Life is complicated. Stress management shouldn’t be.
As a positive psychologist, I often write about the bright side of life. Including harnessing strengths, enhancing motivation, and flourishing in the wake of adversity.
While strengths are vital to realizing one’s full potential – it’s not the whole picture when it comes to living a balanced life.
We must also create a safe place to welcome the parts of ourselves (and our life) that weigh us down and cause us despair.
In doing so, we soften the grip of its pain. Whether it be suffering from years gone by or a hardship in current time.
Give your disappointments, your conflicts, your lost dreams room to breathe.
You are not inadequate because you have depression. You are not unworthy because you’re divorced. You are not unloveable because you have anxiety. You are not undesirable because you’re unemployed. You are not undeserving because you’re broke.
Life ebbs and flows, comes and goes. Like the waves on the ocean shore. You are forever. Your potential grows. It’s ok not to be ok. What comes – also goes.
We live in a world weighed down by disaster, debt, and divorce. So it’s no surprise that we’ve been conditioned to believe that tragedies require tragic mindsets. That serious issues demand serious attitudes. That hardships necessitate hardened spirits.
Thankfully we also live in a world overflowing with abundance, joy, and love. Same world. But we can’t see the good when we’re overwhelmed by the bad.
Making the shift from stress to strength can happen in a number of ways.
Laughter is my favourite instant stress reliever. Taking a long deep breath runs a close second.
Laughter breaks the panic spell. The not enough mindset. The woe is me attitude. The negativity downturn.
Laughter is an instant vacation to a better place – without the travel bills!
Related Post: From Fear to Love
What loving thing will you do for yourself today?
Do you experience more stress than the average person? Are you overly sensitive to external stimuli. Chances are, there is nothing wrong with you or your coping strategies.
Brain scans show that HSP’s have “heightened activity in empathy-related brain regions” including the anterior insula (insular cortex), highlighted in the brain scan below.
The intensified response of highly sensitive people (HSP) to stress is not a choice – it’s biological. HSP brains are wired differently than the average person. This fact has been clearly supported by scientific research.
- Are you easily overwhelmed by such things as bright lights, strong smells, coarse fabrics, or sirens nearby?
- Do you get rattled when you have a lot to do in a short amount of time?
- Do you make a point of avoiding violent movies and TV shows?
- Do you need to withdraw during busy days, into bed or a darkened room or some other place where you can have privacy and relief from the situation?
- Do you make it a high priority to arrange your life to avoid upsetting or overwhelming situations?
- Do you notice or enjoy delicate or fine scents, tastes, sounds, or works of art?
- Do you have a rich and complex inner life?
- When you were a child, did your parents or teachers see you as sensitive or shy?
The main challenge for most HSP’s is to acknowledge their heightened emotional sensitivity, understand their unique emotional needs, and finally to employ distinctive strategies for coping with stress. Helpful websites and resources below –
Watch my video for helpful strategies on how to thrive.