4 Ways To Embrace The Chaos In Your Life (So You Can Feel Stress-Free At Last)

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how to relieve stress
Love, Self

It really is possible — here's how.

Is living a stress-free life possible? In my opinion, no.

Just yesterday, I received a slew of nasty texts from an angry neighbor who’s ticked off that my husband and I complained to our homeowner’s association about the non-stop grunting noises her daughter makes while playing tennis.

She’s training to be a pro, which means that she practices four times a day, seven days a week, beginning at 7 a.m. every morning.

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True, I was having a stressful day: My 9-year-old son woke up with a 101-degree fever and croupy cough; my cat felt compelled to jump onto my favorite vase, shattering it into a thousand pieces; and my dog had diarrhea all over the backyard from too many party leftovers from the previous night.

Stress overload? You bet!

So after gulping down three cups of coffee and binging on five Lindor chocolate balls, I’m sitting on my balcony staring at a single gray cloud on the horizon above the gloomy ocean and thinking, now what?

An overwhelming cluster of frustration and severe irritation is boiling in my bloodstream, and I know the only way out is to establish my bearings in the midst of chaos — which means separating my emotions from what is happening right now.

And so, I use what I call the “square” approach, delving into the mental, emotional, physical and spiritual levels at the core of this tightness in my chest and feeling of hopelessness (coupled with unbridled hatred) for my neighbor.

Here's how to relieve stress mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually, so you can embrace life's chaos — no matter what's thrown your way:

1. Let go of stress mentally.

As a medical hypnotherapist, I know that my thoughts create the way I feel. So if I want to feel better (which I do), then I have to change my mental outlook toward the issues that are bothering me. I have to train my mind to think positive while facing a negative circumstance.

How is that possible? Well, I can tell myself, “Thank God we have an HOA — a mediator who represents our needs and everyone else’s in our community. Thus, one way or another, this issue will get resolved.”

In fact, most of the time, things do work out just fine for me. In general, life treats me right and always supports me.

Sure, I can keep nit-picking the little things that dissatisfy me, staying anxious and stressed, but what purpose does that serve?

Our mindsets have a direct effect on our body, weight, and health, because our thoughts produce certain chemicals in our bloodstream that either supports our immune system and metabolism or suppress them. So if I want to stay healthy and slim (which I do), I’d better address my mental state and calm myself down, because I know I am worthy of feeling good both inside and out!

2. Find emotional peace.

Since emotions are a byproduct of our thoughts (and we can choose any thought over another about any given subject), we need to help our bodies release any negative emotions trapped in our cell tissue.

To do this, I like using guiding imagery — because our subconscious mind accepts what we imagine as reality, sending impulses to the brain and attuning our physiology.

Now, sitting on my balcony, I’m feeling a tight cluster of emotions trapped in my chest, so I assign this emotional knot a color. In my mind’s eye, I see this color, like a black balloon, beginning to lift off my body, drifting up and away until it completely disappears into the golden disk of the sun, high upon the horizon.

Here are some other techniques I recommend:

  • Every time you’re in the shower, imagine that the warm cascade of water is washing away all your worries, fears and pain, balancing and harmonizing you, cleansing and purifying you from the inside out.
  • Or, imagine that bad emotions are like rocks and you’re tossing them into a deep river that dissolves them entirely.
  • Some people like to visualize pulling bad emotions, like dead weeds, out of the garden of their mind.

Ridding yourself of bad feelings puts you in the control seat right now before the conditions causing you emotional distress change for the better.

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3. Release physical symptoms of stress.

Our bodies crave movement and physical activity, because being active increases the release of "happy" chemicals within our brain, balancing our nervous system. So what both you and I can do right now is to open our arms wide, stretching and breathing deeply, and maybe even jumping up and down, waving our arms around (and freaking the neighbors out).

Some people find physical release in yoga, others hit the road for a run; and some just need to throw a tantrum in the privacy of their bathroom, kicking, screaming and crying until they feel lighter.

Hey, there’s no judgment in how your body wants to deal with releasing dense, clogged-up feelings, so trust it and follow along.

4. Heal your spirit from stress.

I believe that there’s a stream of consciousness that’s positive in nature and that loves and supports each of us at all times. But when we think negatively, we block this stream from entering our bodies and our lives.

So in order to let spiritual assistance come through unobstructed, we need to open the gateways in our minds by altering our thoughts.

But how can I think positive thoughts about my neighbor, when I’m an inch away from hating her guts for being so ignorant and disrespectful to her community?

Well, that’s what being spiritual means: seeing the world through the eyes of love. I can still dislike and dispute the situation, but not the person; after all, we all do the best we can, based on our level of awareness.

The fact that I’m failing to apply this knowledge to this situation is my problem, and yet, at the same time, an awesome opportunity for growth and self-discovery. Patience, compassion, and acceptance are not my strong suit, but they’re spiritual qualities I’d like to develop.

So what if it’s not about the young tennis player? What if it’s really about me developing some spiritual muscle — and she’s the heavy weight I must lift?

Just as I start to feel calmer, a loud roar erupts from next door: The girl is playing tennis again. Her obnoxious grunts hit my senses and the familiar ball of intense annoyance forms in my heart. But this time I greet it prepared — ready to bounce it back.

Immediately, I tell myself that the homeowner’s association is handling this and that it will cease soon. Besides, there’s a lesson for me here, deeply hidden.

Perhaps it’s that life is not punishing me, but instead reflecting back what needs to be improved within myself: the realization that I am in control, loved and supported, and that things generally go my way. This understanding frees me to focus on the positive aspects of my life and enjoy them fully, knowing that I — and only I — am responsible for any improvement.

And then, perhaps, as wise teachers like Deepak Chopra, Louise Hay, and Wayne Dyer say, the most productive way to fix the problem is to fix my thinking about the problem. For when I do that, the problem itself will shift.

I really hope this problem shifts soon — in fact now would be an ideal time — my mind speaks silently. But my inner voice whispers back faintly: patience and understanding. So with conscious awareness, I begin to relax into that mindset, feeling more emotionally mature and responsible.

And so, the way I see it, the goal is not to stop this crazy life from spinning, but rather to decide who you are in the face of life’s challenges. Remember that you are capable and strong, wise, mature and resourceful, and know that you (and all of us) are worthy and deserving of a good life. We’re all enveloped in the arms of love.

From there, it’s just a matter of practicing our newly discovered skills for coping with stress, over and over again, until we realize that it’s not about life getting easier, but about us getting better at playing its game.

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Katherine Agranovich, Ph.D., is a Medical Hypnotherapist and Holistic Consultant. She is the author of Tales of My Large, Loud, Spiritual Family. Call her for an office or phone consultation to attain mental-emotional alignment and close the gap between where you are and where you want to by visiting AchieveHealthCenter.com