Always in a hurry, living in an unknown future or a regrettable past, we have become a nation of worriers, especially women who get stuck in a worry loop. In fact, there appears to be a biological reason why depression and other stress-related psychiatric disorders are more common among women as compared to men – at least according to female rat experiments. Neuroscience research from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia studied stress signaling systems in animal brains and found that females are more sensitive to low levels of a stress hormone and unable to adapt to high levels like their male counterparts. And once a female in the household is stressed, the bad mood is highly contagious to all in her vicinity, especially her man.
The Profile of a Worrier
Worriers tend to feel anxious and sad, overwhelmed by life’s responsibilities. Ironically, they seek even more responsibilities to keep them from thinking about their unhappiness. Living with anxiety as a constant companion can trigger illness and exacerbate autoimmune disorders – the self against the self.
This is the time to ask: what am I sick and tired of? While all this sounds like a life sentence, the good news is that to go from worrier to warrior simply involves a change in perception, a breakthrough moment.
Some people let defeat ruin them; others let victory ruin them. A true warrior triumphs in victory or defeat. A warrior doesn’t fight to be right. He or she prefers inner peace and compromise. A warrior, as opposed to a worrier, views problems as obstacles to be tackled. Each problem solved raises one’s confidence to navigate the next and the stress threshold gets higher. The interim between problems means fun and rest, an appreciation of the ordinary without the drama.
How to Release Stress and Sadness like a Warrior
: Become an alchemist. Transform your energy by changing your mental picture from base metal to gold, a negative to positive story. Let “So what!” become your response to other people’s irritation and anger.
: Question and release the old beliefs that no longer resonate for you – “Is this really true?” Clean out the mental clutter.
: Keep your cup half empty. The most unlikely source might provide insight: a few words can change your life. Instead of judging and teaching, begin the day ready to learn something fresh and new.
: Be present and attentive to what is said and not said. Your senses keep you alive and alert.
: Cultivate a comic eye – “I.” Don’t take everything so seriously – especially yourself!
: Confront your fear. In the face of adversity, do not be afraid of who you are. Stand up for yourself by not judging shortcomings, yet remain realistic about limitations. Use fear as a stepping stone to growth—work on your capabilities. Banish “I should or I cannot” from your vocabulary. Instead say, “I could, or I choose to.” If people say, “What’s gotten into you!” You are on the right track.
: Define your goals and keep tweaking them. A Clear vision leads to manifest destiny. Do not give goals a time limit, for this causes stress; instead enjoy the process. Remember you enter the world in the middle of the movie, and leave in the middle. Feel free to take a detour.
: Develop serenity through breathing. The in-breath inspires and helps restore personal power. The out-breath exhales toxins and staleness. When breathing mindfully, you relax your heart-beat and calm agitation to work things out. You come back to center.
: Awaken your dormant intuition. If it doesn’t feel right, then it isn’t. Often where your eye is drawn, such as a poster on the train, holds a symbolic clue. Learn to distinguish between the loud voice in your head and the soft voice in your heart. Even if you have suppressed intuition through hyper-education, it still exists and will grow.
: Balance earth practicality with spiritual vision. Set your alarm clock to go off 5 minutes earlier in the morning to give yourself more control. Take a moment to imagine being in alignment. Your abdomen, the ego, is golden sun. Your heart is white, center of true feelings. The middle of your forehead, inspiration, is blue. Every morning envision these 3 colors, gold, white and blue as you align your ego, heart and mind to start the day positively.
Debbie Mandel, MA is the author of Addicted to Stress: A Woman's 7 Step Program to Reclaim Joy
and Spontaneity in Life, Changing Habits: The Caregivers' Total Workout
and Turn On Your Inner Light: Fitness for Body, Mind and Soul
, a stress-management specialist, and motivational speaker. She is the host of the weekly Turn On Your Inner Light Show on WGBB AM1240 in New York and has been featured on radio/ TV and print media. To learn more visit: www.turnonyourinnerlight.com.