Own Your Story: Managing Stress in Three “Easy” Steps

Own Your Story: Managing Stress in Three “Easy” Steps

Stress.  It’s something that every living being experiences.  From animals to plants to humans, stress is a part of life on this planet.  A zebra experiences stress when a lion springs from the bushes: that rush of adrenaline and cortisol that fuel the instinct to flee keeps the zebra alive for another day.  A plant in the garden experiences stress when the weather is hot and windy or cold and too damp: the resiliency that is built due to these conditions helps the plant to thrive when conditions evolve.  Much like in the zebra’s story, a human can experience stress when life is physically threatened whether that threat comes via a gunman, a grizzly bear or an icy road.  The heart races, palms get sweaty and all we can think about is the crisis at hand.  We react. And that reaction to a life or death threat is necessary for survival in such cases.

However, in our modern societies today, we generally experience significantly less life or death stress than our hunter/gatherer ancestors did.  For most of us, stress arises when we perceive a situation to be stressful and when we let our perception hijack our response.  There are challenges galore in a human life – that goes without saying.  Schedules are tight, communications with loved ones or colleagues or neighbors are strained or non-existent, traffic is bad and there are too many bills to pay.  But are they life or death situations?  Usually not.  Yet they often trigger the same fear or stress response:  Our hearts race, palms get sweaty and all we can think about is the crisis at hand.  We react.  But in this case, our reaction is not helping us to survive: in fact, it might even be causing damage to our health in the form of elevated blood pressure, chronic tension headaches or inability to get quality sleep. In today’s modern culture, particularly in the corporate workforce, values of more, better, faster have invited everything from chronic stress to burnout to a general disliking of Mondays. When we view the world as an emergency room, our stress levels soar.  But when we can really see what’s going on, we regain a sense of control and peace. Continue reading “Own Your Story: Managing Stress in Three “Easy” Steps”

All You Need Is Love

All You Need Is Love

What does love mean to you?

Love tends to be a word of many meanings: The devotion of a parent to a child, romantic love between two adults, a child’s love for a pet, the love between friends, an individual’s love of nature, and love of the self. There are a myriad of ways that love shows up in the world.  And in a world that has more than enough conflict and negativity, we might argue that the power of love has the ability to overshadow all else and has more impact than we realize when we skim the surface of what it can accomplish.

There have been studies that indicate being with a loved one or pet results in a drop in blood pressure (*State University of New York), and other reports have demonstrated that being in an intimate relationship can result in a longer lifespan (*National Institute of Medicine).   We know that building self-confidence and accepting the present, even while working through difficult situations, can have profound impacts on our physical, mental and emotional health – sometimes far beyond what we might think possible.   We might even go as far as saying that supporting someone else, no matter how far removed, as they work toward their best health and wellbeing is a way of expressing love: A love of possibility, infused with positive energy, a love for humanity and all of its intricacies, and love via a deep sense of knowing that any positive actions and words speak an ancient truth.

Eventually you will come to realize that love heals everything, and love is all there is. –Gary Zukav

So, a simple word – love – is a way shower to abundance and life: To possibilities, wellbeing, and contentment with all that is. Take the rest of this month to think about how love is showing up for you each day, and make a point to show it to everyone you encounter as you move through your own version of reality.

Come out from the circle of time and into the circle of love.  — Rumi