Hello lovely Santa Barbara friends,
I love the energy of autumn, the scent of the air, the faint, crisp breeze, the shortening of daylight, the amber painted sky and robust look of the moon as it rises. It’s quite the opposite of the carefree and playful spirit we experience in summer. We are entering the element of Metal in Chinese medicine. This is the perfect time of the year to organize, and to finish any projects you might have started; you’ll be helped along by the season’s harvesting energy. Autumn is more about ourselves than any other season; it’s time to focus inward and become introspective. Just as the trees lose their leaves and the earth lets go of its bounty for harvest, autumn gives us the power to let go. Clients have been sharing things they are letting go of, things ranging from clothes they’ve taken to homeless shelters, to grudges that just aren’t serving them anymore, to relationships that have run their season. If you find that entering this time of the year brings you stress or if you’re a person that has stress in general, I can identify. As a wellness guide, I’m forever researching ways to improve health and well-being and this month I will share a great TED talk that changed my reality (thanks to my client K.V. for the send). I’ve always thought of stress as the thing I should steer clear of, though the reality of it was that it gripped my daily experience, especially once I moved to Santa Barbara. The stress of the move had affected my vision, caused hair loss, and skin breakouts. I was even ungrounded and unfocused in dealing with others. Now I was stressed about being stressed! After watching this TED Talk video by Kelly McGonigal (link below) I realized this is the perfect time to let go of my beliefs about stress. Good news: Stress only affects you negatively if you believe it’s bad for you. The research cited in Kelly’s talk makes it clear, that it’s a better idea to embrace stress as a friend. Stress releases the “cuddle hormone”, oxytocin, the same hormone that makes a hug feel so good. It causes us to seek support, to share our fears/anxieties/blues with another instead of bottling everything up and thinking life is a solo act. I’m shifting my beliefs: Now when I’m stressed out, when my heart is racing heart and my jaw is clenched, I realize my heightened body responses are trying to make connection, and flooding me with the cuddle hormone!
Video: How to make stress your friend
One of the ways I learned to cope with my thoughts that gave me stress, was by learning a different way to communicate with myself (in my head) and with others. I always had a hard time approaching people with something that could potentially be confrontational, i.e., “I’m wondering if you could pay your rent/bills”? If you have more of an interest in learning how to connect better, if challenging communication is a stressor for you as it once was for me, here are online tele-classes with Newt Bailey. I took classes with Newt along with some traditional Nonviolent Communication (NVC) courses and I found that Newt's method of communication has more of a “real life” feel to it, whereas NVC can sometimes feel awkward and contrived.
I'm on a mission to finding my true self. Letting go of the old identity I've created to find the new. I would love to have you there to witness and to share the experience.