Stress can be an ugly creature. Although it looks and behaves differently for everyone, it has one common characteristic. Stress comes when we find ourselves wishing or hoping that our current situation is different than it actually is. It’s important to remember that things just are. When we wish and hope that the things we go through in life could be different, what we are actually doing is RESISTING the is-ness of now. We are resisting the present moment. We are resisting the opportunity to either find joy or learn and grow. This resistance then feeds that ugly creature and it then gets bigger and uglier. As time goes by, in prolonged stress, the creature becomes unmanageable and a battle begins. When the creature wins (as it usually does) it does something so rude. It takes off its mask to reveal the real demon: anxiety. And then the battle isn’t just a battle anymore. It’s war.
It sounds like an impossible situation. Especially when none of us will ever go through life without experiencing stressful situations. Here’s the good news – that ugly creature called stress? It has a kryptonite.
Yep. Gratitude is the antidote to stress. This feeling in the body is communicated as hormones. Gratitude triggers the release of DHEA which is the combatant to Cortisol (the main stress hormone). The longer we practice gratitude we enable calm in our nervous system, our thoughts clear, our digestion improves, our immune system gets stronger…and so many other benefits! How wonderful that we have a built in repair mechanism to stress!
So, when we are faced with stress and we really want to resist the is-ness of now, we must recognize that we have a choice. We can either be a warrior for stress OR we can be a warrior for gratitude. This week, let’s choose wisely.