How to relieve stress and other challenging emotions.
By Amy Crawford
Edited March 2016 (original post Feb 2013).
As many of you no doubt know by now, I had a little 'incident' occur early 2013 that could well have rocked my world for an awful lot longer than it did. In case you don't know about said incident, let me fill you in. Then I'm going to share one of my top tips on how to relieve stress and other challenging emotions.
At the time of this original post I had spent 5 months creating a recipe book (since released and called A Nourishing Kitchen) that was to be a reflection of my path to wellness (from chronic fatigue syndrome), a selection of recipes that aided my return to health - whole foods, processed sugar free, gluten free. Day in and day out I slowly created approximately 70 recipes, 85% of which were scribbled on little bits of paper as I worked in the kitchen. Let's just say this (substantial) project totally and utterly consumed me, as many of my friends and taste testers would know. Know too that I had barely earned a cent since my diagnosis early 2011.
Two weeks prior to the writing of this post, I flew to Sydney for a course and took that manilla folder of recipes with me, hoping to find the time to type them all up. They ended up in the bed side table, in fact there they remained when I returned to Melbourne only to be found by a cleaner who deemed them unworthy of lost property and threw them into the recycling bin. The following day the recycling bins were collected and off went my 70 odd recipes.
Needless to say, in light of the fact I was currently not working and had hoped this book would sustain me financially for many months ahead, this was a truly stressful situation.
That was then and the disaster (which is clearly not a true disaster) was over swiftly, in light of new learnings around this time. Quite remarkably, I moved through a period of short-lived devastation and come out the other side feeling a million bucks. In fact, I woke up the day after said 'bad news' filled with the most amazing sense of positivity and optimism. All because I had been given a tool to better my energy, I had come to understand that I was the power, I got to decide how I felt every minute of the day.
But let me assure you, this is not how things usually go in my world.
The purpose of today's post is to share with you how I made this happen, how I ensured that I did not lose my power to a situation that a year previously would have wreaked havoc on my energy and sent damaging cortisol throughout my system. I need to share this because the change in me was profound and it's ongoing impact on my energy is hugely noticeable. It's also a very simple exercise that we should all engage.
Universal life energy - it's a 'thing'.
We are all blessed with a universal life energy or vibration that flows through us every day, it's a scientifically proven 'thing'. You will know from certain people you have met in your life that some have bucket loads of beautiful energy (you walk away from them aware of how good you feel when around them) and others don't. That's because some people better manage their energy (you can read about how to do that here). This takes me on to the next very pertinent point.
How you choose to expend your energy each day is entirely up to you. Many of us unknowingly choose to lose power to forces outside of ourselves, we literally give it away - worrying about stuff that has happened in the past, fearing stuff that hasn't even happened yet, and then all the negative self talk that fills many a head during the day.
Significantly, we as individuals need to be aware that WE are in control of this energy - we get to choose how we expend it. No one can take that away from us.
Know too, that NOTHING has any meaning other than the meaning we give it. As Wayne Dyer said:
If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.
This is how you manage your energy each day.
For the purpose of today's post, it's perhaps easiest to think of your daily energy in money terms. That is, I'd like you to imagine that you have $100 of energy in your energy bank account every day. (Those of you have have experienced a CTC therapy session with me will already be experts!)
There is however a minor issue and that is by the time you wake in the morning you have most likely already lost much of your money: $7 to the boy or girl who bullied you at school, $10 to the girlfriend who slept with your boyfriend (or visa versa), $5 to the job you didn't manage to get and $5 to the bloke who stole your car park yesterday. By 9am you've had a shower, run for the bus, been caught in heavy traffic.. and at this point you've probably only got about $45 left for the entire day (and let's not get started on what happens throughout your day). By the time you hit the pillow that night I would hesitate a guess and suggest that you are now most likely in overdraft, yes?
Let's be honest guys, our cars are treated better than that! We service them when they should be serviced, we clean them, we fill them with fuel. Yet we run around like headless chooks, losing our power to every situation no matter how big or small. We continue to make disempowering decisions that markedly affect our energy.
But guess what? That is our choice. We are the power, we get to decide how we spend this cash.
Now this is not to say that you shouldn't feel negative emotions, because you are human and you will always feel. We will feel bloody awful many, many times in our lives but as I am learning, feeling bloody awful has it's upside.
Because it's when we feel rotten that we ask the really tough questions of ourselves and our situation; the deep soul searching questions, questions that inevitably result in life changing decisions.
Introducing the $100 rule.
Every time something stressful or challenging happens (someone cuts you off on the road, a friend says something negative about you, a parent frustrates you, you get a bad exam result) spend $2 for 2 minutes, or $5 for 5 minutes (whatever you feel it'll take) and FEEL that negative emotion, really feel it (be assertive, share your frustration, or maybe go punch your pillows for 2 minutes - whatever works).
It is vital that we recognise that we cannot walk around negative emotion, we must walk through it and to do that we must process it, bring it up and out.
Then significantly, you need to make a choice to let it go and choose to feel peace, or whatever feels right to you. You need to let it go. I promise you this gets easier and easier and when you come to understand that you DO get to choose, it is the most empowering realisation.
Further, you need to ask yourself whether the thought in your head is even worth spending money on. Is comparing yourself to someone else good use of money? What about fearing getting sick, fearing what others think of you? Is any of that good use of your money? Of course not. In this instance simply recognise that it is there, replace it with a positive thought and let it go. Choose to feel peace.
The upshot of the recipe book incident.
The recipe book incident took a little more than $2 of my power, and rightly so. 5 months of hard work is difficult to get over in two minutes. I told myself I could cry, swear like a trooper, really truly feel the pain of this reality for 30 minutes (it took 45 in the end). Then, I pulled a break on that draining, horrible feeling and declared to the universe that that was all the energy I was going to lose, because I am the power, I get to choose how I deal with every single situation.
Instead I chose to think about what the messages may have been, what I needed to learn from the situation. I felt a sense of optimism that the blessing would soon appear. I went to bed that night feeling strangely relaxed and woke up the next morning with an incredible sense of anticipation and optimism; my brain coming up with all sorts of new and exciting ideas for my recipe book in the making.
You see, it was entirely up to me to manage my energy in that way. If I had chosen to, I could have wallowed in this situation for a week, but who wants to wallow for a whole week?! Isn't 45 minutes of tears and carry on enough? I think so.
I choose peace, every time.
Fast forward 3 years.
A Nourishing Kitchen was the most exciting book I've created yet, and was to become the first of 4. It's winged it's way to thousands around the world. It's refined version is a reminder to me that there is a blessing in every challenge.
How do you feel about this learning? Are you consciously aware of how you spend your 'money' each day and are you now prepared to spend less?