How often would you say that you feel stress? How about anxiety? How often would you say that you experience nerves or agitation?
Seeing as you are a human being, my guess is pretty often. The world moves so quickly and, every day it seems, something is created to make it move even faster. Add this lightning speed to the mix of everyday responsibilities, commitments, and schedules and it can make for a pretty harrowing emotional life. As a wife, mother of four, and teacher trust me, I understand. However, in moments when we are feeling the stress and anxiety, we are, on a higher level, being given an opportunity to redefine our consciousness.
I read about a fascinating idea recently in regards to naming our fears. It was about how highly successful people view reaching out and receiving support as strength but it also mentioned how they call fear out for what it truly is. So often we like to say “I’m stressed,” “I’m just feeling anxiety around this circumstance,” or that “my nerves are shot.” While that may be what the experience feels like, the labeling of it as “stress” or “anxiety” takes you out of empowerment and puts us into a victim mentality. When we call it out as fear, it completely changes the game.
This is because when we call fear “stress” or “anxiety”, we are blaming a person or a situation for our fear response. This instantly puts us into a feeling state of helplessness and encourages complaining over taking action. By doing this and focusing on our “stress” and “anxiety” we are actually creating more of it. If we were to, instead, feel the stress or anxiety and call it out as fear we would be in a position to address the fear and make a new, empowered choice or action.
As the kabbalists teach, energy is never wasted. The energy that we spend in any direction is creating in that direction and it is up to us whether that energy is positive or negative. When we fixate on stress and anxiety we are creating more situations that will stoke the feelings of stress and anxiety.
Conversely, when we have a consciousness that everything is here to help us, including our “stress” and “anxiety,” we create peace in our lives no matter the circumstances. This is why these feelings can be opportunities. They are signaling to us that we can make a better choice.
Let’s say you are experiencing stress at work. Assignments are piling up, you are missing deadlines, or you received a not-so-great email from your boss. Any one of these situations would inspire feelings of stress for most of us! In the moment, when you feel that ping of anxiety or the flare of stress you can remind yourself that this is just fear calling.
When you’re able to get a moment to yourself, take a breath and ask where the fear is coming from. Perhaps you find that it’s a fear of failure and you begin to see how it has translated into your being overwhelmed and losing focus. From here you can assess a few action items that can help with getting you back on track. Maybe you could express the fact that you need more support in a certain area, you could reprioritize your daily schedule to allow yourself more time to organize and regroup, or you could even arrange to take some time off.
As you begin to call your fear out, you may begin to find that your fear runs even deeper than your current circumstance. When looking at a set of actions to take that will solve your immediate situation, resistance may arise (another form of fear!) In this instance you would apply the same observational tool. What is this fear really about? Perhaps you are afraid that if you take one of the above actions, that you’re going to get fired. Now, as you examine this fear what comes up around it? Thoughts like:
If I get fired my spouse will think I’m a failure.
If I get fired I won’t be able to pay my rent and I’ll lose my home.
If I get fired I’m going to have to start all over.
From this place of understanding the root of your fears, you now have a few ways to challenge these fears, you can begin to determine a few different choices you can make or even different actions to take.
If you fear getting fired because you’re afraid your spouse will judge you, take a look at some ways your relationship is playing into this fear. Are there ways you could seek to create a more supportive environment in your relationship? You could initiate a conversation with your spouse about how you’re feeling overwhelmed at work. This will not only allow for them to be supportive but will also initiate intimacy and trust, easing your fear.
If losing your job inspires fears of losing your home, this could be an opportunity to look at ways in which your spending might be imbalanced.
You could take steps to streamline your energy use, create a new budget, or find ways to save. Taking steps to build a financial cushion will also build a sense of security and stability that is less dependent on your job.
If getting fired triggers a fear of needing to start all over again take an inventory of a few desires or goals that you have put on the back burner.
Writing a book of poetry? Creating jewelry? Getting a certification to teach yoga? Whatever it is that has been put aside in the name of “responsibility” make time for it now. Sending energy to the projects that bring you joy will not only feed your life but it will loosen your grip on your current job
This is, practically, what redefining consciousness looks like. First, bringing awareness to your feelings, asking why they have arrived, listening for answers without judgment, and then redirecting your energy into small actions. These seemingly tiny steps go on to create massive change in your mind, in your body, and in your life.
The next time that stress or anxiety rises up use it as a chance to change your consciousness from fear to empowerment. Everything we think, the things that we care about, the emotions, people, and circumstances that we focus on, all create energy. The more and more you connect to a consciousness of trust, of certainty, of positivity the less and less you’ll find anxiety and stress.
Thought into Action
Practice shifting your consciousness this week. When you begin to feel stress and anxiety recognize that as a signal that fear is in the driver’s seat. Take a breath and examine the fear. Take note of when and how often you are able to move from fear to peace.