Do you just feel overwhelmed some days?
Hey, I get it. Almost all of us face constant hurdles in life, and sometimes they all seem to hit you at once!
The way that you face and deal with these challenges has a significant impact on your hormonal health as well.
Perhaps you have heard of the “fight or flight” syndrome – this is what happens to you when you face danger and need to bring everything to bear to protect yourself – in other words, this is about as stressful as it gets.
This mobilizes a number of hormones, including a blast of cortisol and adrenaline. This is pretty good at saving you from that bear which wants to eat you, but low level cortisol release from constant everyday chronic stress has the opposite effect on your health.
This is why I have posted several times on stress management in these prior posts titled 7 Quick Stress Relief Strategies, 5 strategies to relieve stress, 8 simple ways to relieve stress and Discover the power of positivity.
Today, I want to share with you a new way at looking at the issue.
I am turning over the blog to Sue Plumtree for a very inspiring post she has written titled “Are you struggling with life’s challenges? Here are 7 ways to achieve inner peace” which was originally published at her blog here.
At the age of 60 Sue left a 37 year marriage where she felt unloved, unimportant and unhappy. She spent the next 12 years living very happily on her own building her life coaching practice focusing on enabling women over 50 build strong and loving relationships, writing her autobiography and developing friendships that are caring, generous and open-hearted.
After meeting Paul – the man who became her friend, lover, soulmate and partner – she has learned not only what does not work in a relationship, but also what it takes to build one that is strong and loving.
Sue shares everything she has learned in her writings, coaching and her blog at sueplumtree.com. Sue is also a published author of three books: Open Your Heart: The 7 secrets of strong and loving relationships, Dancing with the Mask, and Across a Crowded Room: How to Find and Keep the Love of Your Life.
Here’s Sue’s article and I’ll have more to say in my summary.
Are you struggling with life’s challenges? Here are 7 ways to achieve inner peace
by Sue Plumtree
The last several weeks can easily be described as seriously turbulent – one challenge after another!
But I’ve recently noticed changes in the way I now respond to these challenges.
Not all that long ago, I would have felt really fed up – one damn thing after another!
In some cases I would have panicked, especially when nothing appeared to work to resolve the situation.
I would have become frustrated that these problems kept diverting me from my real work.
And I would have worried that these issues would go on and on and on and on with no respite in sight.
But here’s what I noticed.
I experienced none of these feelings.
Instead, I noticed a feeling of acceptance (not resignation), of certainty that these problems would be resolved one way or another, a sense of inner peace and the ability to enjoy those special moments with Paul, with friends and with myself. Yes, this is something else I learned – to enjoy my own company.
How has this amazing transformation come about?
I was just about to write that I don’t believe there is one particular cause when I realised that that’s not true.
There is one fundamental reason:
I have taken responsibility for my own happiness.
What does this mean in practice?
First and foremost I no longer believe I’m the helpless victim of life’s challenges. I know stuff happens.
What’s different is how I respond to these challenges.
I now ask myself different questions now such as “OK, this hasn’t worked, what else can I try?” “Who else can I ask?” “Where else can I find out more?”
I take a break from what at the moment feels like hitting my head against the proverbial brick wall – I have a coffee, go for a walk, read awhile, listen to music, call a friend.
I refocus on something pleasurable, something for which I’m grateful. For example, I just received an email inviting me to write an article for the u3a magazine (University of the Third Age), I got a lovely and unexpected text message from Paul, I had some really yummy cherries, I look at my love corner in my office and reabsorb each photo and message, I experience a feeling of satisfaction with that blog I just wrote.
Then, when I recharged my emotional engine, I go back to trying to sort out the problem, and another option, approach, solution or possibility springs to mind.
When the problem is resolved, I ask myself how I made it happen – what did I do and what qualities did I tap into?
For example, I might have gone on the internet and followed the instructions, I might have experimented, I might have known who to ask for help (and actually asked!).
As for qualities, I clearly persisted, I was willing to learn, I was willing to ask for help (one of the hardest things I ever learned).
The process of shifting from helplessness to proactive is gradual but picking myself up over and over again produces the cumulative effect that I only just observed.
And here’s the thing.
I now use these approaches deliberately and, as I do, I continue to reinforce them.
Here’s a summary of approaches.
- Stop the blame game and take responsibility for your own happiness.
- Ask yourself useful questions – not “why me?” but “what else can I do?”
- When facing a challenge, take a break and give yourself some breathing space.
- Refocus on good experiences, however small.
- Return to problem-solving mode.
- Afterwards, review what skills and qualities you used to solve the problem.
- Pat yourself on the back.
By the way, just because they worked for me doesn’t mean they will necessarily work for you so there’s only one way to find out, isn’t there?
So which one(s) will you try out?
I thought this was an eye-opening article, because so many of us do the exact opposite of what Sue is talking about – blaming all our ills on other people or bad luck.
Taking responsibility for your life and being proactive at accomplishing what you want to are powerful concepts, and we could all use a little more practice at doing just that.
By being aware of yourself and your feelings when things don’t go the way you want to, you not only can eventually achieve your objective but also control all the negative health effects which come from letting everything stress you out.
Feeling powerless to change things is a fast ticket to a life of chronic stress.
Try some of these strategies the next time you face a challenge.
Committed to your health,