Transforming Fear to Joy

        We have met the enemy and he is us.

As uncertainty, complexity and change continue to be our daily bread, our ability to cope with elevated levels of stress is increasingly challenged.  A peek into the near future indicates living with these external triggers, while simultaneously maintaining a sense of inner peace and calm, is the workplace competency now replacing the much cherished but stressful capacity to multi-task.

Stress is often defined as any “mentally or emotionally disruptive or upsetting condition occurring in response to [perceived] adverse external influences and capable of affecting physical health, usually characterized by increased heart rate, a rise in blood pressure, muscular tension, irritability and depression.”

As the definition implies, what is truly being stressed is our ability to adapt to our ever-changing life circumstances.  If we perceive the external pressures in life as stressful, then we will internalize this stress and our inner experiences and subsequent outcomes (feelings and thoughts of frustration, anger, nervousness and anxiety) will also be stressful.  In a life or death situation, it is important to have a heightened stress response so we can take immediate action to ward off harm.  However, maintaining this heightened reactive style for extended periods of time or as a habituated way of living does not allow our body and mind to relax and rejuvenate.

It is not surprising that many people attending my workshops or coaching sessions no longer know what brings them joy.  Their stress response has been activated for so long they have lost touch with inner peace, self-love and joy; hence, the high correlation between stress and illness (physical and mental).

I repeatedly tell my clients, “Stress is an inside job!”  No one or nothing creates stress for us.  It is our perception of a person, thing or event that triggers the stress reaction within us.  If we perceive it as negative, we are telling our mind and body to activate our stress response.  If we perceive people, things and events as neutral or positive, we activate our sense of inner peace, love and joy.  Stress is a matter of choice.  Luckily, as humans we have the power to choose and the power to change from stressed to blessed.

Every now and then go away, even briefly.  Have a little relaxation, for when
you come back to your work, your judgment will be surer.  To remain constantly
at work will cause you to lose power.      Leonardo Da Vinci

Are you stressed?

Are any of the following symptoms present in your life?

•  Memory loss, poor concentration or judgment
•  Negativity, anxiety, worry
•  Irritability, short tempered, overwhelmed
•  Loneliness, isolation, unhappiness, depression
•  Gastro-intestinal ailments or frequent colds/flu
•  Loss of libido
•  Too much or too little sleeping and eating
•  Overindulgence in alcohol, smoking, drugs
•  Nervous habits
•  Self-centred

Are you blessed?

Are any of the following symptoms present in your life?

•  Focused and creatively productive
•  Inner calm and peace
•  Pleasant, happy demeanor
•  Loving support network of family, friends and co-workers
•  Strong and flexible body, mind and spirit
•  Active libido
•  Sleep at least 7 hours per day
•  Moderation in food and other substances
•  Quiet or alone time for reflection and rejuvenation
•  Self & other-centred

As Neitzche so eloquently put it, “we may not have control over the events in our lives but we do control how we respond to those events.”  It is your response-ability that determines your mental and physical wellness.

If a blessed life is of your choosing, what one action can you take today to bring you inner peace?  An experience of self-love?  A sense of joyfulness?

Picture of Author: Helen Maupin

Author: Helen Maupin

Helen is passionate about transforming fear into love — from her, for her, for all. She expresses her commitment to transformation through writing poetry, self-awareness and yoga books, co-designing organizations into adaptive enterprises and deepening her daily meditation and yoga practices.


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