Stress and burn-out are increasingly becoming the disease of modern civilization.
What’s worse, higher protracted stress levels result in higher mortality rates.
What do most people do to overcome stress?
They drink alcohol, smoke weeds, take drugs, go on shopping sprees, overeat and do reckless things in order to feel a bit of relief.
But, how long does it last?
It lasts just for a short time and then they are back to square one, feeling stressed and burned-out again.
They look for solutions outside of them, when the only place they should look at is their inner world.
Most people are not aware of the subtle correlation between thoughts/beliefs and emotions/feelings.
At any given moment we have the power to focus our attention on empowering thoughts and in so doing we can experience pleasant emotions.
Stress develops anytime we focus on things that are beyond our control.
Therefore whenever things don’t go as we expect them to, we get stressed.
The problem is that we grow up in a society that teaches us to look for solutions somewhere else rather than inside of us.
We grow up without paying attention to how we handle our thoughts and emotions.
And so, we end up blaming someone or something else for how stressful life is.
We must stop becoming stressed about things we cannot control or change.
Instead, we must start controlling our inner world, i.e. our thoughts, which turn into emotions.
Stress can only occur in a messy mind.
On the other hand, if we are aware of our thoughts we can develop and nurture peace and calm where stress cannot take root.
Remember: the longer you hold stress, the more you jeopardize your health.
THE GLASS OF WATER
Once upon a time, there lived a wise old man; people traveled from far away to seek his wisdom and find answers about life.
He was known as “The Enlightened”. There was nothing he didn’t have an explanation for.
One day, a young man turned up at the old man’s hut. He wanted to know the secret to a happy and peaceful life.
“I have walked all this way to find out what is needed to be happy”, the young man said to the old one.
“The Enlightened” filled half a glass with water and held it in front of his visitor.
The young man thought to himself “I already know the story of the half empty or half full glass”; but to his surprise, the old man was not interested in knowing whether the young man considered the glass half empty or half full.
Instead, he asked: “How much does the glass of water weigh”?
The young man was puzzled and tried to guess.
The wise man then said: “The weight doesn’t matter after all, what truly matters is how long you hold the glass for. As a matter of fact, if you hold it for just a few seconds you cannot feel a lot of weight; but try to hold it for 15 minutes, you will definitely feel a little more weight.
Guess what happens if you keep holding it longer and longer?
You will feel it heavier and heavier till your hands and arms can no longer hold the glass because of the strain and pain.
Because of the cramps and suffering, you will be forced to drop the glass of water”.
“What are you hinting at?”, the young man asked.
“When you hold a little weight for a long time, you experience pain and are obliged to surrender, in the same way when you carry stress for too long your mental and general well-being collapses and you slowly kill yourself”, the wise man replied.
He went on: “To be happy you must let go of the stress and emotional pain. The sooner you do it, the sooner you can experience happiness”.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
When we hold stress all day long we can only hurt ourselves.
We must drop the weight of stress before it becomes unbearable.
We become stressed because we don’t know how to handle our body, mind, thoughts, emotions, and inner energy.
We are not aware of what’s going on within ourselves.
We become stressed because we try to fix things outside our sphere of power, we constantly focus our attention outside of us failing to take care of our inner world.
Just think for a moment about relationships for instance.
How often have you expected a relationship with a person to get better thanks to changes made by the other person, rather than by yourself?
Personally many times.
I was looking for a solution outside of me, something I could not have control over, e.g. the other person’s beliefs and behaviors.
Every time I have expected the relationships with other people to get better thanks to their changes I have felt disappointed.
Only when I started working on myself and changed my attitude my relationships have improved.
“Be the change you wish to see in the world”. - Mahatma Gandhi
Another example that pops up in my mind now is the way people are reacting to Covid-19.
So many people are becoming more and more stressed and that’s because they would like to have control over something that’s impossible to have power on.
Covid is beyond our control, so - apart from following the guidelines to avoid spreading the virus - there’s not much we can do, so why bother about it?
Why do people become overwhelmed and stressed due to something they cannot change?
Any time you feel stressed ask yourself:
“Do I have power over whatever is happening in my life”?
Becoming aware of it allows you to release stress!
Why should you carry stress if its cause is outside your sphere of power?
Why keep feeling stressed when you cannot change people, situations, and unpredictable events?
Just focus on what you have power over, i.e. yourself.
Take a step each day to become a better person, and you can only feel good and experience happiness.
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