It’s funny to be writing about reducing stress in the throes of the holidays, especially this year. I’m currently unemployed and holiday trees are exuding more light than the job market. The economy is causing more than its share of
stress for millions watching their retirement savings dwindle. Stress has this peculiar way of spreading its energy like wildfire, until everyone feels disconnected from the loving arms of Source. Our relationships, finances, careers, governments and nations are going through a forced system of checks and balances on a global scale.

How is it possible to stay centered when our support systems are to be falling apart right before our eyes?

Internalize very deeply…all is in divine order. Chances are we may have fallen out of line.

This is extremely difficult to digest delicately when the bills aren’t paid and there’s no money in the bank, or your business is on the verge of bankruptcy, or your significant other is calling it quits. Where’s the (divine) love in any of this?

Our first and most understandable reaction is to escape, to avoid the discomfort as much as we can, to find a diversion to allow us to feel good immediately. Unfortunately, the cause of the stress doesn’t go away. We may feel good for a while, but it doesn’t solve the problem.

Know that everything in our lives occurs for a reason. I’ve started to look at stress as the Divine’s way of gently nudging me back toward my alignment with Source. The degree to which I am stressed out is usually in exact proportion to how far I’m off my center. Have I not been paying attention to my finances or my relationships? Have I spent too much time in a career that no longer serves my passion, or never did?

Stress is just another way of the universe telling us that we’ve either forgotten how to play, or we have fallen out of alignment with our connection to our Source, our passion, our joy. When we begin to take on more than is our intention, be it (financial) obligations, too much time away from home, or simply stop paying attention to the greater human experience around us, we tend not to notice the simple pleasures, the little miracles, the beauty of God’s playground that we so desperately wanted to leave Home to come play in. The world becomes less joyful, less happy and child-like in wonder.

It makes God sad when this happens. God so wants us to laugh and play!

I’m grateful my children remind me daily of some snippet of pure innocence that can immediately shake sometimes the worst stress. My college freshman is emerging into her own world of adult stress: whether it’s an all-nighter before a paper is due, or going to work when she’s tired, or finding money’s tight after paying bills, and I gently encourage her to try to find joy or something she likes when she’s out and about, or find something funny, or go out of your way to be nice to someone who’s really having a tough day. Not out of guilt because "someone in the world has it much worse than you do," but out of Love, from the heart. And you’ll feel better.

Much of stress is our mind’s perception of the situation. Looking at the situation from another perspective (actually, someone does have it much worse than you do, sorry) – or how much of this did I bring on myself, and what can I empower myself to do to change it? – are gentle, loving (and inexpensive) ways that you can at least soften the blow.

Looking at stress as an opportunity to re-align your Self back with Source keeps you from getting stuck, and allows you to at least get your energy flowing back in the right direction. Take a small, quiet break and step out of your situation for a moment and look at it from a universal perspective, knowing that the situation will change. Don’t fear the change, because change is inevitably for the better. Trust that God wants it that way.

That is how I’m looking at my forced hiatus from the job market right now, a (well-deserved) break from happily throwing everything I had into my job during the election. God is taking care of me, just as God is taking care of the rest of what’s going on around the globe. Sort of takes the stress off one’s shoulders, doesn’t it?

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