I used to think that a greater or lesser state of ongoing stress was a given. That it was there and not much could be done about it. I could possibly run or sleep it off. I tended to try and handle stress by working harder and giving more and more to the point of depletion. By not stopping to analyze, become more self-aware, or even breathe fully, I could get past it ON MY OWN without fully acknowledging its firm place in my life. A few times I did get past it, but more often I did not.
Someone at some point came up with a wonderful use for the letters of "stress."
S - Someone
T - Trying to
R - Repair
E - Every
S - Situation
S - Solo
One of the lessons in our PART program revolves around analyzing the care you give to others AND ALSO what you have coming back in for your own well-being. Often, we see a lopsidedness one way or the other. We either have too much coming in and need perhaps to call in the great benefits of helping others and being there for others. OR, we are the "giving tree", with much more going out than coming in, chopped down to a stump that someone is resting on. We have helped others but are unable to rise again fully. Our mental and physical battery depleted and stressed, we often experience "dis-ease."
If we believe, which we do at breatheIN2IT, that self-care enables fully being able to help others, than dealing with stress and the ups and downs of life without enough connection and support is both a cause, a bolster, and a result of ongoing stress.
Interestingly, studies show that when we are in the RR - relaxation response - (opposite of stress response and accessible through breathing techniques and meditation), we reach out more and are more willing to ask others for help or just connect. Doctors, physical therapists, therapists, coaches, teachers - all know that patients, players and students are much more likely to follow wellness protocols and team/class plans when stress is not an overwhelming factor.
Therefore, learning to elicit a state of relaxation and calm is our first priority in programs. It is the foundation and one of the many reasons that meditation is moving into the mainstream and many of our higher research and learning institutions are proving and touting its extreme wellness benefits. A state of relief from chronic stress ALLOWS ALL THE OTHER PILLARS OF WELL-BEING TO BE ACCESSED WITH GREATER EASE. You have probably noticed that when you feel less stressed you are more likely to eat better, exercise more, sleep better, express gratitude, and REACH OUT to friends, family, groups. Likewise, when you reach out and make a connection or share a concern, you feel less stressed.
Whether you start with education, making a commitment to support yourself more fully and learn techniques, or by connecting with someone, a group or a belief system for support, (or best, all of the above), you are moving into a place where less stress can enable more times of self-care which then leads to more true care for others and back to more self-care.
Address the stress so you can feel well and enjoy life. Reach out for help and/or connection so you can be there for others genuinely without draining your own battery. One way or the other, you CAN make the change to more connections and perhaps greater feeling ease and peace in life.