Its fascinating, and a bit sad, to find the space to observe the stress levels of others. People get worked up over all sorts of seemingly trivial topics. The traffic is heavy, the sun isn’t shining, the sun is too hot, my coffee isn’t right, why can’t that person in front of me just walk a bit quicker or exit the ferry faster? People are feeling these frustrations on a regular basis and sometimes you can see it on their faces and often they can be heard expressing their disdain to everyone within ear shot. While its painful to witness, it can also be painful to absorb. If you’re an empathetic human, you can quite easily feel the pain and stress of others.
I’ve found that when I’m surrounded by stress, its incredibly helpful to know if the stress is mine, or if it belongs to others. On a typical day, almost 99% of the stress I encounter isn’t mine at all! This simple recognition can be powerful. I find myself acknowledging the stress, empathising with the owner of that stress, and then quickly celebrating that I don’t own it. I literally tell myself ‘that’s not my stress’. Because if we stop noting that most stress isn’t ours, we can easily become overwhelmed by the negative energy that surrounds us and spiral downwards.
Lately, I’ve started to conjure up a playful image along with my words that helps to bring me back to my natural state of JOY. And that’s the notion of being a stress trampoline. Yes, you might bounce down on me with your heaviness and leave an imprint, but I’m a source of bounce and will launch your stress back into a space of levity. Hopefully, I can bring you with me.