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How Do You Manifest Stress?

Changing self-talk patterns to create inner peace


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How do you manifest stress? Be careful what you think. Your body is listening, because disease and stress walk hand in hand. Three-quarters of Americans experience both physical and psychological symptoms related to stress each month.

According to the American Institute of Stress, workplace stress costs more than $300 billion each year in health care, missed work and stress reduction. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health says that workers who report that they are stressed incur health care costs that are 46 percent higher than other employees.

Corporate stress is one of the most common forms of stress in our society. Public speaking, job security, lateral communication, absenteeism, meetings, time crunch/deadlines, performance reviews, quotas, budgets, and phobias of crowds, closed spaces like elevators and flying are among the top triggers of corporate stress.

Stress is simply a signal within your body that gives you the opportunity to identify and adjust your perception of any situation. You are not a victim unless you choose to be. Practice being the observer of your life instead of the reactor. Practice becoming a curious human being about everything that unfolds before you. When you play the part of watcher, you begin to remember that you have time to consider how you want to respond. By your choices, you form your life, so choose wisely. Because we live in such a fast-paced society, we often fall victim to time. Carve out moments between what happens before you and your desired response to it. Practice slowing time down.

Perhaps you have an old pattern of thinking that says, “I need to move quickly and respond instantly in order to achieve or reach my goals.” If you created that program, you can change it to fit the kind of life you desire to create. Ask yourself “Am I living at a pace of life that lends itself to moments of inner peace?” If the answer is no, reconsider the price you may pay on your physical well-being, as “A heart at peace gives life to the body.” Infuse your days with moments of stillness. Throughout history, mankind has been able to encounter peace in the presence of stillness. Take back your ability to slow down time and realign yourself with what you value most.

What is stress? According to the dictionary, “stress” is a force that strains (e.g., creates a great demand on one’s emotions and resources) or deforms. You often give away the power to define whom you are to people, events and circumstances in your life, thereby creating endless opportunities for stress. Have you ever considered the possibility that you are complete, apart from any event or person in your life? How would that affect your daily stress level?

Stress is just the icing on the cake. The cake is the main emotion behind the stress, often disguised by a physical ailment (e.g., back pain, headache, or neck pain). You hide your true emotions in the guise of physical pain, which is actually the physical expression of your emotional pain.

If you take time to observe young children, you will see that, by nature, they do not even know what stress is. Why? They do not have all the disconnects and blocks in their body’s energy system that you have created throughout your lifetime (due to your past pain in life) in order to, from your perception, survive. Young children do not know how to be one way and act another. Adults do, which results in stress that is fueled by the fear of what others will think.

When an emotion comes up in young children, it simply comes out. They continue on their way, remaining acutely present to the events at hand as well as honoring and accepting whatever emotion comes up without judgments. They don’t try to analyze, interpret or conclude as they experience life; they just experience life.

As we get older and receive negative feedback on certain emotions that we freely express as children, we begin to experience stress or pressure to withhold our authentic self for fear of judgment. As adults, we forget that life is about experiences. Stress is the power you give to outside experiences to define what you believe you are capable of handling successfully.

As with life itself, your emotions are meant to be experienced, not defined. You have allowed others to define your emotional state as good or bad and acceptable or unacceptable, and you have built your sense of self-worth around other people’s opinions of you.

Stress comes when you deny yourself the experience of your authentic feelings for fear of judgment. When you reconnect with your feelings and emotional state without judgment, you free yourself to love and accept all that you are, just as you are, in spite of any circumstance in life.

What am I afraid of? 

Behind every experience of anger is a fear. The next time you feel angry, ask yourself, “What if I fail?” Know that your definition of failure flows directly from your belief system. Shift your definition of failure to “an undesirable outcome and an opportunity for learning and growth.” It’s not rejection, it’s direction.

What will other people think?

When we worry about what other people will think, we end up becoming our own publicist and exhaust ourselves every day protecting our reputation. We stress out doing daily damage control when we could be putting that energy toward learning, growing, and creating solutions.

What am I worried about?

The German word for “worry” means “to strangle” and the Greek word for “worry” means “to divide the mind.” The word “doubt” means to be uncertain about something. Most of the time, stress is felt when you doubt yourself and your ability to handle a situation.

Why can't I speak in front of that group?

You can reframe any negative statement into a positive one. For example, you can reframe “I can’t do that!” with “I just don’t know how yet, but I’ve learned new skills before and I can do it again.” When you wake up and realize that this world is full of opportunities for learning and growth, you will be able to connect with creative solutions to any situation in life. Forgiveness and a willingness to seek out the lessons contained in each experience you encounter are essential in order for creative thought and action to flourish within you.

Why do I feel disconnected and unsafe?

Human beings need to feel safe and connected for inspiration, creativity, and productivity to take place. Positive feedback is a powerful motivator, and it can come from within (e.g., personal satisfaction and affirmation) or from coworkers and reviews. When you practice remembering your worth, the world around you will also begin to recognize and respond to it.

Why isn't this situation what I thought it would be?

Whatever you focus on grows bigger! Your focus is your choice. Releasing the negative energy of unmet expectations onto which you hold when you “resist what is” gives you the opportunity to shift that energy into creative solutions and empowerment. When you address negative thinking by trying to replace it with positive thinking, you set yourself up for resisting what is really happening. Allow yourself to feel what you feel and then seek the grace to move through that which you are feeling. Remember your worth and capability and it will be your guide back to inner peace. Move from the inside out, not the outside in.

Why do I feel unseen, unheard and underappreciated?

The drug of approval. From your perspective, these feelings may be true; however, if you choose to stay in this energy, you will remain in a state of emotional paralysis. Your inexhaustible need for approval from the world around you is truly an addiction and becomes the ruler of your life. You will rise and fall depending on how the world judges you each day, and you will continue to feel drained, depressed and unmotivated. The truth is that you are enough, just as you are. You may not know it yet, or perhaps you do but you simply forgot that you are not the opinions of the world around you, unless you choose to be.

Become the watcher of your words. By your words, you define your life experience. The anxiety kicks in when your definitions of your life experience are incongruent with what is actually taking place. For example, you are turned down when you ask someone out on a date. You might take this one situation — or compare it to others in the past — and generalize your entire dating experience. This will keep you stuck in a negative mindset and you will bring that into the next situation. If you find one piece of information that contradicts your impoverished view of reality in any area of your life that you feel is not “working out,” you open up your ability to tune into other pieces of information from your life experience that invite you into positive perceptions.

Many times, we will use universal quantifier statements like “I never get anything done right,” or “why does this always happen to me” or “nothing ever works out for me.” They produce all-or-nothing thinking, which places restrictions on your ability to access solution-based thinking.

Practice using solution-based words when faced with seemingly difficult challenges, such as, “I am willing to trust in my ability to tune into all available options” or “I have moved through challenges in my past, and I am willing to trust that I can do it again.”

Remember, stress is the power you give to outside circumstance to define your worth, value and capability.

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Lauren Miller

Lauren E Miller, has a masters in adult education with a certification in human resource development. She has personally conquered two of life's top stressors at the same time, advanced cancer and divorce. Now Google's No. 1 Stress relief expert, award-winning author, speaker and certified executive and life coach, Miller provides process driven programs with structure, guidance, support and accountability designed to create positive change in behavior resulting in positive impact on business (IOB) and life purpose. Explore more at: LaurenEMiller.com

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