Saturday, September 4, 2010

The most important word in stress

Adj: Capable of being let go.

Everything you find stressful is releasable. Once you've decided what's really stressable in your life, your ability to succeed in moving on is dependent on how much you believe that it's releasable.

Releasing is a two step process: *
1) Awareness of where/how it's being held on to.
2) Using the relevant technique to let go.

Where are you holding something?
- In your hand? Open it.
- In your muscles? Breathe, hug, stretch, exercise, get poked (with acupuncture), massage ... whatever, try different physical/sense-releated activities and see which one works for you.
- In your mind? Don't think of an elephant.

You may have done this one in the past - someone tells you not to think of an elephant and you can't help but think of the many aspects of that elephant ... how big it is, it's color, trunk length, etc. You can't couldn't but think of the elephant. The same is true for this stressful thing you're holding onto in your head.

Do you remember how many vowels are in the title of this blog post?

By the way, you just stopped thinking of elephants. That's the key, thinking of something else. And if you recognize that you can let go of a thought once, you can do it twice, and if you can do it twice, you can keep doing it - each time for longer and longer periods. Eventually you'll release it forever. (Byron Katie talks a lot about this.)

Think anything isn't releaseable? Let me know in a comment!

* (Note: You don't have to do anything about the situation to make the stress about it go away. Please listen to what stress is indicating that you'd like changed and pick a different reaction when you attempt to deal with it.)


Elle Emme said...

What's the definition of released? I.e., how do you recognize when it's gone, if the stress keeps returning in waves?

Zohar said...

Just because something is released doesn't mean you can't hold it again. The idea of this post is to say that you can let go of anything. How long you let it go for (even forever) takes effort and practice (until it doesn't - i.e. until it becomes second nature to not hold onto it or until it's no longer a trigger).

The test for permanent release is when you experience the situation and you no longer react with stress to it. One way to do this is, rather than telling yourself "don't react with stress" to pick your reaction: "When X happens I will react with ____." With proper and consistent implementation, the new reaction will be your default and stress will be something you have to think about.