Break Your Stress Addiction In 5 Steps


 

Abstract:
 

When I gave up my daytime job and moved to the sunny mediterranean to work full-time on my two businesses, I was looking forward to a simpler, slower life. Several months in, I realised that I was still as stressed and busy as before.
 

I’ve spoken about our constant need to be busy before. Turns out it’s not just a habit, but an actual addiction. I’m not all zen just yet but have found ways to slowly break free and wean myself off, and I’ll share them with you in the following.
 

Your mission today is to lean how to break your addiction to stress.
 
 

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Task 1: Recognise whether you’re addicted

 

Stress is not just a concept, it manifests in physical reactions of the body that serve to ensure our survival. Adrenalin pumps through us, our pulse rate increases. We sweat more, sleep less, and are on the alert.
 

All very useful when you’re facing an imminent danger. As a permanent state, it’s absolutely catastrophic. We can even get addicted to the adrenalin, and as a society, we are. Some of the signs include:

  • Finding it hard to “switch off”
  • Thinking of work when you’re supposed to be resting
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Compensating by overeating, over-exercising or similar methods
  • Endlessly watching mindless TV or scrolling through social media
  • Constantly thinking that you’ll “soon” slow down

stress addiction

Photo by Katie Treadway on unsplash.com


 

Task 2: Break your stress addiction

 

First of all: This will take time. I’m finding that just like with any other addiction, I must wean myself off my “drug”. Here are some steps I’ve found useful.

  1. A cut-off time for all media in the evening (TV, radio, internet, phone)
  2. Generous blocks of time for my passions
  3. Plenty of sleep
  4. Meeting another human face-to-face at least once a week
  5. Time spent in nature at least once a week

The “Do Nothing For 10 Minutes” Challenge


 

Abstract:
 

I feel the need to raise the alarm: We as a society are losing the ability to be idle.
 

I’ve spoken about the ideal of being busy before, but what I mean here is not actual work, but rather being occupied (or preoccupied). It’s about listening to news or staring at our phones whenever we have a minute. Our minds, constantly bombarded with stimuli, can’t cope, and it makes us stressed, tense, and ultimately, sick.
 

Your challenge today is to spend 10 minutes doing nothing.
 
 

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Task 1: Identify your distraction points

 

For me, it’s being at home. I sit in front of the computer most of the day, and I find myself still at the computer when I’ve nothing to do, scrolling through social media. It’s terrible!
 

Others have to have the TV on or the radio blaring in the background. Waiting rooms, bus stops, cafes, public transport – they listen to music and/or stare a their phones or tablets.
 

Find out when you’re most in danger to use “fillers” such as your phone or the TV, or even a good old-fashioned magazine. Make a note of them.
 

do nothing
 

Task 2: Do nothing for 10 minutes

 

This isn’t a once-off – the challenge is to do nothing for 10 minutes every day for at least one week. Are you up for it?
 

Here’s what defines “doing nothing”:

  • no music/TV/videos/podcasts on
  • not doing anything with your hands (such as knitting)
  • no meditating or napping
  • no reading

Sit in a quiet place. Imagine the old farmer on the bench outside his house or a romantic image of a girl in a window seat. Set a timer for 10 minutes and do absolutely nothing. Notice how you feel.
 

As a bonus, try and extend this newly learned ability to public spaces. Resist your phone at the aforementioned bus stop or if you’re in a cafe on your own. Look around, do some people watching instead. Your mind and your mood will benefit.

3 Reasons Why You Need A To-Don’t List


 

Abstract:
 

Hands up who’s sick of to-do lists? If you haven’t tried them – don’t. I have actually suggested them in the past, but only ever in specific circumstances. In general I think to do lists are keeping us in a hamster wheel forever, reminding us that the work is never done, that we’re always on the go, and adding to our stress.
 

Your mission is to learn how to use a To-Don’t List for the benefit of your passions and your peace of mind.
 
 

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Task 1: Avoid the pitfalls

 

A list of things that you shouldn’t do? Sounds great. There is, however, the danger that you’ll inadvertently set yourself up for failure if you’re not careful.
 

General wisdom is not to focus on what you don’t want. The way energy and the law of attraction works is that you’ll attract what you give most energy to. So the danger is to put a lot of energy into this list, which will lead to you getting things you’re trying to avoid.
 

to-don't list

Photo by bedrck on pixabay.com


 

Task 2: Why you need a To-Don’t List

 

So why create a To-Don’t List at all? There are a few good reasons.

  1. It helps you to set boundaries. You may know that you don’t want to spend time with a certain annoying colleague (or even relative). One day you’re overwhelmed, lots going on, and they spring an invite on you. Before you know it, you’ve said yes.
  2. It nudges you when you’re about to go wrong. How many times do we end up focusing on what doesn’t light us up? If you have in writing what you definitely don’t want to waste energy on, you’ll remember much more easily when it’s about to happen, and can course-correct.
  3. It helps you make decisions. If you write down things you don’t want to spend time on, every time you’re faced with a “do I go to that event/meeting/workshop” kind of question, check it against your To-Don’t List. If it resembles any item there, use your time for something that lights you up instead.

Why Circling Is Your Secret Weapon

Circling, Mastermind

Have you ever tried to keep up some kind of positive routine? Ever tried to eat healthy when everyone around you celebrated junk food and alcohol? Or to pursue your passion and consciously seek joy when TV and stress are the norm? I don’t know about you, but I fail fairly regularly.
 

Being aware and conscious and making good choices can feel like a constant uphill struggle. It’s like “normality” pulls us back down more effectively than gravity connects us to the surface of our planet. I choose quotes around “normality” because it is, of course, BS. What we think of as a normal life has been established within the last 100-200 years, tops. It’s not even particularly suited to humans, this way of life we’ve chosen, and yet it’s anchored in our heads as the way the world works and the only possible life.
 

If you’re committed to positive change, you automatically set yourself up for what can feel like hard work. You are constantly swimming against the tide of the rest of society. Add to that our human tendency to take the path of least resistance with ourselves, and suddenly the sofa and a TV series look a lot more appealing than that book you’re trying to write or your dancing shoes.
 

There’s a very good reason though why this is so, and ways to make it easier for you to stick with what brings you joy. Let me show you!
 
 

 
 

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Circling for empowerment

 

Humans are herd animals. On our own, we’re actually fairly weak and not very suited to survival. The way homo sapiens survived from the beginning of our existence, was by banding together in groups, and this behaviour is deeply ingrained in our subconscious.
 

Of course, in today’s society the individual is celebrated, because we’ve created a much safer way of life and are no longer in danger of being eaten by wild animals. However, we still have that urge to stick together. It’s been with us for tens of thousands of years; a habit that has been so long established and used to be this crucial to survival, is not so easily broken.
 

It’s this which can pull us down when we try to soar in joy and fulfillment, but the same mechanic can also work in our favour. Basically, in order to succeed at anything, we need the support of other humans. It’s not a weakness or a lack of individuality, it’s simply the way we are hard-wired to operate. Coaching is of course one way of getting support. Another is circling.
 

When I say “circling”, I mean a wide variety of activities. Basically, I would count as a circle any type of group coming together regularly with a similar goal. I’ll give you a few examples of groups, but in reality, the possibilities are endless! Find something which works for you, and transforming your life will be a breeze.
 
 

Mastermind

 

I’ll start with the most powerful way of circling. A mastermind is a group of people who support each other to reach certain goals. Often, it’s business people who meet either in person, or online (or by phone conference) to share goals, brainstorm possible solutions to a challenge one of them might be facing, and support each other. Masterminds are so powerful, people spend hundreds per month to be part of one.
 

The concept is applicable to everything, though – people who pursue their passions, for example! Why not brainstorm ways of creating space for passions every day, and support to stick with doing what you love? The possibilities are endless.
 
 

Hobby groups, drumming circles, etc.

 

Two of my best friends joined a drum circle and couldn’t shut up about it. There’s something incredibly empowering about sitting with others and drumming out a free rhythm which will eventually merge into a group rhythm, a voice beyond the individual’s. It’s synergy in motion.
 

There are all sorts of hobby and interest groups if your passion is something shareable. There are crafting groups, knitting circles, dance groups, you name it. The great thing about those is that the fees are mostly nominal – usually just the cost of the room you’re meeting in.
 
 

Women’s circles

 

Women are still brought up to be competitive with each other. Society can be rather toxic for us! Really, there’s nothing more powerful than a bunch of women who unconditionally support each other.
 

Ever since the 70s, women circling have been changing communities and more importantly, women’s own hearts and lives. More recently, the “Red Tent” movement (google it) has brought forth safe spaces for women to express themselves and evolve in. Get up, get going, and get involved! You’ll wonder how you ever did without.

Passion Or Success?

Pursue Your Passion, break through to success

“Passion” is a buzz-word right now. Wherever you look, there’s another guru telling you how you need to pursue your passion above everything else. The pursuit of passion is so relentless, it can make you feel exhausted just thinking about it.
 

And here I am calling myself a “Passions Priority Coach”. Why’s that?
 

Well, whenever there’s a lot of hype around something, there’s usually a reason why it became so popular in the first place. Passions are a case in point. I’m far from telling you that you need to feel passionate 24/7 or else you fail at life, but I am telling you to take a good look at the amount of joy and passion present in your days. They might just be the key to a lot more things than you ever suspected.
 

 
 

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What’s a “passion”, anyway?

 

The way I define “passion” is simple: It’s anything that lights you up. Your passion is that thing you could do all day, that makes you forget time. You feel inspired, pumped, wired, or simply very, very content.
 

Your passion could be an art or craft. It could be music, dancing, reading, writing. For some, their passion is a hobby or a particular interest they love pursuing. And remember that you don’t necessarily just have one passion. A lot of us are multi-passionate, or multi-potentialists, meaning that we have different interests which light us up, and they may change over the years.
 
 

Passion or success/money!

 
When I speak about passions, it’s easy to get agreement from people. Everybody wants to follow their passions, don’t they? It’s self explanatory.
 

The reason why I’m doing the work I do, is that most people see passions as something of an afterthought. They have their work or business, which is ideally related to a passion, but it’s a serious undertaking and it has to come first. Passions are relegated to the 30 minutes on a Sunday evening when the “real” work is done.
 

And that, right there, is the issue. People focus on success and “making a living” – or a fortune, even – and neglect what living is actually all about: enjoyment. Passion. Love. The moments that stay with you.
 
 

Centre or periphery?

 

You may well argue that you still need to pay the bills, and a business can make you feel fulfilled, too. You are absolutely right, of course. I’m not for one moment suggesting that you give up on the practicalities of life in favour of your passion or passions. My point is about focus.
 

You see, something happens to our souls when we realise that joy, passion, the expansive feeling of doing exactly what we love most, are really what life is all about. If we start putting our main focus on our passions, a shift happens. It’s like our DNA changes, like every cell in our bodies rearranges itself in a new, lighter, joyful pattern.
 

This doesn’t crowd out necessities like paying bills; on the contrary, once we have our priorities right, time seems to expand and “busy” becomes a thing of the past. I see it time and time again with my Coaching clients. They gush about co-incidences, serendipitous meetings, and new levels of success in jobs or businesses.
 
 

The highest form of Self Care

 

The truth is that catering to our passions, making them front and centre in our lives, is the ultimate act of Self Care. It leads to our filling up with joy and love, to the point where we overflow and this love seeps into everything else we do, until it permeates every area of our lives.
 

Yes, this does include success, careers and businesses, especially if we love what we do. It can, however, infuse even the most menial work with a new sense of meaning and purpose. Ever since I made the shift to passions-centered living, every day has become meaningful. I no longer live for the weekend. And every time I stop to think about my life, I’m immediately flooded with a deep, heartfelt gratitude, a feeling so profound it occasionally moves me to tears.
 

There’s only one feeling that beats this profound joy, and that’s witnessing the same joy grow in others. It’s why I am a Passions Coach! I can think of no greater privilege than to be around a fully realised human being, and having a hand in bringing this about is the best job I can think of.
 

Remember what used to make you happy. Think of the thing you always wanted to try. When will now be the right time to pursue them? Dare it, and watch your life unfold.