Note: the information in this article was gathered from personal experience, reflection, and work with my own feelings. Take it as you will.
Definition of stress
The normal, everyday sensation of a lack of peace. Similar to strife and anxiety.
What causes stress
The are different ways of thinking about stress, but it all comes down to a lack of peace. You can describe this as a disagreement with peaceful energy, or just as a general feeling that you can’t be at peace.
Stress as a Self-Generated Way to Escape
We can generate stress inside us as a way to get us away from situations we don’t want to deal with. Rather than just feeling and being present to what’s going on in our experience and beyond our control, we can instead add layers of stress, panic, and anxiety on top of it. We can end up making the situation about all sorts of things other than what it really is, and it can lead us into a state where we’re in a game of escape, constantly trying to get away things, and subconsciously feeling rewarded, since every escape is yet another victory, in a sense. This state can be incredibly stressful, and can continue to be perpetuated until one makes the conscious choice to let go of the act of creating stress, and surrenders to the more base state of experience, where the felt realities of the moment can come to the forefront. Lacking this, we can let mental traumas haunt us and distract us from what plagues us in the realm of our being, and the feelings that exist for us in the moment.
To destress, you need to find a way of being at peace with the situation as it is.
You can see any energy inside of you (peace, kindness, etc.) as a perspective on life that you can learn from and communicate with. Because of this, you can resolve stress by communicating with the peaceful perspective that already exists inside you. This peaceful intelligence can act as a kind of a counselor that can ask and answer questions to help you through your stress and with sorting through everything you’re stressed about. How? Usually by helping you come up with productive solutions and with seeing a way forward that otherwise, in the midst of your stress, you wouldn’t have seen.
Identifying and Connecting with your peaceful side
Before trying to have a conversation between stress and peace, it can help to first connect with your peaceful energy. To do that, follow these steps:
- Write out a single, stressful thought. Or think it deliberately.
- Now imagine that you are a someone else, simply observing the thought or statement as if from an outsider perspective. If this doesn’t work, think about how you would address yourself if you came upon your stressed thought – what advice would you give yourself?
- The side of yourself that observes and advises is likely your peaceful, unstressed side. It’s how you get when you’re not knee-deep in your own situation. It’s the intelligence you access when you’re trying to council someone else who’s asking for advice. It’s the intelligence that’s above your feelings and observing it.
- Try to sort of “pin down” this side of you in your awareness. Get a sense of its peaceful, harmless, observing attitude.
Once you recognize this side of you for what it is, you can have a direct conversation with it to address your stress, and everything you’re stressed about.
For example, a conversation might go something like this:
Stressed side: “Ugh, I don’t know what to do about this.”
Unstressed side: “Well, what do you want to do?”
Stressed: “Well… I want to do this, but I can’t because of that… or, I’m afraid to. Sorry, I don’t mean to be a coward.”
Unstressed: “That’s ok. Isn’t it possible for you to approach it this way instead?”
Stressed: “Yeah, I guess I could do that. That makes sense.”
Any time of the day or night you an open up a text document or piece of paper and do this. Here are the three basic steps:
- Write out everything you’re stressed about as if you are talking to another person – in this case, an aspect of yourself.
- Once it’s all out there, go to a new line, or speaker, and write out what your unstressed, peaceful side says in response. If there is no response, maybe the real response is something like “I don’t know what to say.”
- Continue a rapid back-and-forth between your stressful talk and your unstressed replies, with the goal of becoming at peace with the situation. In other words, have a discussion with yourself about your stress and its causes, until you’re no longer stressed.
Because inner conversations are dialogues between different ways of thinking that exist inside of you, you can take a break and come back to them at any time. You can also hold inner conversations inside your mind, if you wish.
Benefits of working through stress
- Inner peace – this is the biggest benefit.
- Feeling at ease with more areas of life and various situations that were previously stressful.
- Greater understanding of the various issues you’re stressed about.
- Greater understanding of yourself and why you are stressed about the things you are.
- Less emotional pain as you become more accepting of a greater scope of previously painful situations.
- More energy as you aren’t worn down by inner stress as often.
- A more relaxed state, especially towards your place in life right now
Endorsements for this Method
“Honestly, I cannot thank you enough for this, right now I really don’t have the words to express my gratitude. I’ve already started to use the processes you’ve suggested and I already feel the mountain of stress starting to shift. As I said honestly I can’t thank you enough.”
–FarionGria, Reddit User