Updated: Jul 13, 2020
Written by: Lea Gerlock, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise
So, what if I told you that stress is not your enemy? Would you believe me? Probably not. But the truth is that stress is not the culprit of our struggles, it’s not the monster that’s lurking in the shadows, it’s not the beast that gives us grey hair and yet another wrinkle. It’s actually our reaction to stress that does all of that. What, you ask? Crazy, right?
As a life coach specializing in breaking the cycle of trauma and transitioning to a better reality, I often say this to clients. And the response is always the same. Disbelief, resistance, and sometimes, even a little bit of disdain and resentment.
Do you know why you’re inclined not to believe what I just said? Because once you believe that, you have to accept that you and you alone are in full and total control of the level of stress in your life. You get to choose your reaction. Therefore you’re in the driver’s seat.
So, how do we solve this problem? How do we control our reaction and make stress a tamed, whimpering wannabe-beast?
Let’s start with the basics. Life is full of transitions. Some are welcomed, while others, not so much. We put a ton of energy into resisting those transitions that we do not want, and it’s kind of like a caterpillar refusing to spin its cocoon. You can’t go against nature and expect things to go smoothly. Simply put, transitions in life are inevitable, and they’re the means by which we grow as humans. We don’t have to embrace each one and get excited about it, especially difficult transitions like divorce, the loss of a loved one, getting laid off from a job that provided all of our income, etc. But we do have to show up because life won’t stop for us. Think of it as a merry go round that never stops spinning.
Let’s talk about what happens when we’re feeling stressed. Suddenly, we lose our inspiration and motivation, and even worse, our connection to ourselves. We start to question our values, our purpose, and (if the road gets bumpy enough), why we’re even here. We may try to distract ourselves by juggling a bunch of tasks at once, simply because focusing on the problem at hand becomes exhausting and overwhelming. We tend not to sleep as well, we stop eating healthy foods and just drown our emotions in takeout, and we either stop exercising or distract ourselves by spending hours in the gym, so we don’t have to face our emotions.
"Remind yourself that you’re human, and humans are messy."
So, what can we do when life takes us down a road we’d rather have detoured?
The key is to lean into our emotions, and figure out what we’re really feeling, and just let ourselves feel that. Too often, we scold ourselves for the way we feel about things. But whatever your feelings may be, I assure you they are valid. And you need to remind yourself that. Often, just acknowledging the emotions you’re feeling, and realizing that it’s totally ok to feel the way you do goes a long way towards alleviating feeling stressed.
The way we perceive our emotions has a lot of influence on how we manage ourselves and others. So next time you’re feeling stressed, take a moment to ask yourself what you’re really feeling, and just let yourself feel that, to drown in that emotion. And remind yourself that you’re human, and humans are messy. You can’t control your life, but you can control the way you choose to do life.
Lea Gerlock, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Lea Gerlock is the Founder and CEO of Personal Chapter, a life coaching and personal development empire focusing on mastering all transitions in order to step into one’s highest potential. As a divorced mom of 3 and recovering alcoholic, Lea was able to break through the fear, self-doubt and uncertainty that comes with major transitions in life. After having overcome her own battles, Lea quickly learned that so many people struggle with navigating through major and minor transitions. Her superpower is helping people transition into the next and very best chapter of their lives. When Lea is not working, she enjoys travelling, long walks on the beach and spending time with her 3 amazing sons.