When it comes to stress, one of the main blocks I encounter – in myself and in my work with people – is the effort we make to not feel stressed.

I have come to understand stress as a boost of energy that the body provides to make you awake and give you agency in a given situation. If you try not to be stressed, you need to invest at least the same amount of energy or more to not feel stressed.

Your effort to fight stress, i.e. your reaction to stress, can manifest in your body as excessive tension, contraction, shrinking, rigidity, reduced perception, a fixed breathing pattern

Stress can become a resource and a support system for you when you allow this energy to move freely in your body. (In my experience it mostly moves from the belly up, into the head and arms.)

The next time you feel the kind of stress that is uncomfortable and overwhelming,…

.. take a couple of deep conscious breaths into the sides of the ribs.

This helps to connect belly and chest and gives space to the lungs. It allows a free flow of energy and movement in the torso.

Allow whatever sensations you have in your body. Acknowledging and expanding with what you feel inside, makes space for your natural confident self to emerge.

Instead of fighting the stress, do less – i.e. drop the efforts you are making to not feel stressed – and be open to what happens when you move with the energy your body provides for you.

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