Blocks to your spiritual journey, identify and overcome – Stress

In this series I will look at different emotions and challenges we can face when trying to embark on our spiritual journeys.

In this series I will look at different emotions and challenges we can face when trying to embark on our spiritual journeys.  

The Unicorn has talked about some practical things you can do to deal with stress but how do you even unpick what the stress is and what is causing it?

 

Stress is often a catch all term  for dealing with lots of negative emotions that cause your body to release the stress hormones. Your not feeling ‘stressed’ for are being stressed but you will be feeling other emotions that trigger  the stress – anger, guilt, worry, anxiety, fear, sadness, annoyance, disgust – all can trigger stress responses. To understand why your feeling so stressed lets take a quick look at the 3 major hormones. Hormones are chemical responses from your body, they have evolved with us over time and in small amounts can protect, drive and encourage us – but like anything once you have too many of these chemicals released you become unbalanced. Whilst the affects of these hormones can be felt almost immediately they take hours to leave our bodies and once they are in the body it is easier for them to further trigger stress responses leading to a cycle of constantly feeling stressed. 

 

The three major hormones are Adrenaline, Cortisol and Norepinephrine and when they release on a regular basis can be unhealthy for the body, studies have linked these hormones to increased risks of heart disease, cancer and affect your immunity, digestion (weight gain) and mood. These hormones drive our ‘fight or flight’ and when we are stressed our body often recognises these situations as threats releasing these hormones so at the time we feel we can deal with them. This release can make us hyper aware, feel agitated, lead to shouting and anger. 

 

So where is your stress coming from? 

Stress itself isn’t an emotion its a reaction to a situation you have been put in. The first step to recognising and dealing with stress is to work out what your underlying emotions are.

 

Journaling! 

It sounds simple but to get into the habit can take a bit of practice so if your feeling stressed all the time we can start off with journaling exercises:

 

1 – When you wake up – take 5 minutes to write down how you feel, before you have even got out of bed. Don’t analyse it, don’t put a huge amount of thought into this, just write down your feelings – scared, happy, sad, tired, angry.

  

2- At the end of the day – take 5 minutes to write down your emotions during the day – take time to notice what the situation was when your emotion changed. Again don’t analyse this – if you want to write more to get your feelings out please do! Writing things down can often be a release. 

 

Do this for at least a week.

 

At the end of the week look back over your journal and look at how you have been feeling. Is there a pattern? Is there one situation that makes you enter the ‘fight or flight’ mode? These are the situations you need to realise cause you stress.

 

So once we have worked out what’s causing us stress how do we deal with it?

 

Be kind to yourself – self compassion, often we would not expect from others what we expect from ourselves, we would not speak to others the way we speak to ourselves. 

Just think what would I say to a close friend that I love in this situation and how would I say it? I bet you would be much nicer to them then we often are to ourselves. 

 

Recognise your ‘trigger’ – this is a situation I am going to find stressful. I need to be kind to myself and not expect everything. Prepare first if it’s an event or something you know about in advance – give yourself a way out if it’s getting too much. 

 

Meditation – It gets offered as a solution so much but that’s because it works! Meditating even for 5 to 10 minutes a day calms the brain and body down. It grounds you back to earth and makes you pay attention to your body. If you’re finding that you’re getting stressed during the day or feeling emotional just taking time out to breath in a meditative style can bring your brain back to that calm state.

 

Exercise – going for a walk or a run (if you are so inclined) helps the body break these hormones down further.


Diet – the food we eat can help relax us too – something we can cover in further sessions.   

 

The Unicorn is also offering practical solutions to your stress in our further tools so please check them out to find out what works for you!

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