It was a tight parking space. A truck had parked at an odd angle, but I knew that I could manage to park properly, especially since I had a smaller car. Suddenly, large arms reached down on either side of my open windows. I jerked awake, my heart beat keeping time to my rapid breathing.
As I lay there, I realized that I didn't have to be afraid. Why did I think those hands were harmful? Instead, I could view them as helpful. It was a powerful change of perception - one that transformed a nightmare into a dream.
It is also one that signified personal growth. The fact that I was able to quickly shift my perception of the "being" from harmful to helpful, while semi-somnolent, is a testament to the power of the stress techniques that I regularly practice and teach.
I can hear you already - yes, you do have time, once you learn the techniques. In as little as a minute or two, you can change course and redress your stress.
Your perceptions trigger thoughts and emotions. Learn to use heart power to alter your perceptions - stress can cloud judgement and eclipse your opinion of what you witness. Have you ever completed a survey when you were in a good mood versus a bad mood? How much more tolerant are you when you are feeling better?
Hans Selye, a Canadian researcher, defined stress as the non-specific demand of the body to any demand for change. In physics, stress is described as an external force that produces internal distortion or strain.
The working definition I like to use is that stress is your interpretation of external events that produces internal distortion or strain, whether it be emotional, mental, physical or spiritual. Less turmoil equals a greater sense of peace. What would it mean to you to be comfortable within your own skin? Imagine more energy, better quality of sleep and enhanced performance - without drugs! You can thank your personal and portable stress undresser - your heart!
Fear has its place; after all, mankind made it to the twenty-first century with a big helping of fear. However, many of the things you may fear do not pose an actual threat on life. Concerns and worries placed under a magnifying glass loom larger than they are. The more you gaze at those threats, reflect upon them and feel the discordant energy, the more your system is flooded with stress hormones - fourteen hundred of them! The cost is too high!
You don't have to stay locked in fear; not every event has to smell of danger. Use the wisdom of your heart - regulate your heart rhythms and effectively evaluate your perceptions. How many of your dreams have been dressed up to look like nightmares?
What to do?
I could tell you to shift your perception, but often there's resistance. "I'm not stressed." "The only stress I have is _____." "I'm fine!" The latter may be accompanied by a sharper tone to the voice, an deep intake in breath, or shallow, rapid breathing.
You may be surprised, once you become aware of how much time you spend in reruns of unsavoury conversations, perhaps not seeing dead people everywhere, but definitely seeing danger, or "Why can't I do anything right?", which is often accompanied by "I always/I never...". How often do you immerse yourself in negative thoughts and emotions? This is stress.
The easiest way to transform your stress is by treating the cause of your stress or perceptions and not just the symptoms.
It changed my life. Drastically.
Are you ready to make the shift?