WE HAVE MANY stresses in life that are a result of things that we cannot control – relationships, work situations and finances. On top of that we also place a great deal of stress on ourselves that we might not even be aware of. It is human nature to be hardwired for survival and when the stress-load we carry gets too great to manage, we can forget the rational part of ourselves and get completely caught in fear, panic and anxiety.
Too much stress can disconnect us from enjoying life
I believe that is not enough to know about how we think, we also have to be able to do something about it. We can talk about it for years, but if we don’t actually do something about it, we get closer and closer to a destination but we never actually arrive.
I see stress as a type of energy with a flavour and a texture all its own. It builds up over time: the more we carry, the harder it becomes to function. If we carry too much stress for too long, it can disconnect us from life, push us into addictive behaviours, or make us sick.
Blending energy work with psychotherapy has enabled me take a new perspective on how to work with stress. I see it as an energy that we can remove, instead of something that we drown in. Removing stress doesn’t change the situation causing it, but it does empower us to help us feel more in control and more able to make decisions or take action.
Some simple exercises…
How to clear stress from your body
Here’s an exercise I have used very successfully with my clients. Energy work requires a big imagination, so step out of your logical mind for a moment, and give yourself permission to try something completely different.
- Find a nice big stone and hold it in your hand. Any stone is fine as long as it feels good to hold it.
- Sit in a quiet space and breathe, come inwards – this is hard if you’re feeling anxious because you’re probably avoiding doing this, but the only way to release the stress is to feel the difficult feelings first.
- Using your imagination, blow the stress out of your body and into the stone. It may seem childish at first, but once you feel the flow start to move in your body, once you feel the stress lifting and start to feel better you’ll keep doing it until you feel much calmer.
- If you can’t blow it into the stone (you might be in an office or public place) hold it in your hand and imagine the stress energy flowing through your body and out of it, and into the stone instead. The stone is acting as a magnet pulling all the stress energy out of you.
- Feel your feet on the ground. Most people who try this get light-headed so be slow and deliberate, and do a little bit at a time. Remember, you’ve probably been carrying stress for much longer than you even realise, there’s a lot to clear.
- When you’ve had enough, let go of the stone, put it in the sun to purify it, or bury it in the garden and find another one for later.
If you’re prone to anxiety, you can carry a stone around with you for as long as you want to, holding it in your hand and imagining it soaking up the stress, pulling it out of your body. I’ve had many clients have great success with this technique, some have eliminated panic attacks just because they know they can work with the stone if they need to.
How to clear stress from your mind
Once the stress energy is reduced (or removed) using the stone technique, you can then look at things you can to do change the situation, if at all.
- Write down everything that is bothering you, from the biggest thing (such as you are about to lose your job), to the littlest thing (your jeans are uncomfortable because you just had that chocolate muffin you promised yourself you wouldn’t have…)
- Look at your list critically and mark off what you can control and what is out of your control.
- Circle the biggest issue and take it to another blank page, make a list of what you can do about the problem/what you want to happen.
- Make space to breathe, or do the stone technique again. Then put your second list into action.
Getting to know yourself can really help you stop the stress from building up in the first place. But knowing that you can do something about it is very empowering. And if you have tried the above exercises and still feel highly stressed, do consider talking to a friend, family member or even finding a therapist to help you.
Abby Wynne is a shamanic psychotherapist, energy healer, author and teacher. She blends psychotherapy, shamanism and reiki for a powerful and unique healing experience and teaches her online community how they can empower themselves through spiritual work. Follow her on Twitter @AbbyNrgHealing on Facebook or visit her website.