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Cultivate Joy as an Antidote to Overwhelm from Stress

Posted Dec 13 2010 9:05am

While change is part of the very definition of life itself, it sometimes seems to be happening at a greater rate and magnitude than ever – like now. From technological innovation that once belonged more to sci-fi than real life to climate change and escalating national and global tensions, we seem to be witnessing truly momentous times.

This kind of change can be be overwhelming. It can touch us on a very personal level – emotionally, mentally and even physically. Change brings stress, which can be felt even through minor infections and colds.

One powerful antidote to the stress of change is the act of cultivating joy.

 


Through the energy of joy, your immune system can overcome just about anything. You find yourself enjoying life despite external events.

Some folks are currently feeling extra stress as we watch our collective shadow as a nation emerge. This shadow is defined by qualities such as judgment, blame, self-righteousness, racism, secrecy and fear. It gets harder for us to maintain our comfortable worldview and more challenging for us to ignore our own shadow: the “dark” part of ourselves we try to hide and pretend doesn’t exist.

What of your own self do you keep hidden away? It’s not always easy to see, but when we can answer this, we become more conscious and wise. Our relationships become healthier. We are more able to add our light to the world rather than our darkness. Addressing the inner self is key.

One way is to begin healing the damaged heart center, also called the heart chakra. Everyone has suffered heart wounds which can prevent this chakra – a sort of energy center – from turning in a healthy way.

Compassion and understanding for ourselves, as well as for those who hold differing beliefs, filters through the heart chakra. Love for others and for our own imperfections dwells there, too. But how often do we find ourselves participating in negativity and fear instead of heartfelt love? At these times we have lost connection with the true self, the higher self, the more wise and divine self.

Stress and rapid life changes can be more easily managed when lost or hidden parts of the self are brought together, heart chakra damage is repaired and we step into our more soulful self, thereby reconnecting with the nourishing energy of love. This activates a sense of well-being, which leads to joy.

Try this: Notice how you feel in the center of your chest. Relaxed? Tight? Easy and flowing? Healthy? Closed off? Now breathe slowly and focus your attention on expanding and softening the area around your heart – the center of your chest at your sternum. Continue to follow your breath in this way for a few minutes.

You’ve just taken a powerful first step toward healing your heart chakra and alleviating stress

- Christina Grant, PhD

Read more by Dr. Grant on her blog, Dr. Grant Holistic

 

Image by prayerfriends via Flickr

 


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