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🌟 A clinically-validated framework to deal with stress.
Stress is an inevitable part of life.
But we may be experiencing an abnormal amount of it nowadays. Having the necessary skills to deal with stress will not only support you in keeping healthy (and in return the people you deal with), but it may also allow you to find creative ways to eliminate it (where possible).
After all, we may not be able to choose what happens to us, but we have a lot of control over how we respond to it - that’s a powerful skill to master.
Which is what we will discuss today.
I will cover few parts of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program launching on Sunday, 29th October, which you can sign up at a launch-only pricing by clicking here.
Let’s dive straight in!
Responding vs Reacting
At the core of being happy, as science has shown, is our ability to have a choice.
Everything we do is to gain freedom. Whether financially, emotionally, or mentally.
Here’s the catch, simply having the choice (rather than actually needing to make it) can be more than enough at times. Take for example having the choice to work from home, while you may or may not use it, the freedom itself can be fulfilling.
Or from a financial perspective, having the means to buy something is at times just enough regardless whether it is obtained or not.
The same applies to having the choice to respond to circumstances around us. Knowing that we always have the choice on how to respond can be freeing by itself.
The opposite of that? Being on auto-pilot and reacting to circumstances. Giving up our ability to choose our response and instead allowing our fight/flight stress-response system to take the wheel.
This may be critical for survival in a jungle but it rarely ever creates harmony and communication at home or in the office.
Stopping to recognize that no matter the circumstance, you always have the choice to respond, by itself can reduce the stress but in responding appropriately you can manage to actively reduce it further.
Shooting Yourself With The 2nd Arrow
The first arrow carries the actual pain, but we rarely ever leave it at that.
What generally happens is that an internal dialogue and narrative starts playing in our head that adds even more pain - “Why is this happening to me?” or “I’m a failure, how did I let that happen?” or “This always happens to me” - and that’s the second arrow.
While we may not have any control on the first arrow, or the pain that is generated from circumstances that happen to us, we have all the control on how we process that and what we do with it.
The voice inside your head that usually jumps to judgment can be a tyrant. Self-judgment gets worse when you have high standards, and that puts the best people in society at the most risk.
Self-judgment is an insane waste of energy - while it comes disguised with much “teaching” and “reflection”, what it truly does is damage self-image and increase pain. The time spent in self-judgment is better spent in self-compassion to support the recovery from the first arrow.
It’s hard enough to experience the first pain, adding more salt to the injury is rarely ever helpful.
But hey, I understand, it may feel reckless or complacent to not stop and address mistakes as they happen - so what I do at times when it is hard to let go is to time myself for 10 minutes in which I am free to “reflect” and “punish” as needed.
Thereafter, I am 100% focused on moving forward.
To recover and get back to the life I want to live and the people I want to support. Don’t waste precious time shooting that second arrow.
This one’s pretty straight forward, after all it is a mindfulness-based program.
However, the main focus I wanted to bring here is the ability to limit the perception of a stressor or problem to it’s true size, nothing more nothing less. But that’s extremely hard to do in the moment.
When we are stressed, our survival instinct dials in and all that does is assume worst-case scenarios - to make sure no matter what, we will survive.
This is obviously critical and necessary when in the midst of a life-threatening situation, but it is pretty useless for anything less than that. What ends up happening is misinterpretation of what truly is happening, or misunderstanding others and their intentions.
Instead, being mindful and allowing space to truly understand what is happening, can be extremely powerful.
Stop to observe, and listen to understand (not to argue), so you can be mindful of what is truly happening.
In two weeks I will be offering the 8-Week MBSR course under mentorship at the University of California San Diego. This course has been proven to help participants build the skills necessary to deal with stress in life, in relationships, and at work - it is science-based mindfulness.
If you’re curious about that, click here to sign up and make use of this launch-only pricing at a sliding scale (you pay what you can, between $50 and $100) - the course is valued at ± $750 in other institutes.
Have a Super Sunday!
With much joy,