Welcome back to The Limitless Blog. My name is Radhika and I'm the founder of Jiva More Life. Our mission is to inspire you to believe that you are limitless. Today, we're talking about stress. Stress has been a huge part of my life lately and I really want to share what I realized with you.
What value does stress provide in your life?
I think stress is really helpful when you're in challenging situations or do or die moments. This is because it gives you that extra push that you need to overcome them or make quick decisions in a stressful environment or something that's high pressure in a moment. I think it can be really good in those situations, as long as they're spaced out and they don't start to compile over time.
How can stress hurt you?
I think stress can actually hurt you in a lot of ways, especially when you're chronically stressed or your stress starts to pile up and it becomes a continuation for more than a few days, max. For example, if there are big events happening in your life that make you stressed out, and then you also hit traffic on the way to work, and then your coworker gets mad and yells at you, the stress compiles. Now there are all these things stressing you out and you're constantly living in a state of stress. This over time can really hurt your body because it wasn't designed to be in stress for that long. It was designed to elicit the fight or flight response for something life or death, like if a lion is about to attack you.
If a lion is about to attach you: Do you fight? Do you run? What do you do? It's a high stress situation. The key being, If you don't make a split second decision, you're going to die. So why, when, for example, we're stuck in traffic, do we feel that same response hitting us? It shouldn't have that much of an impact. Those are the times that stress can really hurt you - when things start to compile and they’re happening over a long period of time and you don't do anything about it. You have the mentality like “oh, it'll pass” or “no problem, I’m know I’m stressed out right now”, but then a month later, nothing has changed and you're still stressed. That's when it can really start to hurt your body.
What has leaving your corporate job taught you about stress?
It's taught me that even if you get rid of one thing that was causing you stress, there can be so many other things that somehow pop up to fill that gap because you're used to being under stress. Leaving my corporate job has given me a lot of peace of mind, time, clarity, and enjoyment in my everyday life because I'm not stressed out to that degree, but I also realized that over time, other things started to creep in and cause me stress.
One of the things that I'm doing right now is moving apartments and that is very stressful. It’s taking the place of the job stress I used to feel. The whole point of running my own business was to not be as stressed, not find something else to stress about. I realized that I was under constant stress and I’m used to being under constant stress so I'm looking for other things to be stressed about. When instead, I need to change how I think, how I move, and how I work. That way I'm not always stressing out or looking for something to kind of fill that “void”. I can be happy, and enjoy my day, not being stressed.
What is the best way to deal with stress?
I think under a lot of stress you have to look at the things that make you really happy and that don't cause you anxiety. First maybe look at something simple, like taking a walk, if you love to be out in nature. Or if you love being creative, create something. It could also be taking a bath or going into a hot tub.
Really think about what things you can do that are peaceful and give you some time and space to think so you're not stressed instead of trying to solve the problem and being stuck in that loop. I think if you are already stuck in that loop and your brain is running a hundred miles per hour, you have to break the cycle. You have to change your environment. You have to do something else. For example if you start reading or journaling, or if you do take that walk and really immerse yourself in what's going on around you, you can break that cycle. Then, you can actually start to slow down.
What are some habits of thought that have helped you along your journey?
I think one big one is that everything happens for a reason and not saying it in the cliche way, but actually believing it. Recently, since we're moving, we were looking for a new apartment but we got really sick so we couldn’t do anything. We were already stressed about moving - we didn't know where we wanted to live or what apartment. I just kept getting more and more stressed by the day because we hadn't locked down a place. But then I was so sick, the type of sick where you literally can’t do anything so I was like “I guess I’ll just lay here and I’ll recover because I have to”. I was pretty much forced to stop. In those moments, believing that everything happens for a reason, really helped me. I thought maybe there's a reason I got sick and I didn't look for housing that week. Now we do have a place and it all worked out but believing that everything will work out is really important because sometimes there's nothing you can do in the moment. You don't have all the answers and you're waiting on life so you have to give yourself something in that moment. Thinking or believing everything happens for a reason really is that for me.
The second thing that has really helped me lately is from the Disney Pixar movie, Luca. In there they say “Silencio Bruno!”, which is to silence the voice inside your head that is scared or nervous or stressed and telling you to not do something. So you say “Silencio Bruno!” and do it anyway. I use “Silencio Bruno!” to quiet that voice in my mind that’s chattering all the time and telling me things so I can actually relax and be at peace. It seems simple, but it has actually worked really well for me.