This is a guest post by Bridget Webber.
Other people make you stressed — of course that’s what you probably think. Nonetheless, the truth is that no one has the power to make you feel anything. If anyone had the power to command your emotions, what problems you might encounter! You would do exactly what they wanted and have no choices about how to make yourself happy. Luckily, other people have no hold over you, other than those created by your imagination; you can think and act for yourself. However, until you know this is so, it’s likely you’ll give your power away to others. If you think you are a puppet and others are your masters, you live in an illusion wherein you act as though this is true.
What Makes You Stressed? It’s Not What You Imagine
Additionally, circumstances have no control over you. You may think you have to suffer because a great misfortune has come your way, but you have a choice about how you respond to occurrences. Some eventw naturally sweep you off your feet, such as the death of a loved one or a joyous occasion like falling in love. At such times, you may benefit from allowing your emotions to seep in and observe the secrets they reveal about who you are. On most everyday occasions, however, you would be wise to pause and think about how you want to respond to what’s happening, instead of relying on your instincts.
Circumstances and people don’t cause stress
What eats away at your happiness? The answer is that your thoughts are to blame. Your feelings mostly stem from your thoughts. Occasionally, it’s the other way around and your feelings make you think. At such times, you usually operate from your amygdala, the fight-or-flight part of your brain that helps you survive. A primitive yet necessary part of your mind, it goes into action when you feel threatened. The rest of your feelings tend to come from your ability to reason; you think situations through and decide what they mean. Your frontal lobe, the part of your brain that’s fairly new to humans, springs into action and reasons with you.
As such, you might imagine you can’t go wrong. After all, if the reasoning part of your brain kicks in, you’re going to get accurate feedback, right? Unfortunately, this isn’t always so. Your reasoning mind only uses information of which it’s aware. If part of your intelligence lays dormant, you won’t benefit from its wisdom.
How to stress less
Reducing stress requires you to be more emotionally intelligent, awakening that part of your mind that understands what’s important and serves your greatest good. Reaching your inner wisdom isn’t automatic, however. You have to work on yourself, stopping your thoughts as they occur and looking at them. Ask where they come from and whether they are based on insecurity. Most thoughts about impressing others stem from a wish to be loved. You may feel stressed because you imagine someone thinks badly of you. But how does this matter? If you act from your values, expressing who you are, surely other people’s opinions aren’t important?
The more confident you are — not in a bombastic way — the less stressed you become. Once you understand that you are special, and there’s nothing wrong with you, you are free to look at life differently. Believe in the essence of you. The essence of you is always good. If you could see it, it would be so bright, your eyes would hardly stand to look at it. The kernel of you, the inner you, is positive and pure. Until you know this, you are vulnerable to the energy of other people.
People often take meditation for granted, and yet, it can be the only time they connect with who they are. The rest of their everyday lives are taken up by the illusion of needing to impress others. Hopefully, there is also love, but it’s entangled by messages from the ego, telling them to do this or that to meet the needs of others. When you meditate, taking time to let go of your ego and meet your inner self, you disengage from wanting to impress, and you love without interference from your ego. At such times, you cannot be stressed. You are not anxious because there’s no recognition of the importance of what other people think about you. You simply act without worry.
You are what makes you stressed. However, getting away from the habit of creating anxiety is difficult, especially if you’ve spent most of your life learning how to be anxious. Be kind to yourself and take it easy. Gently move forward, looking at your thoughts and working out where they come from. Don’t judge them, just observe them with ease. Eventually, you’ll begin to notice that they aren’t genuine or important after all, and you can let them go.