Creating Space to Heal from Stress

Whether it be fleeting or ongoing, minimal or all-soul-engulfing. We all have experienced stress at some point in our lives.

Motherhood, family, divorce, death, financial hardship, illness, work, home, our feelings towards the past, the future – many life factors deliver challenges to test our capacities to cope. These days we are overrun with well, life. With technology so advanced we are never really just doing one thing anymore. Our minds are always elsewhere. We no longer live in the now. We are never alone (although our lives are more insular than previous generations). We have so much to do and not enough time to do it all in! We rarely give ourselves the chance to completely disconnect. To Refuel. Reboot. Check out. Stop. Breathe. Relax.

Living life this way means that instead of processing things as they happen, one instance at a time, we tend to gloss over occurances, leaving them to accrue and to be dealt with at another time. Our poor minds start to search out more storage space for the piles of unresolved, unfinished and yet-to-do’s. This is where many begin to feel pressure, and our minds decide there is no time to turn off. Fatigue and ‘fuzziheadedness’ make regular appearances. Without the free space in our minds, there is no room for us to live our own lives, as the universe intended. Mamas especially are guilty of putting everything before themselves, and are the biggest offenders when it comes to putting our needs before others.

If left to continue, physical ailments such as anxiety, sleeplessness, panic, depression, headaches, poor digestion and possibly others creep in. Each of these factors can have detrimental affects to our physical and emotional health when experienced for extended periods of time. Mindfulness really has become an art form in the ever-bustling lives we have created for ourselves. In quiet moments (like bedtime) our minds start missing ‘the action’ and begin replaying past moments, and unresolved tasks like old movies – over and over.

I was most certainly in this pattern when finding myself on my own with my daughters. Amidst the chaos of newborn land, motherhood and sheer heartbreak, it seemed as though I was taken to the darkest places of my soul, dropped into the deepest most terrifying shark-infested ocean and left to drown. Things piled up and my mind started searching for additional storage space. It was during this time, I discovered the most amazing woman, mentor and most gigantic giver-of-love I had ever known. Her name was SARK. Immediately, this joy-angel became my beacon. My diamond in the rough.

(If you haven’t already read any of her books (such as The Wild Succulent Woman or The Fabulous Friendship Festival) I highly urge you to. They are life changing!!)

Anyhow, one tactic I stumbled across along my Sark journey was a method of breaking things down. I have been wanting to share the sense of this for a while, because not only is it brilliant for decluttering the mind, but also the sense of love, understanding and self-empowerment that comes from this exercise is awesome. This exercise works for any issue – no matter how large or small. It is pure brilliance, and a wonderful step in reducing stress and creating the space to heal.

Here we go…

Breaking Things Down

You’ll need:

A notepad
A pen
A cup of tea
A phone – turned off or taken off the hook
A front door that is closed, preferably with a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign
And the permission to give yourself time and space to begin this exercise. And to stop when you are ready.

I love that you dont need:

A consultation fee
A workout room
To fit into anyone else’s schedule
To leave your own comfort zone

Step 1 – Get it out!

Begin writing any thought that comes to mind. Make a list of anything and everything that is in your mind. Unresolved issues, situations that have made you feel sad, or mad. Anything in or out of your control. Present or past. Number them. You will reach a point where you will feel as though you have run out of thoughts. At this stage, if you sit with yourself for a few moments, more feelings will arise and you’ll get a second wind. Keep writing.

Step 2 – Respond Lovingly to Yourself

If your list isn’t too gigantic, you may wish to move straight on to this one. My first attempt was 14 pages long, so I chose to respond to myself the following day. There is no rush. Do what feels comfortable.
Begin by grabbing some fresh notepaper, and reading your first entry on the list. Take some time to read and process what is written. What would you say if this was someone else? What advice or source of comfort would you give? As your loving and compassionate self, respond to each of your noted thoughts and issues. Begin with Dear (your name). Stay positive and supportive. You may want to do this in sections if your list is long. It is important not to exhaust yourself.

Once you have finished, put some time aside when you can get back to it, and slowly read the responses you have given yourself. As you read this, how are you feeling? Receiving these responses and supportive suggestions from someone who has taken the time especially for you, who knows you and loves you very much (YOU) can be life changing!

Step 3 – What is the Worst That Can Happen?

Once you are feeling light and free as a feather, loved and really listened to, it is time to move on to the final stage.
Grab a third batch of notepaper. Begin with #1 of the first list of frustrations/challenges you wrote. Now with your new fresh eyes and clear mind, write down for each one a positive that you could derive from each of these things happening. Then ask yourself , “What is the worst that could happen?”This particular step creates a sense of rationality and connectedness. For almost all of your items, you will notice that you will remain alive no matter what, you will still have your health, and the ability to love yourself and others and be happy. (This is where the strongest sense of empowerment hit me)

I began spending time with myself. I really listened/processed to be able to provide guidance and understanding to myself. Deep down I knew that no matter what happened, life still continued and I would be fine. I have seen many clients now that still get quite overwhelmed with the stresses of life, the ‘what-if’s’ and so on. This exercise to me is additionally valuable because it hands us our own resilience and shows us how strong, compassionate and capable we really are. Even when we feel as though our own resources are low and tested.

This exercise when undertaken regularly creates space which we can acknowledge as our own. Once this becomes habit, there is room to then look at other ways and means to perform further acts of self-love and kindness for ourselves.

I hope this has been helpful to some I know who are facing struggle at present. Big love to you


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *