you know that April is Stress Awareness
Stress plays a huge part in our sense of inner balance and wellbeing.
Often we become accustomed to a certain level of stress and no longer notice that it’s there. It has become our ‘norm’. But it’s still having an impact on our health and can lead to burnout and chronic dis-ease.
e-motions are meant to be energy *in motion*. They need to be allowed to
come up and then flow on.
However, when we place expectations on ourselves or worry that we’re being judged – and found wanting – it blocks this flow, which adds to our stress levels.
Life is not a test, so don’t take it too seriously. Remember to laugh, and don’t be afraid to feel.
Our bodies know exactly what they need in order to heal, and they know the steps to take to get to wellbeing.
Our role, then, is to provide the right resources – rest, nutrients, hydration, fresh air, exercise – and to do our best to clear the way, removing those things that hold us back and keep us stuck.
Emotions carry valuable information about what’s going on for us. As such they can be very useful.
However, if we don’t listen and explore ways to support ourselves and meet the needs beneath the feelings, then they can become toxic, both to ourselves and to those around us.
Opening to all that our emotions can teach us help us to develop the emotional intelligence that brings the resilience we need to deal with change and the challenges that life brings.
Next week I’ll look at some tips for dealing with stress when we feel it beginning to build.
initially wrote this blog early last week, but then something happened on
Thursday which prompted me to write this short edit. A friend that I deeply respect, told me that
she felt I wasn’t being honest with myself about my responsibility in the
situation I find myself with Dax, and that I was placing the blame on other
people. I would therefore like to print
an apology for anything I’ve said that has come across in this way. It was not my intention.
responsibility, this has made me think of the difference between ‘taking responsibility’ (in an empowering
way that leads to action) versus ‘taking
the blame’ – which is what, in hindsight, I think I was actually doing, leaving
me feeling overwhelmed and generally powerless.
I have recognised that this is something I need to address and so have
begun to take steps in this. This has
then enabled me to look more openly and closely at what’s been happening with
Dax and to take more constructive action in this too.
And now, back to my blog:
week I wrote about how I’ve been learning to bend so that I don’t break. A further step in this lesson for me is to
practice being able to ‘dance in the rain’ – ie, not to wish that there were no
storms in life, but rather to celebrate them, knowing that they bring valuable
teaching and that even when times are tough, I can still dance and make the
most of every moment. It’s also about
being able to be present with whatever is happening in the moment and to be comfortable,
even with being uncomfortable.
Getting to this point takes time and practice. We rarely manage it in any sustainable way the first time! But, like the baby learning to take its first steps, it’s a matter of getting up, dusting ourselves off and trying again.
all, that’s what life’s really about, isn’t it – experimenting, trying, finding
out what works and what doesn’t, repeating the former and discarding the latter
and continually refining and adapting.
When we make decisions and choices, we might think that we’re doing so from a purely logical, rational, analytical perspective but I’ve come to realise that there’s always an emotional element on some level. This is true for the simplest of choices, such as what we’re going to wear on a particular day, to what’s for dinner, to what car we want to buy. It’s even more true when we consider our responses to situations. These are determined by our thoughts and beliefs which are strongly coloured by our past experiences and our emotional state:
every situation, when we react rather
than make a conscious choice, we are
doing what we think will make us feel better / safer in that situation. However, when our perception is coloured by
fearful past experiences, these decisions will not help us to move forward. They can end up being a form of self-sabotage.
is why, when we want to grow, we need to become curious about what is
motivating our choices. To do this, we
need to develop our ‘emotional intelligence’ in order to gain a greater
understanding of what’s going on inside.
It can be a real challenge to face up to the things that we don’t like
about ourselves – the things that we don’t want others to see – and to be open
and honest about them. But when we can
do this with self-forgiveness and self-compassion it can be a very liberating
experience! Not only that, but it
enables us to support others in developing the same skills and so allow them to
find that same freedom.
imagine how wonderful that could feel:
to no longer be held by fear
to be free to experience the fullness of love, joy and
to be fully your self,
no longer needing to wear any masks
feel fully alive!
Of course, life still has its ups and downs. It still seems to throw us curve balls to keep us on our toes! But when we can learn to bend and to dance in the rain, we are much more able to adapt, flex and flow with these ‘plot twists’. We have greater clarity and insight on our own responses – and after all, these are the only things we have any control over.
It was very difficult for me to face the fact that we’d lost our
field shelter when it was destroyed by the recent storms. There was the financial pain – it had cost
about £4,000.00 and we can’t afford to replace it – and the thought of all the
wasted time and effort that my wonderful husband had put in to building it and
making it – we thought – storm safe. Not
only that, but I worried about the horses: their safety when it went over and
what they were now going to do for shelter.
Then I decided to look at the situation from a different
angle. Yes, we’d lost a lot of money,
but everyone was safe, and no-one had been injured, which was the most
Obviously, we had tried to stand against the force of Nature,
rather than go with it, and hadn’t realised how strong the winds could get in
that part of the field. So how might we
do things differently?
I looked around at the resources that we have here. The house is situated on a lower level than
the fields and between them there is an area of ‘unused’ land – rough grasses,
gorse bushes and some trees. It had
always been my plan to open this up to the horses and as I looked at it with
fresh eyes, I realised that there is a lot of natural shelter there, from trees
and the contours of the land.
So now I’m looking into making this area secure so that the
horses can access this natural
shelter. It will also provide them with
additional, interesting places to explore.
I’ve also ordered some Willow, to see if I can create a living
shelter for them. If it’s successful it
will have many benefits, including roots to further stabilise the land and drink
up some of the water which makes that part of the field a quagmire in the
winter. It will provide shoots that the
horses can nibble on – as long as they don’t eat until there’s nothing
left! Time will tell on that one…
This is what we hope to achieve:
If you’ve ever tried to create something like this, I’d be really interested to hear from you about how it went, and any tips that you can share!
If any of this has resonated with you and you’d like to learn more about developing your own emotional intelligence and resilience, and how to feel your way to the choices that are right for you, you might be interested in attending one of my workshops on how to ‘Feel Your Way from Stress into Flow’. Contact me for further details: