* Dealing with Stress and my Inner Teenager

waves of lifeOn Tuesday I had a stressful day. A dip in the highs and lows of life day. It wasn’t surprising. I had some concerning news that took the wind out of my sails, and I developed a pressure cooker of a sinus headache. I was in a trough. I know how my mind and body are connected. My body tells me quite clearly when I have to pay attention to what is happening around me and what I am feeling. The message is clear –  take care of my well being. Pause. Connect to my Self.

In hindsight it is easy to catch, but at the time it may take a bit longer to realize that we are under stress. In this particular occasion it became very clear as I went through emails and started to read updates from fellow bloggers. As I painfully squinted at the screen. I was no longer present, but my inner judge was! “What do they want? … Why bother me with this?… How stupid! How superficial!… They are so self centered!… Don’t they get it?… This is trivial! Who has time for frivolity? Pl-ease get to the point.”

My thinking revealed that Val was not present or in balance. My defensive inner teenager had been Teenage bratunleashed.

Everyone was dumb. They didn’t get it. They didn’t see how much pain I was in. They took advantage of me. They tried to control me. All the unmet needs from the past were right there demanding attention.

Our inner teenager  is challenging and requires some kindness and understanding. Its in pain – emotionally and often physically. It has so many unmet needs and is trying to figure out how to get them met as they move from childhood into independence.  It is our ego at the height of all of its immature defensive glory.

One part of me was determined to be miserable and show the world (?) that I had every right to be. Thankfully the part of me who has learned to be a compassionate observer knew that it was time to unplug. NOW!

You are stressed. Take care of yourself  and find your middle ground. Be gentle and kind. Let things be as they are.

Stones surrounded by rushing waterIt was easier after I had taken half a Sinutab and put on my favorite restorative yoga music. I embraced everything that was coming up. I noticed resistance. I breathed and didn’t push. I found my middle ground and was able to stay there. Healing tears fell softly. I meditated and lost track of time. My husband came and went and let me be. He knows better than me sometimes ❤

I began to feel better and went to watch tv to distract myself … and found I had no appetite for it at all. ZERO. I wanted to stay in solitude. I journaled instead.

The old habits of distractions, shopping, cleaning, entertainment, drinking and eating had lost their pull in that moment. By being fully present and knowing how to ride the wave and find my middle ground helped me center myself.

So I honored the request to be alone and put my teenager to bed early. I woke up as a headache free and stress free adult once more. Ready to approach the day with a sense of curiosity.

Thank you to the makers of Sinutab, yoga and meditation, journaling, my husband and friends who support and nourish me, and to those of you who read this today!

May we all find our middle ground in the waves of life.

❤ Namaste ❤

 

Journaling or Journalling

Whichever way to spell it…. I admit that I was very reluctant to start journaling myself – I thought it was for people with lots of time and a leaning towards poetry … and American teenage girls… not me at all! It turned out that I was being too quick to judge.

Woman journaling

You can buy yourself a beautifully bound notebook to capture your personal experiences and insights in writing, set up a WordPress blog with this intention 😉 or simply open a document on your computer to allow you to capture all the things going on in your head or to vent your frustrations.

Journaling is about taking what is in your head and heart and putting it in writing.

No matter how you choose to do it, it can be powerful and beneficial!

 The Benefits
  • Research shows that writing about stressful life experiences boosts our emotional health and also improves immune function both in healthy people and in those with chronic illness. (It feels good and does you good!)
  • It gives you the freedom to express anything and everything that occurs to you, in whatever way you want to do it.
  • It can start a new train of thought or give you a new perspective. It opens space for creativity and new ideas.
  • It allows you to unburden yourself without complaining to other people.
  • It’s private and only between you and you, other people’s reactions don’t need to be considered.
  • As well as documenting your actions, plans and progress through life, it can be an indispensable healing tool in times of transition and stress.
  • Its a way to bring you to your Middle Ground. A place to connect with your Self. A place for centering and refreshment.
My Own Experience

I decided that I would spend 5 minutes every day writing my thoughts and ideas down in a word document before I opened my e-mails.  The first day I spent 5 minutes expressing how uncomfortable and unsure I was about it.

The second day I captured all the new ideas that had come to me during the night that I didn’t want to lose. It felt good to know it was there and I could refer to it later.

The third day was 10 minutes of venting my frustration about a disappointment and then an other 10 minutes on an action plan to move forward with an alternative course of action. Now that felt great. It can be a self coaching tool – and it saves spouses, friends and colleagues from being the recipients of the vent.

I found it works really well for me when I am over thinking and overloaded, or when something is happening in my life where I have little control over.

My other experience of journaling has been while at my Kripalu Yoga Teacher Training programs. It was introduced as a mindfulness practice. Writing by pen and capturing what came up during a particular exercise or practice. I found writing by pen was a different experience and allowed me to capture my stream of consciousness in the moment.

treasure chestBoth methodologies work for me at different times.

I came to see that my reluctance to start came from judgment and a fear of “digging up stuff that is best left alone”. What I found instead was buried treasure.

If you are like I was – just try it with an open mind and open heart and see what gems are there to be discovered.

 

Please share your own journaling or journalling story here if you like!