It’s hard to believe that in a few days, April will be a distant memory! While we’re still in National Stress Awareness Month, it’s a great time to talk about how stress impacts our health. Stressors for women of color fall under a wide umbrella. Everything from general life stressors (relationship/job changes, moving, health) to minority stress create challenges for us...specifically within our bodies. If you’re anything like me, your body has gone through multiple changes in your lifetime. The stress we carry goes deeper than what’s happening for us right now and shows up in our body. Previous and current stress, emotional pain and attachments are powerful and damaging to our physical, spiritual and mental health (Check out the infographic for examples of our bodies reaction to stress). For everything we haven’t addressed, our body will inevitably react. So what can we do about it?
It’s important to KNOW what we’re carrying around so we can face it, name it, and begin the process of overcoming our stress. Last week while browsing on Pinterest, I found this quote and couldn’t get it off my mind. I kept thinking about what pain and attachments I have held on to over the years. More importantly, how has this emotional baggage impacted my temple. When I got home, I decided to do a journaling activity to pinpoint exactly which experiences, attachments, emotional pain, etc. were hidden in my body. Lists are my thing and although I had no idea what I would do with this info, the goal was to get it out of my heart and mind. Guess what?! For someone with no clue where this activity would lead, by the time I reached #5, I broke down crying. Not a few tears...an endless stream of trapped emotion. I was able to finish my list and have a clear picture of MY stress. There were some surprises on my list and it helped me recognize the areas that need my attention. Here’s your challenge!
April Stress Awareness Challenge: When you’re ready, carve out some time in a quiet, uninterrupted environment. I recommend using a sheet of paper, but a digital document works fine too! With total honesty (lay it ALL out!), list the following:
Stressors/ Negative Experiences
Attachments (People, Places or Things You Haven’t Released)
Negative or Irrational Thoughts You’ve Had About Yourself/Others
Losses That Have Impacted You (People, Places, or Things)
Once you’ve finished your list, do what your spirit leads you to do. Destroy it, keep it, or simply recognize what you’ve made progress in. For me, I’ve decided to keep my list until the end of the year to revisit as I work on healing. Regardless of what you choose, recognize that any time you intentionally focus on your inner pain and acknowledge it, you are working on your healing. That’s something to be proud of!
No matter what you’ve faced or are currently going through, you have so
much power to change it! Our stress is there to help us recognize our strength. If you’re interested in learning more about our bodies reaction to trauma/stress, need a resource to help you with journaling, or would like tips on reducing stress check these out:
The Body Keeps The Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma - Bessel van der Kolk M.D.
Write It Down, Let It Go - Lindsay Kramer
25 Healthy Ways to Deal With Stress Infographic
P.S. For the rest of the summer, I’ll be posting once a week on Sunday resuming twice weekly in October! Have a wonderful week and do at least one thing a day to honor your temple!