How to Heal from Years of Stress and Feel Happy Again
by Irina Litvin
Running late, deadlines, exams, or growing credit card debt, coronavirus spreading, the need to find ways to protect your health, and economic uncertainty are some of those events that can cause a lot of stress. Living a busy life, it is almost impossible to avoid stress unless you live somewhere on an island where nothing can cause stress. Even driving in traffic every day can be pretty stressful, especially in big cities.
Is It Possible Not to Stress?
The problem is that stress accumulates, very often before we even realize. And it quickly undermines all areas of our lives: stealing our happiness, weakening our immune system, eroding our digestion, etc. Being stressed all the time is not normal, no matter the reason. We are not meant to live in this state of “emergency” that stress creates. Our bodies are not built to handle it for long periods of time. We are meant to live happy lives.
So why can a zebra relax and return to her normal peaceful state of being after being chased by a lion, and we develop chronic stress?
What gets us in trouble is our mind.
Our mind tells us stories that set various emotions in motion. Emotion is energy in motion.
To change how we feel we need to change the direction of our thoughts because our energy follows our attention.
How you start your day is very important. If we wake up and start checking our emails, our social media to “catch up” with what is going on with the world then we inevitably trigger emotions and mind’s stories that are directly connected to our emotional state.
What helps me to be resilient to stress during these times of uncertainty is my spiritual practice. It helps me get centered, energized and sail through the day with ease no matter what.
Even if you spend 20 minutes in the morning on your mindfulness practice, yoga or meditation, it will give your nervous system a much-needed buffer for dealing with stress.
Stress and Anxiety Connection
Living in crisis and staying sane is pretty challenging these days, isn’t it? I feel that so many people feel anxious right now. For some people (lightworkers) this time is the time they have been waiting for all their life. For the big majority though it looks like scary unpredictable chaos.
One way or another, the Old Paradigm is crumbling down.
Surfing through the time of big changes with ease requires certain skills. [Read my post about Soviet Union Collapse and how people lived through it] And like all skills, this is something that can be learned.
Anxiety may originate from different sources but it often comes from worrying about our future: What will tomorrow bring us? Will we have enough money to pay our bills? Will I be able to stay healthy or will I die from coronavirus? Trying to find answers to all these questions stresses us out even more.
As much as many people might want, there is no way to “reset” 2020 to go back to “normal.”
Change is in full motion. And change is the only constant in the Universe.
What adds stress and seeds anxiety is often our resistance to this change. Most of huge changes happening now all over the world are beyond our control and trying to oppose this massive change would only drain our energy. However, something we can control is our reaction to the events we see in the world or to posts on our social media.
What shamans do when they face uncertainty that is beyond their control is that they surrender to the power of change, allowing it to brush through their entire being. The key is to observe this process of transformation without any judgment and with an open mind. This way we will get the insights we need and will be able to begin a new chapter of our life with joy as an experienced butterfly :)
How Stress Affects Our Body
When we are in a state of stress, our parasympathetic nervous system becomes activated and we enter into a “fight or flight” state. Loads of adrenaline are released into our blood stream.
With adrenaline levels rising we are also getting high levels of brain-damaging cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone.
It is a scientific fact that stress hormones downregulate genes and create disease.
If you want to learn more about it – watch this video where world-renowned Dr. Gabor Mate explains the impact of stress on our lives.
How to Relieve Stress and Anxiety
After living many years in stress, we may feel so fragile, irritable and easily overwhelmed that a way out may seem so distant and complicated. I know this because this is exactly how I felt years ago when I had to go through a very difficult time in my life. Happy people looked hypocrite and fake to me… Until I found a way to get out of that rut.
The “bright side” of life may seem to be so far away and a path to it may look very intimidating. However, neutralizing stress and restoring our inner peace is a pretty straightforward process if you look at it as a skill that you can develop. It starts with shifting our perspective.
There are many techniques for relieving stress and anxiety that come from various spiritual traditions.
Yogis have been using their breath to change their emotional state and to enter different states of consciousness.
Breath changes our emotional state as it is directly connected to our body’s ability to respond to stress.
The good news is that you don’t have to spend many decades mastering breathing techniques to have tangible results!
You can start with long deep breathing this very moment. It is a known fact that long deep breathing activates our Sympathetic Nervous System which helps us relax.
Here is how you can do it: start breathing long and deep, inhaling slowly on the count of 5. Hold your breath for a count of 3 and exhale on the count of 5. This type of breathing resets your brain and helps you to get out of the “fight or flight” state. Try breathing this way for 5 minutes and see how you feel.
You can also take advantage of our new Free Course Releasing and Healing from Stress and Anxiety where I’ve included my favorite yoga exercises for releasing accumulated stress and anxiety.
This yoga set can be easily adopted to all levels of experience. I love how I feel after I do these exercises. I’ve also recorded two guided meditations for deeper healing of stress and anxiety.
Healing from stress and anxiety is something we all are pre-programmed to do. We simply need to activate our body’s own healing ability and keep doing it.
Remember that a way out of any frustrating situation begins with small steps in the right direction. This is what we are truly in control of and what also allows us to get where we want to be.
And this is what I wish for you wholeheartedly – to be happy and live a fulfilling life!
How to Reduce Stress
Naturally and Fast
These days it is impossible to avoid stress for most people but it is absolutely possible to change how we respond to it. We can adopt this very useful skill that will give us the so-much-needed buffer.