Someone on Twitter recently asked me: Is it really a goal to live stress free? Or is it more to manage stress effectively and figure out what level is productive?
Her question is a common one that I’d like to clarify and discuss. Living stress free is not a remote possibility or pollyanna idea. It is most definitely possible. You live stress free by changing your relationship with stress. No, we cannot stop stressful circumstances from happening to us, but we can perceive the circumstances with awareness and a balanced perspective.
According to Living Stress Free® stress is anything that interferes with balance. This means it is not only anxiety and feeling overwhelmed … stress is anger; stress is self consciousness; stress is feeling alone; stress is wishing you got your to-do list done; stress is the stomach ache you feel after eating too much cake at a birthday party; stress is your muscles hurting after getting back to the gym and overdoing it; stress is that fantastic vacation that takes you to a beautiful place but throws off your routine. All of these examples demonstrate an imbalance. The experience of too little or too much on a physical, mental, emotional or spiritual level throws off our natural balance.
Balance is a foundational aspect of life. If we can learn new perspectives on how to handle difficult thoughts, feelings and behaviors, we can perceive any situation in different ways. If there are only two perspectives, the inherent dualistic approach most people adapt, there is no balance. Could a table with two legs stand properly? Three legs at the very least are needed to balance a table. It's not likely a person will find balance in life when they are polarized with handling their stressors and problems. Hopelessness or extreme rigidity are a few examples of the mental states that come from an inability to see other sides of a given situation. There are numerous sides to truly understanding anything in life. All it takes is opening awareness and being willing to look at other possibilities.
We cannot get rid of stress because we live on earth. We can see stress for what it is and have the intention of balancing our life each day, every day. Stress is not necessary for productivity. We do not need stress to succeed. What we need is awareness, balance and a calm inner state. With this perception, living stress free is automatic.