There is no doubt that stress takes an enormous toll on our bodies; from headaches, insomnia, frequent colds and infections, stomach problems, muscle and body aches – you name it! But it can also be seen in our faces, including acne and early aging. How do we deal with stress and eliminate its damaging effects? In this series I am going to be sharing techniques that have truly worked for me through the most traumatic and stressful of times.
This is a very personal topic to me, but probably the most important lessons in my life. Stress is chronic in our society, at a time when bullying and burnout have become rampant. One in six Americans are on anti-depressants. Constant internet access has overwhelmed us with world issues that leave us feeling fearful, angry and powerless. Social media has made us feel compelled to check our phones every 5 minutes to feel validated and “liked”, while we compare ourselves to millions of other people who might be prettier, with more money and more exciting lives. We are often left with the feeling that we aren’t accomplishing enough and we aren’t good enough. Pure stress has become the norm.
And don’t believe this isn’t showing up in our faces. My father is 71, but he looks 50. His skin doesn’t sag and he has almost no wrinkles. He has always been a calm, healthy, clean-living, basically happy person. Yesterday I met a woman who is 50 and looks 85. Her face is weathered and I could see in an instant all the stress and hardships of a life that led to alcohol abuse.
Do we have a choice? How do we stop the madness? How do we deal with the stress in our lives and stop it from damaging our bodies, minds, and faces?
Technique One: Live in the Now
When we have events or situations that are really stressing us out, we are usually focusing on one of two things: A. We are regretful of something we did, or wish we had done, in the past. B. We are fearful or worried about something that may or may not happen in the future. Our stress is rarely about things that are actually happening now.
For example, right now I am a bit worried about whether or not anyone will actually like this article, whether I am accomplishing enough in business, whether anyone will ever love me, and I am wondering why I put my foot in my mouth again yesterday. But none of these things have anything to do with now. At this moment I am curled up on a gorgeous sofa in front of a cozy fireplace in the mountains with snow falling outside. No one is hurting me. No one is yelling at me. I have enough to eat. There are no collection agents at the door. At this very moment I am fine.
So why not live more in the now? When your mind starts wandering to worries about the future, or regrets from the past, rein it back to the NOW. Focus on your immediate state and circumstance. At this moment you are fine, and you are perfect just as you are.
Stay tuned for technique two tomorrow! Love, Shawn