“It all begins and ends in the mind. What you give power to has power over you.”

In this contemporary society most people suffer from "stress" whether we want to accept or not.

Stress is defined as "a physical, mental and/or emotional factor that causes tension in the body and in the mind". It is the body's response to pressures caused by an unexpected situation.

Stress can be the result of an extremely restless mind. It also occurs due to the inability to not enjoy the "present" either through regrets or hurts of the past or fear of the uncertainty of the future. Stress is a wall that blocks the energetic movement within the being causing negative emotions and physical discomfort that can have chronic effects if not treated in time.

Stress can be beneficial and even necessary to resolve situations in the short term because it causes some pressure that causes us to take action to the challenges of existence. When we are in situations of danger, the body generates an automatic response system called "flight or fight" which produces certain hormones (such as adrenaline or cortisol) that help respond quickly to threats. When this happens, the heartbeat accelerates, fat and sugar move faster to obtain immediate energy to prepare the muscles for movement.

However, stress can also become a permanent condition difficult to handle. If the body has to respond to stressful situations frequently, the effects of stress keep you in a constant alert survival state that instead of helping can cause overwhelming pressure. This constant pressure can be exhausting and very draining for the body.

What are the causes of stress?

Although these may vary from person to person, some of these are:

  • Working on something you don’t like. Work excess hours a day and/or under circumstances of danger, among others.

  • Lack of time to do the activities that you like and that fill your soul.

  • Not being in contact with nature constantly.

  • The infinite financial obligations.

  • The inability to surrender to what is. Live thinking about the past and regretting what you did or did not do. Living in the future, without enjoying the here and now.

  • The traffic and the collective hurry in the streets.

  • The desire to do everything perfectly to impress others. The ego.

  • Interpersonal relationships. Children.

  • Watching too much television and news.

  • Using the cell phone and social networks excessively.

  • Important changes in life such as moving, marriages, divorces, loss or promotion at work, death of a loved one.

What can be some of its effects?

  • Permanent fatigue either because of the insomnia that anxiety usually causes or the excess of cortisol in the body that in the first instance gives a "boost" of energy but if it is very frequent the brain limits its production and this can cause exhaustion.

  • Muscle aches or spasms that in turn can cause arthritis or fibromyalgia.

  • Cardiovascular diseases, asthma, high blood pressure, and stroke.

  • Skin diseases such as rosacea, acne, psoriasis, eczema and hair loss.

  • Headaches, tension in the neck, jaw, and shoulders.

  • It weakens the immune system.

  • Libido reduction.

  • Deterioration of the digestive system.

  • Depression.

  • Reduction of the ability to enjoy activities that you normally liked.

  • Fear and paranoia

How can you break-free from stress?

Managing stress when it becomes part of your daily life without you realizing it is not an easy task. And even less when there are so many distractions that can make you believe that you have everything under control AKA alcohol, legal drugs, illegal drugs, sugar, compulsive shopping, gambling, etc. But… it is more difficult to live stressed out all the time so even though changing this mental habit is hard, I recommend making efforts before stress causes you to somatize a disease that will require you much more effort to cure.

There is no exact formula or medicine to cure stress. In fact, this is something that we can never cure 100%. However, there are endless ways to improve it. The ones that worked best for me are the following:

Contact with Nature

We are part of her and she is part of us. Together we form an inseparable WHOLE. By isolating ourselves from it with so many cables, concrete, asphalt, we also distance ourselves from an important part of our essence, of our origin.

Seek to be in touch with nature DAILY. Walk on the grass barefoot, wake up earlier to see the sunrise, bathe in the sea, hug a tree, touch the flowers, fill your interior spaces with plants… Make an essential part of your daily routine being in contact with her, you will feel calmer, clearer, more joyful. Nothing, nothing, nothing like the Natural Force.

Observe your thoughts

First you must understand that you and your thoughts are two different things. Set aside about five minutes a day to close your eyes, breathe deeply and listen to your thoughts. In doing so, you will begin to feel your presence, your inner self, which is often difficult to hear because the voice of the mind does not stop chatting. By repeating this exercise, little by little your thoughts will lose power over you as you will stop focusing all your energy on the mind. This will be the beginning of the end of your emotions and involuntary thoughts. You will begin to experience gaps of no-mind of few seconds at first, but then with practice these gaps will be longer. And when these moments of no-mind happen, the peace, happiness and clarity that you feel is inexplicable.

If you manage to learn some technique to master the mind and detach yourself from your thoughts, your stress will be diminished by a large percentage. This is because when you stop listening to the voice of the mind and hear the voice of your soul, any situation that is disturbing you loses strength and you learn to see your reality from another perspective. A more positive and hopeful, one in which you learn to see the circumstances of your life as teachings from which you must learn something to make your soul evolve and fulfill its purpose of life.

Natural Medicine

I'm a fan of plants and herbs. I am convinced that each one of them is given to us by the Earth to balance some function of our body, soul or spirit. Three fantastic herbs to lower stress levels are the following:

  • Chamomile: This is a very popular herb with very effective benefits to reduce anxiety, depression and insomnia.

  • Ashwagandha: Native from India, Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb, meaning that it adapts to the body and its needs, helping it to resist to stress damage.It reduces the levels of cortisol (Stress hormone) and fights symptoms of anxiety and depression.

  • Lavender: The flowers, leaves and Lavender oil are used as a natural medicine to treat anxiety, insomnia, depression, headaches, among others. A very common way to use it is in essential oils. If you want to make your own oils, read this article on How to make lavender oil

Happy DIY Home. It is completely free and you can find it here: 

Turn off the television, Twitter and any platform news provider

If you are an empath, consider getting away from the news for a while. I used to be one of those who got up at midnight to check twitter, I cooked, drove while listening to the news. I tried to keep as informed as possible of what was happening both in my country (Venezuela) and in the rest of the world. I used to feel anger, sadness and helplessness to hear the barbarities that were occurring daily.

One fine day (about a year ago) I decided to disconnect from the news and it was at that moment that I realized that I was addicted to these and that they affected me greatly. Being informed of everything did not bring anything good to my life, my productivity decreased and therefore my work was affected. I also understood that the news rather than inform me, instilled fear and filled my head with negative ideas. And this caused me a lot of stress.

Not seeing news on a day-to-day basis has made me feel much more aware of my own reality, grateful for each day and focused on the things I can influence. I understood that if I want to see a positive change in the world, it must start with me.

Detoxifying the news for a while will make you feel much better.

Good Quality Sleep

Getting enough sleep and at the right times is essential to survive. Not sleeping can raise cortisol levels, causing you to wake up stressed and in a bad mood. To sleep well you can try before going to bed doing some yoga poses, deep and slow breathing techniques and/or meditating. Try also to get away from the light emitted by digital devices such as television, cell phones, tablets. The earlier go to sleep the better. Scientific studies indicate that the best quality of sleep is obtained when the circadian rhythm is at its lowest point, between 9:00 PM and 5:00 AM. So, consider going to sleep earlier.

Give thanks, Be Patient and Forgive

When you are thankful, you appreciate everything that surrounds you. This elevates your vibration, raises your energy, positivizes you. And in a positive mind it is more difficult for negative thoughts to enter.

By being patient, you learn to trust that everything happens when it has to and yo don’t despair or get disappointed when what you desire is not immediately fulfilled. You remain motivated, confident that the times of the Universe are perfect.

Forgive yourself, forgive everyone. Forgiving is POWERFUL, it frees you from waiting for others to recognize the damage you thought they did to you. It pacifies you, takes weight away from you.

The options to reduce stress are endless. But there is one that I feel is the most important and effective.

Watch yourself, go within…

What would you do if it was the last day of your life…

Listen only to yourself. Nobody else other than you has the key to lead a blissful life.

And connect with your essence ... Life is too short to not enjoy it to the fullest.

“Life doesn’t happen to you, it happens for you”

By Fabiola Marquez

Creative Director | WARIMBA