Are the warning signs flashing that you need to change your lifestyle before stress gets the better of you and brings about some unwelcome change? In fact are you heeding the signs? People don’t always see that the signs are there, that what was previously OK about how they were living and working is now no longer OK. We think we can cope and assume things can be as they have been so far, when in fact the body is protesting and the style is draining it of the ability to be able to cope. What is important is that we make the necessary changes before we are not in a position to choose.
Our bodies are designed to cope with short-term stress, such as an emergency, where the body generates hormones to enable us to respond appropriately. However what many of us do is live at a pace and pressure that makes the stress response more of a norm. It can even be addictive, the “buzz” of the hormones powering through us. It might be OK when our work is going well and we are enjoying ourselves, but when the stimuli get more negative, the body starts to react negatively too. Over time this can store up illness and eventually be dangerous. Little signs like catching colds, sleeplessness, aches and pains, excess of smoking, alcohol and eating, tense muscles, irritability, out-of-character behaviour, are just the early signs. You want to take action before you find you have some serious health condition.
It’s not so easy since we have often conditioned ourselves to tolerate a certain lifestyle that makes stress part of the architecture. For example we set ourselves expectations for our housing choices, where we live, or schooling for our kids and accept certain kinds of travel and types of jobs, or we want particular kinds of careers and these have consequences for our lifestyle, or we find it difficult to get the right balance between work and free time and/or family time. For some of us we treat stress as part of the territory, not realising how it can over time harm us.
Then we wake up and realise that all this doesn’t work. Then there’s the issue of how to change it, before it’s too late. That too can be stressful, which shows how caught up in all this we can get! We run up against the conditions or expectations we set for ourselves, like we believe we “must”have certain things in our lives for it all to work, conditions which are actually costing us.
It’s all about stepping back from it all, pausing and letting go, and then asking ourselves what we really want.
People often say what asked that last question that all that really matters is love, relationship, peace and the timeless little things, seemingly of little consequence when busy and stressed, and which we therefore forget about, but which actually have real meaning for us. Like sitting and looking at some scenery just down the road, a walk in the park, holding hands with your loved one, being still…
Today’s life has disconnected us from who we really are. It’s time to reclaim it.