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Stress is more and more common these days. It is a disease of the modern world. But why is that and what can we do about it? To me stress indicates that something is wrong with my current living patterns or that there is some inner conflict.

One of the benefits of modern life is access to information and all the benefits living in a complex and world spanning society give us. Unfortunately this can also become a problem as our minds are flooded with information. Today just living a normal life can be extremely complex with taxes, budgets and all the other bureaucracy involved not to mention finding our way through the constant marketing of endless people that want us to buy their "awesome thing". On top of that there is every form of entertainment imaginable available at our finger tips!

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Stressed but don't know why?

"I'm stressed but I don't know why!?"

This happens to me all the time, and before I learnt how to really listen to my inner self and reflect on what was going on in my life, it was a serious problem!

Think about the opposite to stress for a second. When I am in this state I am unworried. I am calm. I have a feeling that my life is on track and I am at peace with myself and my actions. I believe in myself. There is no name for this state and yet it is the very essence of unlocking our potential. I'll call this state joyful living for want of a better description.

A lot of people haven't ever been taught how to understand themselves. Everyone is telling us what we need to reach joyful living. This is a key to marketing and it works because most people just aren't there and why would we be, very few people know the way and those that do can't be heard over the crowd.

When I was a young my parents lived 12 hours train ride apart. In those days we didn't have all the options for entertainment we have today. There was no ipods, no portable movies and no wireless Internet. Yet I was proud of my ability to almost never get board. So what did I do for those long travel times. I spent them reflecting, seeking meaning in memories and developing my understanding of what life is and who I am. There is plenty of drama and "entertainment" recorded right in our heads. It's called memory!

So if we feel stressed but don't know why it's time to take some time out, go for a long walk, go for a trip somewhere. Don't bring distractions just get back to being ourselves.

I hear that writing journals can help a lot too. I know it's humbling when I look back on my journals. It reminds me how much I have learnt over the years. I was such a baby!

I really like the modern punishment for children which involves putting them in a place to think over their actions followed by discussing their thoughts on what happened. Encouraging reflection in our children doesn't just have to be a punishment though!

Great article on stress, what it is and how to help releive it - How stress works

Getting caught in negative thinking

By negative thinking I mean getting caught up in hate, anger, jealousy, hopelessness, apathy and fear. Many emotions and thought patterns are circular and build up on themselves. These habits become causes of stress.

It's normal to have all these feelings from time to time but when we find ourselves thinking these dark thoughts every day it is a clear indication that it's time to find a way out.

Understanding is the key here, learn to understand our negative thoughts and why we are thinking them. What triggers them and what similar situations happened in our past. Often we learn defenses as children that are no longer useful. We all have the power to overcome them but the first step is always seeing the issue and learning all you can about it.

The good news is that once we work out how to see through a negative pattern it will never hold us back again!

Being stuck is dangerous, this more than anything can make our lives worthless. Get help, don't stop looking until you find your way out!

Resources on dealing with hate and anger:

Resources on dealing with depression:

Resources on dealing with fear:

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Not facing our issues

It can take a lot of inner courage to face our issues. Its vital we are able to forgive ourselves. To forgive ourselves we must realise that we are only human. We must let go our pride for a time. We must acknowledge that who we are is largely based on our upbringing and our genes but that we now have the power with consciousness to change ourselves for the better. We can't change the past, only the future.

Changing who we are is probably the biggest adventure we can take in life. All I can promise is that it is worthwhile, to become a hero and find that place of joyful living.

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