Stress management does NOT work for long-term health.
In the short-term it can help calm the system down, but it’s a short-term fix when there may be a deeper issue.
We hear a lot about how we can manage our stress: do yoga, cook a meal, garden, get a massage, go for a walk, take a deep breath etc. When the goal of the activity is to “make the bad feelings go away or make the stress go away” we are doing more harm than good.
When we have chronic stress there are issues that want to stay hidden because we have been unable to work through the old pain.
👉 “Trying to make the bad feelings go away or trying to make the stress go away” wreaks havoc on the body. Because the body is using its energy to fight off the emotion or memory instead of staying in growth and healing mode where new cells can grow to replace old or damaged cells.
I recently heard the phrase the “shame closet.” When a “bad feeling” arises it’s like our shame is peeking out of the closet, ready to be acknowledged and be seen.
But instead of welcoming it with curiosity, we take a 2X4 and whack it over the head over and over and over again. Essentially beating ourselves up.
It was in the “shame closet” for a reason.
😲 There’s an alternative way that only takes a couple of minutes. We can courageously say “hey shame…come on out, I’m curious.”
Curious why I feel so much anger.
Curious why I feel so defensive.
Curious why I feel so depressed.
Curious why I feel no peace.
Curious why I feel no joy.
Then feel the physical sensations of the “bad feeling.” Literally, in the body. With no story attached. We don’t need the story to heal and move forward (although there can be a time and a place for a story that may be helpful.)
Stress management keeps us stressed in the long-term.
It takes courage to look at the stress we carry and face it head on.
Courage to see and admit the coping skills we use that keep us stressed.
When emotions are not trapped in the body, when emotional patterns are disrupted, we start seeing things differently. We stay out of fight/flight mode longer and our bodies can heal naturally.
Ultimately, we do NOT need more stress management techniques.
We need to see emotions for what they are; an essential part of us. Without labelling emotions as good or bad, right or wrong, without puking 🤮 them onto someone else or stuffing them deep inside.
When all emotions are allowed and energy is flowing, we feel better.
💛 We act better.
It only takes a few minutes of time, but it takes a hell of a lot of courage. 🔥