of going through a divorce, raising two kids, earning my Master's while birthing a business. Thoughts provoking a sensation of stress, compounded my experience, ultimately, attracting more scarcity into my life. I was creating stress by keeping thoughts rooted in overwhelm, instead of giving myself space to asses my situation. In addition any action other than "plowing through" I judged myself as weak, because it somehow meant I wasn't doing it right. Branching off a fear of committing to goals, relationships, love, friendships, was an emerging foundation in thought supporting my emotional hopelessness, feeding my overwhelm in stress. Heightened sensitivities, further isolation, disconnection, lack of faith, aloneness, became the commitment I was making. Emotional responsibility comes when we realize that no one is dictating our provoking thoughts, we take it on all on our own. Stories of "Why is our life so hard?" become open invitations to stress as our co-pilots. If we have the power to create thoughts of stress, then we have the power to create thoughts of peace.
Set an intention to feel good, welcome an attitude change. We may have little power to change what is unfolding, but we have complete authority as to how we choose to think about the series of events in our life's and how we relate to ourselves while experiencing. Choosing to see our stressors in a different light may not make the reality of their consequences lesser, but it allows us to keep our heads up high, moving forward toward versus further entrenchment in the "can't, it's not for me, no use." Changing the way we think about experiences and events in our life's leaves us vibrating a higher frequency destined to attract situations of abundance. Our thoughts are ours and ours alone, choose happy. Consider that all we experience is in service to us, our growth and expansion, intend to feel good, selecting a thought paradigm in support of your intention and you have won your megabucks. We are students in this game called Life. When a thought comes creeping in, leaving you in a state of overwhelm and upset, make the choice to think a different thought about that very thing. Again, it may not change the situation, but it keeps us open and available to receive all those magical synchronicitic moments, designed just for us. We see them much clearer when we are not faced down in the muck.
2. Release the Judge
There is a secret lurking about, stating a profound truth: You are not your thoughts. Exciting right! We are not what the self-critical, self-damning voice inside persistently says we are. The voice never misses a beat, an inner commentary suggesting to you, "give up, who are you to want to feel good, it's too scary." This part of us residing as the judge does not rule the roost, there is a different way being. Perhaps, the judger part of ourselves is desperate too for acceptance, to feel loved. Listen for the underlying message from the voice, what are the fears, worries, doubts really trying to say? Have you ever noticed that our self-judging tendencies seem to ramp up when we have made a decision, beginning to put ourselves into motion? A once infused with enthusiasm outlook, working towards our goals, embarking on our own growth to happiness, can quickly become laced with self-judgement and self-criticism. The judger represents the part of us that is scared, contributing to stress as a means of distraction. Let the judge be the very thing that encourages your commitment in pursuit of emotional freedom, in experiencing peace. Love that very part of yourself inclined to self-damn and criticize, release any attachment. We are not our thoughts of critic and self-damning, however those characters play out inside of us, because the truth is we are learning the art of choosing happy, learning how to be in our Hearts. To release our judge is to honor the intention of feeling good, thinking forward momentum thoughts, with perseverance. Anticipate resistance, it will greet you, whether it be at step 1 or step 20, stay open and continue to move into and through. Accept, for acceptance is loving that very part of ourselves wanting to judge and convict. Offer forgiveness, because the truth is there is no right way of doing things, there is only a way chosen. Each choice has an outcome with consequences, nothing more and nothing less, we are all doing the best that we can.
3. Breathing is not just for yogis
Breathing is a form of surrendering, it is a moment of letting go. Moving us from the ego trap of intellect (the judge) into a softer, gentler Heart way of approaching life. It is where we allow access to emotions that may be propelling old thought patterning to come forward for release, it is how we move through stress. Consider stress as a feedback mechanism, versus a representation of our life. If you have to choose to identify, identify with wanting to feel good, with that part wanting to learn a different way of relating to our reality and ourselves.
Intellect can quickly become a trap for an appearance by our star judge -- quick to replace confidence with fear, courage with doubt. This is not a preach for meditation, rather a soap box for breathing, fear cannot thrive within a deepness of breath.
With an intention of feeling good set in motion, let's move our bodies. Sing, to release the energy blocked in our throats -- what do you have to say that maybe you are not saying? What do you need to hear that perhaps you are not receptive to? Write it out, what is your experience with stress bringing up for you? Perhaps, there are deeper rooted feelings of inadequacy or scarcity propelling you into a triggered stress response. Begin to notice the sharpness of pain when in shallow breaths and when in full. If there is resistance to breathing, just acknowledge it with a warm smile, no judgement necessary. Remind yourself that you are just breathing, breaths that are full and deep, taking small, consistent action steps forward towards your goals. Accepting the part within tempted to dip into the barrel of stress, because the truth is we are all learning how to co-exist with peace as our co-pilot. The truth is we are all remembering how to be again.
Stress is our inspiration to change -- it reminds us of an easier, gentler way to go about life, eliciting an infectious enthusiasm. We are not stress, and it is not us, it is what we have chosen to create with our power of manifestation. Nothing is neither right or wrong, only thinking makes it so. Nothing is either stressful or not, it is the way we choose to label it and ourselves that it then becomes something. Thoughts have power to create and evoke wonderful magic, attracting all that supports us. They also hold the power to create disconnection, aloneness, apathy, stress is our personal inspiration to change the way we think about our reality. As Dr. Wayne Dyer so beautifully stated, "You create your thoughts, your thoughts create your intentions, your intentions create you reality."
What will you choose to create?
HuffPost's GPS for the Soul app is based on two truths about human beings. First: We all have a centered place of wisdom, harmony and balance within us. Second: We're all going to veer away from that place, again and again and again. What we need is a great course-correcting mechanism -- a GPS for the Soul -- to help us find our way back to that centered place, from which everything is possible.
Because no one knows better than you what helps you de-stress and tap into that place of peace inside yourself, it's important for you to create your very own GPS guide -- a personalized collection of whatever helps you course-correct. Email us at GPS@huffingtonpost.com and we'll set you up with your very own HuffPost blogger account to share your guide on the site. If you're already a blogger, we encourage you to upload your personal guide today. We can't wait to see what you have to share.