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Acute and chronic stress frequently shows up in the body as muscle tension, headaches, back pain and stomach disturbances, sometimes even before we realize the degree of stress we have been managing. Through a mindfulness approach, you can learn how to overcome stress-related issues.
Using a mindfulness approach to increase awareness of how our physical body is coping with psychological and emotional issues is an effective approach to getting to the underlying cause of the problem. Noticing where and how the stress lives in your body can offer important clues as to what is going on in your heart and mind and how to release the pressure that has been building before a crisis occurs.
Identifying the cause of your distress and naming it can provide a surprising degree of initial relief. Taking a closer look at the context of your circumstances and the environmental conditions in which you live can reveal opportunities for change and areas where you might shift your behavior in order to find greater release from the pressure you have been putting on yourself or inheriting from others. Reframing the way you think about your needs and desires can also initiate important shifts in the way you approach your daily life, help you find direction, streamline your efforts, and prioritize your goals so your energy is more efficiently spent on the things you most care about.
When racing to meet the overwhelming demands of work and life, slowing down to take time to breathe, sleep, or eat a healthy meal can feel like the last thing you want to do. Pushing against the intense pressure to succeed, finding resolve in your inherent self worth, and learning to let go of doing in favor of being can feel incredibly uncomfortable and unnatural, especially for high achievers, individuals who believe their value is inextricably tied to their productivity, and others who use work to distract them from emotional distress in their personal lives, past or present.
Learning to slow down as you approach yourself with kindness and curiosity is critical to getting to know more about where your stress originates, how you are coping, what you are lacking, and how to better meet your essential needs. Once a more effective balance has been restored to your physical and mental health, you can be free to explore your most authentic desires, building awareness around what it is that you truly want, in order to discover a life of fulfillment and personal satisfaction in alignment with your highest personal values.
It takes courage to take the first step. Give me a call or send a message. We'll see if it feels like a good fit and take from there. I am a San Francisco based psychotherapist working online with clients throughout California.
Photos by Marla Leigh Caplan
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