The new “normal” is a pandemic that has turned endemic. That means the high levels of work and cultural stress will be a part of the new normal. We know stress causes health issues. It is easy to overlook or deny the causes of stress until it is too late. Here are some practical tactics and tools to help you cope.
Dealing with Stress and Anxiety
Conquering stress is not an option; it’s vital to our health and wellness. When left untreated, stress causes several health problems. It’s responsible for everything from headaches and insomnia to mental breakdowns and heart attacks. Many errors in judgment find it a major contributing factor. So learning to spot the warning signs, we can make changes before bad things happen.
We need to release the psychological pressures of the modern world. Otherwise, it will affect every area of life. The effects of stress sneak up on you. They are an accumulation of small things that are subtle and hard to recognize. A pandemic only intensifies the psychological pressures. That’s why you need tools to cope with stress. With the right tools, you relieve the forces that cause mental and physical ailments.
When we get used to living with stress, it becomes more dangerous. If we get accustomed to stress, we fail to recognize the health consequences until it’s too late. We understand how being in a car accident is stressful. But we become used to the constant stress of an ongoing crisis.
Warning Signs of Work and Cultural Stress
If we can learn how stress manifests in our lives, we can take the proper steps to handle it. The first step in conquering stress is admitting that it exists. To cope with stress and anxiety, you must recognize and acknowledge it. Once you know it’s happening, and then you can apply the proper remedy. If you have any of the three significant warning signs below, it’s time to make some changes.
Sometimes a simple change can have a very positive effect. The modern lifestyle fills our lives with stress, but we can recognize this psychological pressure and use it positively.
Stress comes in many forms. The psychological pressures of our modern world are a recent development for humanity. Work and cultural stress are situations we just learn to cope with in order to maintain our health and wellness.
1. Pessimistic Thinking or Feeling Dissatisfied
Do you frequently have pessimistic thoughts and feel dissatisfied with life? It’s natural to be mindful of undesirable consequences. But when worst-case scenarios become the primary topic of your thought-life, it becomes a source of emotional and physical stress. When you feel stressed out, you attract more of the same feelings.
Do you have negative, overly skeptical or feelings? Are you resentful and unhappy with your life? These are also potential signs of stress. When our thinking becomes negative, it is easy to spiral downward to more unhealthy thoughts and feelings. Strange as it seems, this is also a comfort zone, even though it is harmful.
The key is recognizing when you are in an emotional whirlpool. Then you can make some changes. It would be best if you changed negative thinking patterns to find solutions. Take a break. Engage in self-care. Raise your spirits to find peace of mind, even during crisis circumstances. At the end of this article, you’ll find the strategies to address this. Here are the warning signs of stress.
2. Feeling Sick and Tired
You’ve probably heard the expression, “I’m sick and tired of this or that.” Being chronically tired is only a tiny step away from being physically or mentally ill. Do you sleep a lot on a day off from work but awaken only more tired? Are you mentally lethargic even after that cup of coffee?
These are signs of work and cultural stress that have gone unchecked. Are you constantly catching colds, persistent headaches, or body aches and pains? These can also be signs of an overstressed immune and nervous system. Western medicine prescribes a pill to stimulate or kill the infection, but the root cause remains — an overstressed person.
If you find you are in an emotional whirlpool. Then you can implement some changes to raise your spirits and bring about peace in your life, regardless of your circumstances. The goal is to achieve emotional equilibrium. But in today’s world, it isn’t easy to do. At the end of this article, you’ll find the strategies to help you move closer to this goal. Here is one more area of concern.
3. Errors and Self-Doubt
Errors and Self-Doubt go hand in hand. Or if you prefer Self-Doubt and Errors. Either way, they can multiply. The more errors you make, the more self-doubt and second-guessing. It leads to more mistakes. The cycle is debilitating and only causes more and more stress. It doesn’t matter if you are engaged in something physical or mental.
If you realize this is happening, you can do something about it. Then you can make some changes. Try to recall the things you’ve done right. Focus on the successes.
Errors are one of the most common issues that arise in the workplace. If you make errors, you know your job is in jeopardy. In turn, this creates more stress, which increases the probability you’ll make more mistakes. Most work environments have a progressive discipline for people who aren’t performing. So, instead of making fewer errors the added work and cultural stress lead to more errors.
So, when your company places you on a performance improvement plan, your stress escalates. If you cannot cope with the increased pressure, you are more likely to make more errors. It’s a vicious spiral. It makes you susceptible to the other major stress factors of pessimistic thinking and feeling tired. Learn to recognize the warning signs for this early. Otherwise, you’ll be unemployed, which is one of the most stressful experiences in anyone’s life.
Tools to Cope with Stress and Anxiety
If you identify with any of the above areas, you are not alone. Here are some strategies to move you toward a peaceful state from a stressful state:
Nature & Nurture
Take a walk in the wilderness or park. Above all, learn the basic techniques for “Forest Bathing.” Essentially, this practice focuses your attention on your body and the landscape. It gets you out of your head.
If you can, find a natural setting. Nature is full of healing. The ideal place is the wilderness. Someplace untouched by the hand of man is best. If a natural environment isn’t available, walk in a quiet park where you can hear and see the world’s natural beauty can work. If you need to walk in the city, walk on the grass or bare ground when possible, it is better than concrete and asphalt. But, if you are in the town, at least get outdoors and look at the sky. If you are stuck inside, visualize a place in nature.
The key here is to stop ruminating and get out of your head. Find a place that is calming and peaceful. Walking outdoors will improve our attitude.
When you catch yourself ruminating, stop. Take a break. It’s okay to reminisce. But, re-running conversations and events past can be self-destructive. Tell yourself to leave them alone for a while. Walk outdoors and use your senses to feel how hot or cold it is, smell the season, listen for the birds. If at all possible, camp out in the wilderness. Yes, you’ll have to fight bugs and weather, but your spirit will reconnect with nature. Nature is our home.
Meditate and bask in the state of pure consciousness, even if it’s just for 5 minutes. If you don’t know how to meditate to reach this state, many do not find someone to teach you Japa or Transcendental Meditation.
You can start by learning basic mindfulness meditation techniques. It is easy to learn these seated and moving meditative practices you can use anywhere for any length of time. Learning to quiet the mind is an asset. It’s the most powerful tool for conquering stress.
Chant a mantra designed to either bring peace or break down the barriers in your way. Find a mantra that resonates with you.
When you Chant, a mantra takes the mind out of your normal hectic problem identification mode to a peaceful but energizing mood. It helps ease the anxiety and anxiety of thought patterns that cause stress. It also enables our heart to relax from any negative emotional state, thus reducing stress.
Read Something New and Challenging
Reading is how we install new software in our minds. It’s essential to read something fun and read things that stretch your thinking. Above all, read things outside of your comfort zone. Believe it or not, this will reduce your stress. It gives the mind something new to think about, which is therapeutic. It also creates new neuron pathways. In turn, this helps you to cope with stress and anxiety.
The above strategies are a few of the core spiritual technologies we recommend. Several others are also effective in dealing with the stresses of life. Engage in positive life-affirming activities that will safeguard your health and wellness. So, we recommend learning as many of the ancient spiritual technologies. These are consciousness development tools. They help expand awareness.
Do the things that help restore your emotional equilibrium. You cannot help others when you need nurturing. Taking care of yourself gives you the energy to help others. Self-care is not selfish if we do it in moderation.
Use Consciousness Development Tools
We do not exist between our ears. The real you is the person you talk to inside your head. Time or space are not limiting factors for the Observer. The design of consciousness is ready-made to access higher states of consciousness. All we need are the keys to open our awareness, and these tools exist. We call these tools spiritual technologies.
Everyone has their “own” way of awakening their spiritual gifts sleeping in their DNA. Awakening is a process. When we open them, it sets our spiritual walk into motion. It opens our minds to new potentials.
Accessing these spiritual gifts was the central goal of many ancient cultures. We can trace the investigation of consciousness back to ancient cultures around the world. We enjoy the benefits of generations of their research. These early pioneers give us several tools for exploring consciousness. Using these tools, we can reach higher states of awareness that differ from waking, sleeping, and dreaming.
We use a blended learning model incorporating those processes which are safe and reliable. We are not the first to use this eclectic approach. For example, Gurdjieff’s method was to adopt techniques proven effective. Human physiology hasn’t changed in thousands of years. The work of the ancient pioneers stands the test of time.
Stress and anxiety are hidden killers. When you ignore or deny the pressures, you increase their severity. Instead, take a proactive approach and learn to implement the tools to relieve mental stress.
Are you interested in spiritual exploration? Check out the blended learning process at the core of our teaching process. We offer this curriculum through our individually tailored virtual learning academy and traditional face-to-face sessions. It reflects what Joseph Campbell called the Hero’s Journey (1). Our learning options include both face-to-face and virtual learning sessions.
(1) Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia