“What’s the cause of stress?”
When I heard Oprah ask Eckhart Tolle this question recently in an interview, I couldn’t wait to hear his answer. Are you curious, too?
“Stress is caused by wanting something to be the way that it isn’t,” Eckhart replied.
Replaying his answer several times, and listening more deeply each time I heard the answer, I couldn’t help but think, “Wow, how many times a day does a thought cross my mind wishing that a moment, an occurrence or a word said was different than it is?
Could it be that I am a serial stressor? Maybe it’s part of the unconscious human condition.
I’m not talking about a catastrophic event causing major stress here. It’s about little things – like:
— Being stuck in the mud.
— Missing the green light when you’re already late for an appointment
— A long line at the grocery store
— A negative comment by a co-worker or friend
— Another car cutting in front of you in traffic
Here are a few stressful reactions I observed:
Anger – this shouldn’t be happening.
Victim – why is this always happening to me?
Fear — making up a story about what’s happening
Taking it personally – who do they think they are cutting in front of me?
Is there an antidote to stress? What is it?
Yes, there is an antidote to stress. And, it doesn’t matter if we’re talking a minor stress event or something catastrophic – the antidote is the same.
Accept this moment, this stressful moment, as if you had chosen it. Look at the situation and say with an attitude of acceptance, “This is what’s happening right now.” Don’t resist it. Don’t deny it. Just accept it without judging it.
Not the answer you were expecting? Stay with me now. What can happen next is magical. You see, as long as you stay angry, feel like a victim, or afraid – you will always be stuck in the mud.
We’ve been telling ourselves that it’s what’s happening that is the cause of our stress. The truth – it is what our mind is telling us about the moment that is causing our upset and unhappiness.
Stress Antidote Steps
- Breathe. This is essential. When we’re feeling stressed, we tend not to breathe, which keeps our energy from flowing.
Take 5 deep breaths. Starting at your toes, breath in through your nose – hold it for a few seconds – breath out through your mouth and down to your toes.
- Accept the situation as if you had chosen it — don’t judge it. I know sometimes this can be challenging. Stick with it – the payoffs are worth it.
- Become the observer of your mind – watch and listen to what it is saying – so that it is not controlling you.
- Feel yourself being present with what is. In this moment of becoming centered you will allow a higher knowing to enter.
- With the clarity that comes you will be able to:
a, Accept the situation as perfect and change your thoughts and perception
about it, or
b. See there is a simple solution allowing you to create change.
While applying your Stress Antidote — Eat Dark Chocolate!
I’m not joking with you – it’s actually true. While searching the web for comments on stress I came across a report in Science Daily, April 24, 2018. Findings from two new studies show dark chocolate consumption reduces stress and inflammation, while improving memory, immunity and mood.