“Stress? I’m not that stressed”. When was the last time you stood up from your computer, took a deep breath, had a day off or at least finished work on time? Do you know that feeling right before you fall asleep where you jump out of bed because you forgot to send that very important email? These are all signs of stress friends.
And whether we want it or not, it impacts our relationships and, most importantly, health and wellbeing. Recent studies show that stress can impact health as much as an unhealthy diet or lack of exercise. Imagine, every time you have a stressful thought it’s like eating a donut!
So how do we manage our emotional health while so many things need attention and resolving? Wasn’t it something we consciously signed up for when starting a business?
The rule for stress
All of us have certain sets of rules that dictate our thoughts, behaviour and our life. Some of these rules were picked up in our childhood and some were developed in our adult life. Have you ever heard “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” or “it’s cold outside, dress warm otherwise you will get sick”? These are some of the examples of common rules.
While starting my professional career, I noticed certain rules being created around business owner’s life and, more specifically, emotional health. “You won’t have time for anything else”, “better work for someone else instead of stressing your whole life”, “it’s going to be hard if you want to achieve something” – all things I’ve been told when planning to start my business. With these types of rules, we can already expect horrible things to happen and we all know – “what you focus on is what you get”, or in other words “where the focus goes, the energy flows”.
Getting out of your head
What are we supposed to do in a world of constant change?
One of the simplest and most accurate pieces of advice I’ve been given is “get into your head – you’re dead”. “What do you mean by get out of your head? Isn’t it where I think? Isn’t it me?” – you might ask, just like me when I first heard it. The only thing needed to understand is that we are just the watchers of our thoughts.
The most important thing you can understand about human spirituality and about who we really are is knowing who we are NOT. We are not our thoughts. Thoughts can come and go through your head one by one, but you’re still there. We are not our emotions. You might find yourself feeling multiple emotions or a single emotion, but they all change and we’re still there.
“Still where?” – you might ask. If we are not our thoughts and not our emotions, then who are we really? To reach the highest understanding of self and be able to enjoy our lives at the deepest level, we need to learn to take the seat of an observer. The watcher of our thoughts, the feeler of our feelings, the mover of our bodies. The spirit, the soul. Being conscious, that we are conscious.
The tool: Relax and release
The separation and understanding that we are not our thoughts, we just experience them is the first step to stressing less. The chatter, the constant talk, the personalities inside our heads that say, “I’ll never eat chocolate again” and “I’ll just have one little piece, it’s not going to hurt me”. It’s not us, these are just our thoughts, it’s our mind! How good is that?!
Having this awareness will let us experience life at a different level. Now, whenever certain thoughts arise like “I shouldn’t have said that this person surely now hates me!” or “How can they talk to me like this? I can’t let them do that!” we can just simply let them go.
I call this method “relax and release”. It’s about letting thoughts pass right through your head. Just like the thought about this morning sun, just like the thought of your breath - it doesn’t bother you, so you let it go. The key to emotional freedom is to learn how to relax through every thought and every emotion that passes through your head and release it. The very moment we start noticing that it bothers us, we let it go. Later it becomes more and more difficult to get rid of it.
“Isn’t this giving up? How can I just let it go and not act on it if it’s so important?!”. The truth is that our minds are very melodramatic and tend to overreact. When we act in the very moment when a thought comes up in our heads, we tend to make impulsive and inappropriate decisions. First, let go of the disturbance and tension that makes you uncomfortable about it and then make a decision and act on it. This way we realise most of the things in our head are not as important as they might originally have seemed.
Resources & tools
To be able to stay in the seat of consciousness and be the observer of our minds, we need to practice it even with the smallest things. “It’s too hot today” – relax and let it go. “He said this to me again, can you believe it?!” – relax and release. With time we learn to release bigger and bigger things and realise that there is no point going over it anyway. Life will keep going, no matter whether we get upset or not.
One of the most important tools to keep being in the centre of our conscious selves is meditation. Meditation is all about going behind our thoughts and emotions and observing them. Being in the seer, the feeler and the watcher. Meditation gives us a chance to remember and practice it.
Another technique used for centring ourselves is breathing exercises. Focusing on our breath during difficult moments itself can help us relax and become more conscious.
If you’d like to find out more about the topic of spirituality and finding out who we really are, I highly recommend you my favourite book of all time, “The Untethered Soul” by Michael A. Singer, from which this article was inspired.
Despite the rules created in society, that to achieve our goals we need to experience tension and stress, it’s possible to enjoy our life just as it is. It’s all about enjoying the journey, the work we do and all the interactions with others.
In the end what matters most is to live our life exactly as if it was our last week, last day or last minute. In a situation like that, none of us would be getting into all the small things we worry about every day.
Now we can learn to relax and release through everything that is happening in our life and business. Let it go and then decide how we act on it. This will not only bring us internal peace and freedom but also massively improve the quality of our decisions and relationships. At the end of the day, the quality of our relationships, with ourselves and others, determines the quality of our life.