Stress Strategy: Flex Your Spiritual Muscles

by : Michelle Casto

In his book, Stress Without Distress, Dr. Selye suggests that a person’s interpretation of stress is not dependent solely on an external event, but also depends upon the perception of the event and the meaning he or she assigns it. So, how you look at a situation determines if you will respond to it as threatening or challenging.

It has been discovered that the mind is responsible for the problems we find in our bodies. It is our attitudes that cause our physical problems. We create our own internal stress caused by our beliefs, attitudes, emotions, and reactions to ourselves and the world around us. Because of the way we choose to perceive life, we decide whether we are going to add stress to our lives, or instead, to keep stress at a low level. If we maintain a harmonious attitude and positive outlook, we eliminate much stress that would occur if we were negative and resisted the flow of life.

The Earth could be likened to the ultimate University, where we are here to learn and grow. We add stress to our lives because we are learning. There is a lesson to be learned in every triumph as well as failure. Look for the lessons in your life. Listen to your inner wisdom and let your intuition guide your decisions. The more you are willing to learn, the more stressful your life may become. However, the more willing you are to accept the help that’s available to you, the more help you will receive. The more involved you are in your relationship with Spirit, the smoother and more peaceful will be your journey. The more you can trust, the more you can let go, the more you let God take care of you, the more peace you feel.

Bad things do happen to good people. It is your response to it that matters. In times of change, exercise your spiritual muscles: faith, love, and hope. Your ultimate life assignment is to treat the negative stuff in life like it is a gift. Because the way you choose to see it and deal with it will make it either a divine or disastrous experience. Each of your life moments leads to a way of being. But your life is one continuum and is not defined by one chapter or experience. People who hold on to negative events hold themselves back emotionally, physically, and spiritually. You must let go, find the meaning in the experience, and evolve.

Stress is a factor in everyone’s life. Each burden you carry is an opportunity for spiritual growth---carry yours with grace and dignity. Find the meaning in the moment even in the uncomfortable times. Spend time reflecting alone to find the meaning. You alone have the task of assigning meaning to your life’s moments. While living on the physical plane, your faith and belief will be put to the test, especially under stressful situations.

When we are stressed, we are disconnected from divine source. We have thoughts of “Why me?" “Why now?" Healing begins with letting go of the past that haunts us, forgiving those who have hurt us, and getting in touch with our higher selves. Feeling whole is when our spirit, mind, and body are integrated. Being balanced is when we do and “be" the right amount everyday.

Handle your emotional reactions. Remember that anger is of the past and fear is of the future. By choosing to let go of the past, we can sweep out all the ashes that weigh us down and subtly affect every aspect of our health, our relationships, and our peace of mind. How great it feels to let go! How energizing! And the more we practice the art of letting go of all negativity, the better able we are to devote our thoughts, our time, and our energy to living joyfully in the present, whatever age we happen to be. Your spiritual path is meant to be light and free, not burdened by past memories of events or hurts.

Someone once said, “A grateful mind will eventually attract every great thing." Developing an attitude of gratitude for what your life is and how it has helped you evolve and learn important lessons is crucial to increasing your energy field. And it is a really easy way to feel good! Presence is being in the now. Develop the ability to accept whatever is before you. Have faith that things will be o.k., no matter how bad it looks. Transform your stress emotions (anger, fear, lack) into peace emotions (love, trust, abundance) by using the power of acceptance, forgiveness, compassion, understanding, and higher–level thinking.

You can overcome any physical lack or limitation with spiritual solutions, if you but seek them out and bring them into your awareness.

***This article is adapted from Get Smart! About Modern Stress Management: Your Personal Guide to Living a Balanced Life by Michelle L. Casto

Copyright 2003