By Ebony S. Muhammad
When I say “Stress-free” I am not stating that you will not experience stressful moments, but if you are willing to analyze, examine, and attempt to put these strategies into practice, the stress you are experiencing will become so insignificant and will be under your control so much that you will not refer to it as stress but as an opportunity for empowerment and emotional freedom.
Accepting the challenge to CHANGE does not imply changing who you are to please others, let’s be clear about that. Accepting the challenge to CHANGE can be understood, in other words, as gaining Control over your life and not allowing your circumstances to dictate your potential for Freedom, Survival, Love & Belonging, Power, and Fun (Rosenthal, H.G., 1998). This is the beginning of your reality check and possibly the start of controlling all within your realm of 360 degrees.
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan teaches that the only thing constant or guaranteed in life is CHANGE. So the first question you should ask yourself is how well do you accept and adapt to CHANGE? Although we incline to the ability to control the stress level in our lives, we may be unaware of how to do this. As a result, we submit to our condition as opposed to calling for a CHANGE from within. Unfortunately, this is where we tend to go wrong, and this is possibly the starting point of inviting stress into our lives. We have been granted free will by Almighty Allah (God), which means we have the capability of creating the peace, healing, happiness, and success we yearn for. Therefore, how much power do you actually hold in the concept of CHANGE? The Answer: much more than you think. However, the power to CHANGE does not reside outside of you. In fact, it comes from within and from your creative power to command and/or influence that which is necessary for your well-being.
One of the best quotes that depicts the message within this article is, “Be the CHANGE you want to see”. As cliché as it may appear, this is a very profound statement. You cannot expect others to CHANGE or your condition to CHANGE if you are not initiating the evolution within yourself. So the second question you must ask yourself is what is it about your surroundings, including the people, in which you wish to see CHANGE? The third and most important question is how can you influence the CHANGE to occur, starting with yourself? You must have a thorough knowledge and understanding of your stressors in order to de-stress and gain some form of control, or they will continue to control and master you. Now, you must begin to wage war with these stressors. Not physically, but psychologically. Although it may involve removing certain people from your life, that is a reality you may need to consider.
In closing, I find it necessary to distinguish healthy stress from unhealthy stress, because there is a difference. Healthy stress is a type of pressure, internally or externally influenced, that encourages growth and development for your benefit and possibly for the benefit of others. For example: Imagine you are granted a major promotion at your job. You are granted a higher paying position that is considerably more demanding. This kind of stress can raise your level of professionalism, creativity, and networking skills. However, an example of unhealthy stress is consciously deciding to procrastinate in managing responsibilities deemed as high priority, so that you can partake in matters that cannot and will not avail you and your quest for living stress-free. If you’re experiencing unhealthy stress, don’t worry, there are lots of things you can do to combat it, such as taking a leisurely walk in the park every day.
Your ability to accept the challenge to CHANGE will affect your usual way of reacting to every day events and people. Your priorities will begin shifting, and matters that once seemed worth getting worked up over will soon begin submitting themselves to YOU. Right here and right now is what matters the most. Are you ready for THAT kind of power to overcome stress? More to come, God-Willing.
(Ebony S. Muhammad is a Certified Thanatologist specializing in grief and loss. She is a Depression and Stress Management Specialist, the Publisher of Hurt2Healing Magazine. www.hurt2healing.org.)