Whenever we start something new, it’s natural to wonder when we’ll start seeing the benefits. It’s really common for people to do a couple of yoga/meditation classes, get frustrated that they’re not immediately enlightened and give up.
But before you feel better, you will feel less bad (if that makes sense). The loss of the negative will happen before there’s an increase in the positive.
Let me explain.
Imagine you have a goal to save $5000, yet you’re in debt. You start paying your debts and reduce your spending yet when you check the balance of your savings account you’re disappointed because there’s nothing there.
You’ve made significant progress, yet it’s not showing up as extra cash in your bank account. You either continue to focus on saving money or you give up and max out your credit card buying stuff to fill the void. You end up in the same crappy position you started in.
Now let’s say you want to be calm.
You start practising yoga and you look everywhere for signs that you’re making progress. Maybe your clothes feel looser and you can touch your toes but you still feel tense, you’re quick to anger and you can’t get a good night’s sleep.
You’re in debt. You have a whole lot of stress to deal with before you will feel calm.
Stress is a huge debt on our body and mind. Most of us don’t realise we have a stress debt, let alone the size of it.
It’s massively underestimated how long it can take to pay down that debt. That’s why we get frustrated at our apparent lack of progress. We don’t realise how depleted we are, that we’re spending more energy than we have, running on a huge debt to our nervous system with no clue on how to pay it off.
So how do you pay off your stress debt? In the same way, you might pay off financial debt:
1. Stop living on credit – get enough sleep and rest each day
2. Cut back on stress – say no to constant busy-ness
3. Spend your energy wisely
4. Pay off your debt with small daily instalments
5. Change your behaviours so you don’t get into so much debt
Here’s a simple tool to pay off some of today’s debt.
Synchronise your breath to this:
Our breath is one of the most effective tools to manage our stress. And taking a few minutes each day to breathe properly will slowly chip away at your stress debt.
Once you’ve got a handle on your stress you can start to build wellness.
Main image art by @slimesunday