Featured Topic: Techniques to Relieve Stress
Ahh, the hustle and bustle of daily life. It helps us keep our bills paid and responsibilities met. And it can cause stresses and pains that we often feel we don’t have the resources to recognize or prevent. We distract ourselves with work, television, alcohol, what have you, so we don’t feel the pain — so we can keep doing what we’re doing.
The problem is, those pains are actually guidance from our soul, and if we ignore them, we are ignoring essential clues about how to live fulfilling lives.
How do we start to hear that guidance? A crucial first step is to turn down the volume of the distractions in our lives. Distractions abound in our society, from daily habits such as how we eat, work, and entertain ourselves, to full-blown addictions. Lessening them could mean making changes — from things like avoiding the TV and computer more often, to adopting a meditation routine or facing addictions.
Once we are less distracted, our problems surface of their own accord in the form of (often uncomfortable) realizations about our lives. It could be anything from, “Wow — I never noticed how tight these shoes were!” to “I think my partner is cheating on me.” When you start letting the issues surface, it’s amazing the revelations you’ll have. Patience, time and support are needed for the process, especially if the realizations are uncomfortable or even unwelcome. Let’s face it — that’s why we sought out the distractions in the first place!
What do we do once we’re finally sensitive to the nagging thoughts and feelings we’ve been avoiding for so long? Honestly, we might be tempted to start distracting ourselves again! Luckily, often simply acknowledging the emotions we’ve been covering up is enough to help them subside. This can be hard, because many emotions seem to have scary ramifications. Think of the following examples: “I want to leave my spouse/partner…My parents are disappointed in me…My career is not a fit for me…I regret having children.” If we don’t know how to deal with those emotions, or if we feel guilt or shame about them, we might seek to pretend we don’t feel them. This is where distractions enter the picture.
Now, distracting ourselves (with television, overworking, eating unhealthy foods, etc.) works for a while, but like all the quick-fixes in our society, it is not a long-term solution to feeling better. Those emotions build up in our system and persist until we acknowledge them, and adjust our behavior accordingly. It might seem like it’s not worth it to face these feelings — the risks might seem too great — but the far greater risk lies in not facing them. There are many ways to do this. In a future article, I’ll detail a technique that can help us acknowledge and move past emotions.
Our responsibility as human beings is to use and develop our gifts so we can live fulfilled lives, and the path to fulfillment lies in responding to the needs of our soul. Fortunately for us, when we do this, the Universe helps us succeed. There are still hurdles to overcome, but that’s all part of the process.
So eliminate distractions one by one, and start following the guidance of your soul. Support and fulfillment follow.