The essence of stress is that it comes from resistance to what is. Whether that be something unfolding in the outside world, or something taking place within us, stress is our resistance to that something.
Anytime I get stressed, I think back to this truth, which I wrote about in depth a couple years ago. You can read that post here.
It's so common for us to say that something stresses us out. Work is stressful. Paying bills is stressful. Raising a family is stressful (or so I hear). Just about anything in life can be stressful.
But what does that tell us? If virtually anything in life can be stressful, then what insight can we glean from that?
Perhaps it says just what I wrote about two years ago, which is that stress arises from our resistance to something, not from the something itself.
Think about it. What stresses one person out, another person does with ease. Even in your own life, you may now be capable of dealing with situations that used to cripple you. That alone is proof that stress is not inherent in the occurrence, but rather in our resistance to it.
Therefore, the quickest way to not be stressed is to relax around whatever's happening. First, you recognize your internal response, you remember why it's happening, and then you relax yourself around the resistance.
Whatever it is that you're resisting, stop now. You don't have to stop your mind from racing or your body from heating up, but you can stop holding onto the thoughts, or clenching around the bodily tension.
You in there, the indwelling being that inhabits your body and sees your mind, are capable of relaxing around the resistance, thus relieving the stress.
In a way, you can accept that you're not okay in dealing with the current reality. With this acceptance comes a form of relaxation.
I consistently remind myself of this truth, that although certain life situations feel inherently stressful, they don't have to be. I may not be in control of their outcome, but I certainly am in control of how I respond to them.
Do I resist? Do I oppose the already present forces of life? Or do I relax around them, and let whatever discomfort arises pass by?
We are fortunate to have endless opportunities to practice the non-resistance of life, which is synonymous with living without stress.
Remember that it's not the inner or outer situation that's stressful, but rather your resistance to it which causes stress.
Never forget this.
Live with substance!