Believe it or not, stress is not always bad. Positive stress is called eustress. Eustress has different forms. Sometimes it is the thrill of riding a roller-coaster or watching a scary movie. Other times eustress may feel invigorating, like tackling a challenging problem at work. Eustress can spark creativity. It can even inspire some sort of mental breakthrough that energizes us and initiates a needed shift in our thinking or the way we are living our lives.
Distress is negative stress. It is the type of stress most of us are familiar with and try to avoid. Distress may feel overwhelming and anxiety-producing. Long-term, unaddressed (or under-addressed) distress may have serious mental and physical consequences.
Symptoms of long-term stress include but are not limited to:
· Digestive upset
· Head and neck tension
· Feeling unsettled or edgy
· Low mood and energy
· Lack of vitality
One of the biggest differences between eustress and distress is our perceived amount of control over the stressor. For example, I can choose whether or not I wish to ride a roller coaster or watch a scary movie. However, I cannot control the economy, the pandemic, other people’s behavior… you get the idea.
I believe that our daily spiritual practice has the potential to fortify us during times of stress. Indeed, I would even go so far to say it is ultimately the only thing that ever has! One need not be religious to have a spiritual practice. All that is required is our willingness to be still and connect with something bigger than ourself. For some, that “something bigger” than ourselves is God or Goddess. For others, it is a sense of purpose or being of service. Whatever the case may be, whatever we do to stay connected to that Source is our spiritual practice.
Spiritual practice is the corner stone of the Yoga Optimal Wellness program. Doctors and therapists have highly specialized training that allows them to work with folk’s physical and mental health. As a yoga teacher, I help my students integrate spiritual practice into their healing journey using modalities that speak to them. Some students are new to spiritual practice. Together, we explore and cultivate a practice that will help them to begin to feel more connected to their understanding of Source. Some students have an existing spiritual practice, and we focus on going deeper into that practice through things like self-inquiry, reflective journaling, and shadow work.
We may not be able to control the stress that shows up at our doorstep. However, we can control how we will respond and who we choose to be in the face of it. It is our spiritual practice that allows us to live well, no matter what our life circumstances bring.
If you would like to integrate daily spiritual practice into your journey towards optimal living -living with a sense of joy, purpose, and gratitude- let’s talk some more. Schedule a free Yoga Optimal Wellness consultation with me here to begin your journey.