The First Step To Transforming Stress Is Awareness

My family and I were on vacation and I decided to completely get
away from everything for about 10 days.

We stayed at beautiful SeaGrove Beach, on the Florida panhandle.
Part of the “Redneck Riviera” as some call it. I call it heaven.

Truly, the beaches are amongst the most beautiful I have ever
seen…and I have traveled to a lot of beaches all over the world.
And this section of coast is not as built up as others further
down. It’s more family oriented and provides a slower pace.

This made it the perfect vacation for disconnecting from the grid.

We didn’t watch TV. Well, except for Game 7 of the Stanley Cup
finals, when our second favorite team, the Boston Bruins (remember
my Caps are number one in my heart) won the Stanley Cup!

I didn’t do emails. I turned off the Crackberry. I didn’t even wear
my watch.

I had made a promise to myself NOT to have a schedule, NOT to have
to be anywhere at any particular time, and NOT to worry about what
time it was. And I pretty much stuck to my promise.

When you are on the beach for a good portion of each day, this is
easy to do.

It’s also easy to simply relax and enjoy yourself. Like most kids,
our son loves the beach. Playing and boogie-boarding with him
was a timeless experience. Five hours sunbathing, reading and
playing on the beach, or boogie-boarding or swimming in the
refreshing water, would fly by.

That’s the astonishing power of being in the moment.

Kids have so much to teach us adults. One of their lessons: they exist totally in
the moment. They don’t worry about what happened an hour ago.
They aren’t worried or anxious about what might happen tomorrow.

They just…live!

When I am working, I am constantly aware of the clock. I have
an idea of what I wish to accomplish in a day, and I try to
script my day and stay on target so I complete all, or most of,
my objectives and to-do’s.

Our vacation provided an excellent touchpoint for me. It
promoted being in the moment. It encouraged me to remain
oblivious of the time.

I had that same state of timelessness and living in the now
that kids enjoy. And boy was it fun!

Each of us was that way at one point in our early lives. But
something happened.

As we grew up and became adults, we began to feel the stresses of
modern life.

Some stress is good. It tests us and helps us grow. But chronic
stress is not so good. It can lead to very serious physical and
emotional health problems.

In fact, stress-related illnesses are among the fastest growing

Our modern lifestyles, with all the mechanical and technological
devices meant to make us more efficient and improve our lives,
have actually sped up our lives.

Seems like there’s always more to do, one more item to add to the

We’re constantly reacting to a barrage of phone calls, emails,
bad traffic, tight schedules, and ever increasing demands for
performance – at work and at home.

For many people, stress becomes such a natural state that they
become used to operating in a state of high arousal.

They become so addicted to the mood and energy surges and swings
associated with stress, they can’t imagine life being any other
way. And when they have a rare moment of peace and quiet…they
get antsy. They don’t know what to do with themselves.

Do you feel like this describes you, at least in part? Has stress
become almost like a drug to you?

One way to know for sure is to become more aware of how you act
and react to the pressures and time constraints of your daily

Here are some examples of behaviors to consider:

-Do you regularly add more tasks or responsibilities to an already
full schedule – even though there are other people who could do

-Do you typically wait until the last minute to complete a project,
because you “work better under pressure”.

-Do you sometimes or often talk to yourself in negative or
disparaging terms? In other words, is your “self-talk” often
negative and de-motivating? Does it take the wind out of your
sails, or add to the stress you feel?

-Is your breathing often tight and partial? Do you get tension
headaches, tired or sore neck and shoulder muscles, or back pain
on a regular basis?

-Do you tell yourself you can “do it all” – even though
subconsciously you feel like you are just about to blow?

-Do you medicate yourself with food, drink, or compulsive

Many people go through all of these behaviors – every single day.

If you’re honest with yourself, you’ll probably respond
affirmatively to at least one or more of these examples.

That’s good! No really, it is.

Because the first step to doing something about chronic stress
is to become aware of it.

In my next post, I’ll discuss the next productive step you can
take to begin to master stress and regain control.

You Can Do It!

Karen Van Ness

“Best Breathing Exercises: Transform Body Mind and Spirit with
Dynamic Energy Exercise!”

P.S. If you’d like to reduce and release stress, tension and
fatigue within minutes, I highly recommend the Secret Power of
Dynamic Energy Exercise Course, Volume I: Invigorate & Rejuvenate
This special combination of breathing and movement helps dissolve
stress and tension, effortlessly release tight muscles and joints,
and leave you feeling calm, relaxed and mentally alert.

For more information, or to order your own copy, click here.

Copyright, Karen Van Ness, 2011

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