This wonderful question came from several of our readers, and this one really struck home with me. I was once the queen of stress! Perhaps some of you feel that way, like you are or have been kings or queens of stress in your own life. When you have come to a pinnacle in which you are quite certain that you know stress intimately well, it is time for a retreat. I mean—stop the clock, no responsibilities, no one to take care of or answer to, no excuses, put the brakes on your life—retreat.

Ideally, you’ll take that retreat for as long as you can afford to financially. If you have the ability to get away for a month, that’s fabulous. If the best you can do is a week or a weekend, I recommend grabbing it. If you are looking at your budget, and thinking, “I might be able to afford to leave the kids with a babysitter for an afternoon, then give yourself an afternoon.”

The longer the break, the sooner you are going to unwind and realize how much craziness you are creating in your life. Why do I suggest you are the one creating the craziness? Because being busy is not the same as being stressed. Oh, they can certainly go together. I’ve done that lifestyle, where getting 15 minutes to eat a meal without working was a significant event. I remember telling my therapist I couldn’t imagine when I would find 10 minutes in a day to sit down and meditate. For me, being busy and feeling stressed were one big uncontrollable motion of energy.

When I finally gave myself permission to sit down for 10 minutes a day and do nothing at all, I started to get the picture. I was stressed because my relationship to life in general was full of internal expectations. My expectations of myself and anyone in my life were completely out of proportion from anything anyone could consider to be normal.

I am a very busy woman today. My new word for describing my days is “crazybusygood.” Yep, all one word. I am busy and I am not stressed. So I know being busy does not create stress. Being busy can add to it if you expect yourself and every person around you to be some kind of super-person within your busy world.

Stopping, even for half a day will give you some immediate perspective. A regular practice that helps you release expectations will assist you in disempowering the stress. Slowing down will help you let go of any adrenaline addiction you have to your stress. Stress can create an adrenaline rush that causes a heightened state of feeling alive. However, on the other side of the rush is the crash, and the physical stress your body has to absorb.

There are ways to support your body nutritional and medically, if needed, to decrease the physical stress your body may be experiencing. There are healers and doctors far more knowledgeable that can help you in this area.

You may find it beneficial to seek therapeutic assistance for old emotional issues that contribute to your feeling stressed. I have used traditional talk therapy, massage, emotional release techniques, ancestral lineage clearing, hypnotherapy, and meditation to help me witness and honor my feelings, until I can empathetically release my attachments to my past and future.

Here is an exercise from my 7 Steps to Healing Home Study Course that you might find helpful.

Choose a period of time, anywhere from half a day to a week, in which you will do ONLY those things you wish to do. This means you may have to plan to ensure your family is taken care of properly and you are free from any work-related or social obligations.

The only caveat is that you do not do anything that would be exceedingly harmful to yourself or someone else. If you want to go rock climbing and you have never done this before, by all means do it safely with assistance and proper instruction. If you are in the mood to yell at your former spouse that would be considered harmful to them and is not appropriate for this exercise. To be clear this is not permission to engage in harmful indulgence.

The idea is to let go of all the “I shoulds” for a while. You are to put no pressure on yourself and to discover your true and healthy desires. This gives you an opportunity to hear the quiet or suffocated inner voice that knows what is really important for your happiness and well-being. You might find you spend the day resting, exploring, visiting, nurturing yourself, or discovering an old hobby you used to enjoy. The voice of “I should” is on break, and when it arises in your mind, you can lovingly reminded to go back to sleep until it is truly needed.

If you do this exercise, I truly hope you will let me know how it goes for you. It can be very challenging, but it is wonderful way to start releasing the pressure valve. Very quickly, you will probably see how attachments to expectations (past or future or both) have been driving your life, rather than your love and joy for life. And best of all, you will have given yourself a taste of how good stress-free can be.

Author's Bio: 

Misa Hopkins is the author of the best-selling book, “The Root of All Healing: 7 Steps to Healing Anything,” named the first-aid handbook for the new 21st Century consciousness. Hopkins is an astute observer of human motivation and potential. Her observations about the healing progress of her clients and her own miraculous healings led her to ground-breaking conclusions about why people remain ill. In her writing and workshops, she provides insights about breaking through barriers to wellness. You can ready more of her work a