Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The biggest mistake people make with “Stress Management”

It's not the solution people think it is, if it’s mostly about coping instead of thriving.

“Susan” sat in my office, looking downcast and discouraged. Energetically, she was barely there -- her aura looked very diffuse, blotchy grey and ragged. It told me me that Susan lived her life in her mind, rather than in her body, and that she was also probably hyper-empathic and literally afraid of pain. Her intuitive energy centers were blown out and distorted, which I often notice when people are trying very hard to spiritually "see" into the meaning of things, but aren't actually feeling anything. Her emotional compass was low, and I didn't see a lot of energy in her lower body.

I could feel my office fill with the sharp waves of frustration and disappointment of Susan's energy field. She told me that she was struggling with chronic back pain. Along with that, she explained that she had been in a dysfunctional, unsatisfying marriage for over 8 years. She and her husband had reached an impasse where there was little emotional connection at all anymore.

“We have absolutely zilch communication,” she said, referring to her husband. “We don’t share much emotionally. He’s not interested. We bought a house together, but besides that, we’re mostly just a roommate situation now and it’s been that way for years.”

I asked her why she had sought me out, and what it was she wanted in our work together.

"I just want to be less stressed,” she said. “More spiritually aware.”
 She pulled out a small blue pouch from her purse, and showed me the small crystals in it. “I carry these,” she said, as I held the beautiful stones.

I asked her what she had tried to resolve the situation. “I meditate every day and focus on my chakras,” she replied. “I go to yoga. I work real hard to focus only on the positive. I’m taking an online course in shamanism. I go about my business and do what I want.”

 “And what about Steve?” I inquired. 

“Well, he does his own thing,” she replied, looking down at her hands.

“Is that working?” I asked.

“I just don't think about it. I don't let it bother me,” she answered, resolutely.

She sat stiffly and in a focused way. I could sense how bound and determined she was to stay on her path of personal growth. I admired that about her, and told her as much. And yet I could feel into the depth of her stress and sadness. It was palpable.

She had done so much work to reduce her stress and tried so many spiritual "stress management" things.
And obviously, it still wasn’t working.

As I listened to her describe more details of her situation and all the things she was doing to balance her energy, I felt her desire to escape her life and her pain. Although she called what she was doing “stress management” and “spiritual growth,” the irony was that I could see that these things were just adding to her pain. They were helping her avoid doing anything about the situation to bring things to resolution.

There was a time when I thought like Susan. I saw “stress management” as mostly a collection of spiritual and physical practices that one would do to get back to before-the-pain neutral -- stuff like meditation, breathing exercises, positive thinking, with a bit of yoga thrown in. Or how-to stuff like learning new ways to organize my overbooked calendar to better manage my time. Or metaphysical steps like carrying around special crystals around to ward off negative energy.

Secretly I did these practices hoping they would make me more “positive”.
Then, I thought, I could manifest what I wanted and then be less stressed. Without actually having to do anything scary. Isn't that how it's supposed to go? Can you relate?

The more I sit with clients who have done all sorts of stress management techniques, I see the benefits, certainly. But I also notice the gaping holes of where it has often led everyone. Emotional avoidance. Spiritual bypass. Procrastination to meditate some more. Lots of doing to try to be more spiritual, to avoid feeling anything, or deflection to put off making scary decisions. Although some stress management helps in the short term, sometimes in the long term, they just keep people more stuck in situations that aren’t working because people put off taking actions to solve problems. The stress management is more a short-term solution. From my point of view, stress management from this perspective isn’t enough.

It’s time to change the question from, “How can I manage my stress?” to more, “How can I really thrive in this life?” 
Can you feel into the energetic difference between these two questions? One is about managing and coping, hanging on for another day. It’s like being stuck in first gear. You move a bit, sure, but not much, and the whole focus is on pain relief. Or, at best, breaking even and getting back to blah neutral.

The other, with its focus on thriving, is on actually creating something you want. It opens up a lot more answers for true stress relief.

After all, who wants just to cope and "manage" their stress for another day?
Instead, what we want is for ideas come in, insights to develop, problems to get resolved. This way things no longer feel like the movie, “Groundhog Day”, with the same distressing things happening over and over. Meditation can be more useful. Instead of being an escape from life, which it was never meant to be about, meditation can be be a tool to clear the mind to invite in better solutions and new actions.



With Susan, I used gentle inquiry and EFT in a way that helped her feel emotionally and energetically grounded so she could step more fully into what she really felt in her marriage. Not what she wanted to feel. But what she really, honestly felt and what she wanted. 

And for the first time in 10 years, Susan was able to take actions that started her down a path towards creating a much more fulfilling life. 

Her chronic back pain healed quickly, and she no longer needed the almost daily pain medications. Her chronic insomnia also cleared up. She started having vivid, spiritually guided dreams that spoke to her.


She also stopped trying meditate her pain away. 
Instead, she meditated to help her take actions towards what she knew she needed to do. In fact, she cut the amount of meditation down by almost half but got much more benefit than before.  Today, I am happy to report that Susan is so much happier and excited about her life, physically pain-free, and moving forward toward a life of new possibilities.

So, for ultimate stress management, I invite you to skip past the desire to just get rid of pain in the moment. 
Use your mojo and dive deep into whatever is going on. What's stealing your joy? What is it that you really need? Find the truth that lives there within you. Your chakras will respond accordingly, and not the other way around. After all, “stress” is probably something in you trying to tell you about what you need to be happier. How would you know if it wasn’t there? Why not listen and see what happens?

I’d love to hear from you -- what’s your mojo telling you needs to be confronted these days for you to really reduce your stress so you can thrive in This Thing Called Life? Inquiring minds want to know!
What do you think? I welcome your comments!

Adele Wang
Certified energy healer and mentor, helping smart, intuitive, perfectionist women create happiness and success in an imperfect world

Get my “911 Rescue Tip to Reduce Stress!” To feel better fast when life gets tough.

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