Modern Americans are funny about stress. On one hand, it feels like stress is a huge part of our daily lives. It would be tough to make it through the day without using or hearing the word stress. A recent study took a snapshot of stress levels in America. On a scale of 10, with 1 being not stressed at all and 10 being incredibly stressed, the average response in 2015 was 5.1, up from 4.9 in the previous year.
My hunch is that these numbers aren't accurate. I think we're probably underreporting our stress levels. Human beings are an incredibly resilient species. Looking back on my own life, I can remember going to my doctor for my annual physical during time periods when I now realize I was under a ton of stress. I could complain or joke around about my stress with friends, (WTF I'm so stressed out!), but telling my doctor about my stress made it way too real.
"How's your stress level, Karen?" the doctor would ask.
"Fine. Good. Great," I'd answer, normalizing, burying, and denying the reality of my stress.
So here we are, a pretty stressed-out species who talks about stress quite a bit. But the other side of that coin is we aren't very well educated about how stress works, what it does to our bodies and minds, and most importantly, how we can actually manage it on a day-to-day basis.
Part of my work through Karen Costa Wellness is to teach people about stress. I get it; learning about anatomy and physiology can be intimidating. I've been scared of science before too. But look, this is your body. It's the only one you're going to get, at least in this lifetime.
Think of your body as your home (because it is). Moving through life without educating yourself about stress is like only living in one room of your house. It's time to open all of the doors and see what's behind them.
Stay up to date with this blog as I'll be posting regularly about stress, how it works, and how we can manage it. You'll note that my language here is intentional. We can manage our stress; we can't stop it completely. You'll learn here that stress is a physiological (meaning related to a living organism) response to life. If you're alive, you are going to feel some stress. The flip side of that is good news, if you are feeling stress, celebrate — it means you're still breathing.
Western science knows more than ever how stress operates in the body-mind. Eastern wisdom has had an incredible understanding of stress and its inner workings for millennia. By combining the two, we can finally get a grip on our stress levels, allowing us to move away from burnout and toward living a happy, healthy, and calm life.
Have you ever noticed how people tell you how busy they are when you ask them how they're doing? It seems like busy is the new fine these days.
I don't know about you, but I don't want to feel like busy is my primary identity. When people ask me how I'm doing, there are so many other ways I can answer them.
True story. I had a dream the other night where the phrase, "Calm is the new busy," appeared to me. Through my work as a yoga teacher, coach, educator, writer, parent, and human being, I am going to get that dreamy message out into the world. Because busy people are stressed people, and stressed people are making themselves sick. I'm not saying we are going to be lazy or unproductive. In fact, the opposite is true.
We are going to be calm and move with intention. We are going to be calm and get s**t done. We are going to be calm and productive.
Calm people are well. They are centered and clear. They work hard, but they work from a place of inner stillness.
This fall, I will be offering a new service through Karen Costa Wellness called Calm Coaching. I was once a busy person who was completely overwhelmed by stress. I was teetering right on the edge of severe burnout at the ripe, old age of thirty-two. My health was in decline when it should've been at its peak. I was tired but couldn't sleep. I would burst into tears at random moments, completely overwhelmed by my life and the outcomes of my own choices.
Today, I cultivate calm on a daily basis. Through my yoga, meditation, breath, spirtual, and other practices, I have created a calm center that helps me to move through life with more happiness, greater health, and less stress.
If you're interested in staying up to date on this or other services, sign up for my newsletter for updates.
Together, let's make calm the new busy.