Boy, that’s a hot topic, isn’t it. We’ve been hearing for the last couple of decades about the consequences of stress. I’m sure you feel them yourself.

Ever wake up in the middle of the night with your mind on overdrive? Do you get to the end of the work day exhausted and tense, wondering where the time went? Maybe you experience minor ailments due to failing to take the best care of yourself.

You’re probably already aware that these are all symptoms of stress.

What you may not know or want to face is that even though you want to attribute your stress to your circumstances, it’s all self-created. You’re responsible for it. Yes, every bit of it. The good news is that if you’re creating your stress, you can simply un-create it.

Easier said than done, right? Maybe. Let’s take a look at what stress is, as that will make it easier to take steps to let it go.

The word originates in the field of physics, used to describe “the internal resistance or reaction of an elastic body to the external forces applied to it.” Sounds like your experience, right? You get all tense and tight because of all the things going on in your life.

Nope, it’s different for people. Rather than stress being the body’s reaction to external forces, stress is the body’s reaction to the thoughts and emotions you have about those external forces.

This is nothing new. The great philosopher Immanuel Kant described our experience of the outside world as being filtered through a lens that separates people from true world. Shakespeare’s Hamlet put it more succinctly: “there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

So what we have here are three components:
1. Your circumstances as you perceive them
2. The thoughts and emotions you have about your circumstances
3. Your body, where stress is manifested

It’s important to address each of them to release yourself from stress.

I have a client who is an entrepreneur. She was breaking even in her business, but never felt she was getting anywhere. More than that, she felt stressed all the time, and lamented that she never seemed to have enough time to spend with her family.

We started our work together by setting some new goals based on her values. What she realized in doing this was that her old goals didn’t feel real or exciting, because they weren’t aligned with who she really is. They were things she thought she ought to achieve because some “expert” in a book said she should.

As her business increased, she felt her tension and stress start to release its grip on her.

By changing her circumstances from “just getting by and never having enough time with my family,” to “bringing in new accounts and making my business work for me, instead of the slave I was to it,” she found the passion and meaning that originally inspired her to become an entrepreneur in the first place.

During this time, we also looked at the thoughts she had about her business and life. They included:

“My business is too fragile to withstand any failure”

“I don’t know what to do next”

“I have to do it all myself”

Of course, we all have thoughts like these, but when they start to become the background noise of every moment of every day, they breed worry and tension, and life becomes stressful.

Once this client realized her thoughts are just thoughts, and not necessarily a reflection of the truth, she started smiling more, and pursuing her goals became much more fun.

We created a new set of thoughts to replace the old that helped her move forward. She began to habitually think:

“The businesses that fail the most, learn the most, and therefore succeed the most”

“I don’t have to know what to do next; I trust my brilliant intuition

“I have all the help and support I need, as long as I ask for it”

Finally, I helped her develop a meditative practice of bringing herself back to the present moment, by taking time each day to check in with her body and release whatever tension she found there.

She reported that she had always wanted to meditate, but never thought she was “good at it,” and so never kept it going. When she identified those negative thoughts about her abilities to meditate, she started her practice and stuck to it every day.

What surprised me was that she said this was the biggest factor in her ability to let go of stress and change her business around.

The first result was that as she relaxed her body more, it had a cumulative effect, and she became less susceptible to stressful situations.

She also realized that she was enjoying her time more, both in the office and with her family, because she was more present to all of it. When she became present in the moment, she had no reason to worry or hang on to her tension.

So take a look at the basis of the stress you feel in your life. Deal with the actual causes of it (habitual negative thoughts and tension), make it your practice, and you’ll release yourself from it for good.

Author's Bio: 

Robin is a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach and author of “Success, The Ezine” (offering a free worksheet each month). He is dedicated to helping others discover new ways of doing things so they move powerfully forward in their career and life. To schedule a free introductory session, contact robin at or visit his website