Inspirational Articles

No more Stress, Please – Part 1

No more Stress, Please – Part 1

A message from Gord Riddell – May Newsletter

Hello Everyone, welcome to our newsletter and to the beautiful month of May. However, you are probably noticing how much stress people including yourself seem to be experiencing these days. From personal, to business to politics, the world around us has become one stressed-out mess.

Stress is much more than just about being uptight. Stress is a catch-all phrase that encompasses the impact physically, emotionally and spiritually of living in a heightened state of fight or flight. Always in a state to defend our life, even though the stressors are probably not life threatening, but it sure feels that way some days.

We are all uniquely built and have unique tolerance levels, where one person can work and live in a tension filled environment, imagine first responders like police, fire, paramedics and emergency room personnel and their stress levels. Now their neighbour could not handle a third of their stress level. It is well documented the long term negative effects on our life, health and longevity when our bodily systems are overly stimulated. We want to learn what is and is not good for us, and changing to less stressful ways to live our life.

This may be the perfect time to look at some de-stressing ideas so that you are carrying less stress in your life. Much of what follows here, and in Part 2, you may look at and think I already know that, and yes, you probably do know. Do you implement them though? What we know and what we do are often two very different things.

The paradoxical nature of us weird and awesome human beings is, we may know this stuff, we have studied it and may even have taught it, but as the stressors in our life increase, one by one the very things we know to be empirically beneficial for us, we stop doing. We stop doing life enhancing activities when we stress out. We stop sleeping, we stop eating things that are good for us, we stop meditating, and we don’t exercise, there is just no time. We ruminate on our stressors going over and over them, and we may be doing to excess damaging activities like drinking or using recreational drugs. This is remarkable, to admit we inflict pain upon our self proportional to our level of stress, or perhaps I should be saying distress.

In my 35 years in this field this is what I know, that it is almost always when we stop doing the basics that we get into trouble. A dancer or athlete would never consider performing or even rehearsing without going through their basic warm-up, they know the consequences of improper preparation and the danger of sustaining injuries. Those of us who know the basics of breathing, meditating and self-care are guilty of not doing our basic warm up each day. As we stop doing the basics our stress levels increase to damaging heights wreaking havoc on our bodies.

As taught by the great masters throughout history from the Stoics of ancient Greece to the Buddha, I can attest to their teaching, that our suffering, or stress, is in direct proportion to the value we place on the thing we perceive is stressing us. The more our perceived value of something is, the greater our distress will be if things go askew. Stress has a way of becoming all encompassing, its affects are cumulative, meaning just a night’s sleep or a weekend away will not erase the physical, emotional and spiritual impact it has on us. With high levels of stress eventually everything feels like a burden, even socializing.

It is important to sort through all aspects of your life and try to clearly identify what may be primary causes of your stress. Is it personal, your lifestyle, is it with your job, your spouse, aging parents or is being subjected to the negativity of the media and the world at large that is finding its way to a stressful level in your beingness? It is important you know some of the sources you see as causing you distress. To not do this exercise leaves you in the dark with your stress. If that is the case you will continue to react to these stressors. However, to know some of these things puts you in a much more powerful position allowing you to respond to situations and not have to react.

Look for Part 2 of this series on Stress and the Modern Human in our June newsletter.

I wrote this message on Mother’s Day, a day of remembrance for me as I remember my own Mother and Grandmother who were so instrumental in my life and who I am sure continue to guide and assist me from the next expression of life. I want to take this moment to honour all Mothers for their tireless energy and love required to raise children and who continue to be Mothers, no matter how old their children are. I honour all women this Mothers’ Day whether they be a biological parent or not for their tireless contributions to our society. Without whose presence I wonder- would there even be a society? They continue to teach men so much about being human. I extend a huge Thank You for your wisdom.

Wishing you warm sunshine, new growth and gentle breezes.

Be Well and Live Well

~ Gord Riddell