Stress making you sick?

When I was a little girl I remember thinking how miraculous it seemed that when I got a cut that my body would form a scab, like it’s own Bandaid, and get to work healing itself.

Today, I’m amazed watching my daughter’s body heal from her recent bike accident.  She has stitches in her lip holding the wound together long enough for her body to do its job of healing itself.

Her body is healing so quickly that she looks different when she gets home from school than she did when I put her on the bus.

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Miraculous, isn’t it?

Trillions of cells all working together in harmony to keep the body alive and repair itself.

Until, it doesn’t feel like harmony and instead like headaches, indigestion, or illness.

When ease in the body turns into various forms of dis-ease.

The major culprit? STRESS.

Western and Eastern medicine agree that stress is one of the major causes of illness.

Stress prevents the body from going into its natural healing state.

In fact, stress works SO WELL at preventing the body from healing itself that surgeons will give transplant recipients a stress hormone before surgery to suppress their immune system and prevent their body from fighting off the transplanted organ.

And yet, many believe that if you’re “working hard,” “doing a good job,” and “contributing to your family” that you should be STRESSED because you CARE.

Many also believe that stress and busyness are indications of being SUCCESSFUL.

It’s another way of hustling for your worthiness.

All of these are cultural rules need to be questioned (read more on that here.)

Believing these types of cultural rules can create a cycle of wanting to feel worthy, working harder, feeling more stress, then wanting to feel worthy and repeating the cycle.

The rules and stress are costing us.

And, illness is one of the costs.

But, there is good news.

We CAN make shifts to question the rules and minimize stress to create an environment for healing and thriving.

It begins with more ease in the mind.

Here are a few suggestions to help create more ease in the mind + body:

  1. Meditation: It’s free and always available to you. Meditation decreases stress hormones and allows the body to heal itself, sleep better, think better, and feel better emotionally. Check out the “Mindful” section of Ease magazine for a guided meditation with Deepak Chopra.

  2. Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR): Founded by Jon Kabat-Zinn, MBSR is an 8-week, evidence based program proven to help reduce stress, anxiety and illness. The 8-week course is now available at Sounds True so you can do it from home, although in-person has the added benefit of community support. Check it out here.

  3. Write your own rules. Did you read my article? Here it is again. This one isn’t a quick and dirty solution. It takes practice, but holds the potential for you to feel empowered in your life.

  4. Practice self-compassion: We can be so dang hard on ourselves. A stressful situation can turn into mentally replaying and beating ourselves up for it. Instead, reach for compassion. Here. are some self-compassion meditations and exercises.

  5. Get help from an expert: If your stress levels are high enough that you’re having trouble functioning throughout a normal day, it’s time to seek some help. You can begin by asking for referrals from your primary care physician or check out a local wellness center to see if they have mental health care available.


If you want some help sorting things out, like life transitions, questioning cultural rules, or pursuing something new, find a coach. You can schedule a Discovery Coaching session with me here to get started.

Xo Sarah Papp.png
 

Write Your OWN Rules

Rules.

When growing up, most of us were taught to listen and follow the rules. Be a “good girl” and do as you’re told.

Don’t question the rules. Don’t break the rules.

Like little soldiers, following orders.

Wanting to do things “right” or, at least, avoid doing it “wrong.”

And then, we grew up, and many of us did what we knew and continued to follow social rules.

Rules like:

You must work hard to be successful.

Don’t question your boss or client, or you could get fired.

Don’t, at any cost, get fired.

You’ll be stressed if you care about being successful and doing a good job.

Work as many hours as possible to get the job done.

MADE-UP rules.

Once upon a time it was a made-up, social rule that women couldn’t wear pants, and people of different races couldn’t get married.

Oh, wait! Those made-up rules were actual fucking LAWS.

Today, many are believing made-up, OUTDATED fear-based rules that cling to the notion of THREAT and SCARCITY and one way of doing things.

And, it’s costing us.

It’s costing us JOY, HEALTH, SANITY, and a feeling of EASE in life.

It’s costing us in our business in the form of disengagement, resentment, and burnout.

A Harris poll showed that only 33% of Americans polled claimed to be “very happy.”

And much of society believes these costs are normal.

It’s NOT NORMAL to be miserable and unhealthy.  

If it is, then we need a NEW NORMAL.

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Let’s live and lead in a new way.

We can lead with compassion, inspiration, and innovation.

We can feel excitement, joy and ease.

We can grow, expand and profit from collaboration and inspired ideas.

It starts with questioning the out-dated, fear-based rules.

Think about it… what have some of the most brilliant leaders of our time done?

They QUESTIONED the social RULES.

Look at the rules you may be believing in your life.

As Mark Twain said, “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, question yourself.”

Question anything that’s based in fear.

Question any rule that’s dictating your life, your happiness or making you feel limited.

You’re not limited.

Look for leaders who are not buying the social rules (Oprah, Eckhart Tolle, Tim Ferris, Richard Branson, Shefali Tsabary).

Begin to write your OWN RULES that are based on what your HEART tells you to be true.

When you lead from your heart, you will lead to your true success.

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Money Mindset When Expenses Hit

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Mind if I ask you a money question? 

Do you ever feel like JUST when you’re making some financial progress that a bill comes your way?

Or something breaks so it’s a new expense to get it fixed or replaced?

It’s like life says, “Hey, pay for this too!”

And you’re like, “Damn! When am I ever going to get ahead?”

Just curious, do you ever feel this way? 

If so, this is when your MINDSET is crucial. 

Many hold the money mindset of “never getting ahead” and often expect another bill to hit. Then, when it does, the bill seems like justification for the “never getting ahead” story they’ve been telling. 

It becomes a useless cycle of worry, stress, telling the “never getting ahead” story, creating it, worrying more, telling the story more emphatically, and creating it even more. 

Here’s the deal: Your mindset impacts your money

If you have a “never getting ahead” mindset, we can UPGRADE IT! 

Here’s how:

1. Create a new MINDSET story. If you’re telling the “never getting ahead” story then find a NEW story that feels radically better. It could be a “I live in an abundant Universe” story or a “I don’t worry about money” story. What would feel good to you? Own that story and then let’s get practice it in the next two steps.  

2. Have a money mantra ready when an expense lands on your lap. It could be something like, “This will be okay,” or “There’s always more money,” or even, “Something really is GOOD coming from this!” Write them down (or keep this email handy) because it may be easy to forget this stuff when an expense is in your face. 

3. Practice your money mantra until you feel better. Mindset is about feeling better. When you feel better, you create something better. Your upgraded mindset may take lots of practice, but that’s okay! Keep practicing until you feel an emotional upgrade, like relaxation, ease, or even excitement. 

The next time an expense lands on your lap consider it PRACTICE for your upgraded mindset. Practice telling your new story, your new mantra, and keep practicing until you feel an emotional shift. 

Soon, you’ll feel more EASE about expenses and money AND then notice how your new, upgraded mindset is positively impacting your money too.

5 Steps to Tidy Your MIND + Spark More JOY

Have you seen the new Tidying Up series on Netflix? Well, thanks to the new series, Marie Kondo’s method of exploring what SPARKS JOY has returned in a BIG WAY. 

If you’re not familiar, Kondo guides her clients through tidying up their homes by holding every single possession and seeing if it sparks joy.

If it does, it stays. If it doesn’t, it gets tossed out. 

In the end, everything in your home should SPARK the feeling of JOY. 

This is with our physical possessions. 

But, what about the rest of our lives? 

Work? Relationships? Money? How do we deal with that?

For many, life is about how much shit you can tolerate. Things suck, but you work harder and hope it will get better, right? 

Ugh. Joy killer.

This is also a MINDSET that leads to more shit to tolerate. 

Which often leads to burnout, or grinding to a halt from overwhelm. 

We can change this. 

Your mind is your home. 

And, it should be your HAVEN. 

What many don’t realize is that they’re tolerating a MINDSET that’s cluttered and filled with crap, which leads to feelings of OVERWHELM, LIMITATION, and STRUGGLE.

Tolerating crappy thoughts like, “I’ll deserve good things after sacrificing or pushing hard to get them.”  

Or, “Money doesn’t come easily, and if it does, you’re probably a jerk or a cheat.” 

What we need to do is toss out these crappy thoughts like a bad white elephant gift that NEVER SPARKED an ounce of JOY for you.

And gather better-feeling thoughts to build a MINDSET that SPARKS JOY. 

Here’s how we do it:

  1. Notice when you’re feeling limited, frustrated, disappointed, or stressed about something.

  2. Next, tell me what you think about this situation. Start by finishing this sentence to help: “I think... "  

  3. If this thought feels crappy, tell yourself that we’re tossing this one out. Playfully SAY OUT LOUD“Trash it!” or “Donation pile!” (although, really, we don’t need to donate crappy thoughts to anyone else).

  4. Let’s bring a better-feeling thought into your mind-home. What would feel better to think? What might feel a tiny bit closer to joy? Okay, let’s even be irresponsible… what thought would SPARK PURE JOY with this situation? It doesn’t have to be “practical,” it just needs to feel better.  Write it down.

  5. Finally, practice this better feeling perspective so that it stays in your mind-home. If we don’t practice, the next thing we know that old thought has reappeared like another bad white elephant gift that you were sure you tossed out. 

Let’s practice noticing the thoughts that we have like possessions that we own.

Toss out the ones that don’t feel good, and bring into your mind-home the thoughts that feel closer to JOY and EASE. 

Make it a daily practice to do this mental tidying so that your mind, body and spirit feels like ease and your joy-filled HAVEN.  

As you do this, notice what you no longer tolerate and what you begin to ATTRACT into your life. It will feel like magic and be totally life-changing.

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I Felt Like I Blew It

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I felt like I blew it. 

There I was, in the middle of teaching a rather large online class, when I realized that my notes were USELESS

I’d written too much! I couldn’t glance at them. 

And then, I LOST MY PLACE!

Trying to figure it out, I repeated things. I rambled. And forgot important steps. 

That’s when my inner Perfectionist started to freak out. 

“OMG!”  Perfectionist said, realizing the ship was going down, “The structure! The content! We need the notes!” 

We were sinking. 

Then, my inner Mean Girl appeared.

It’s like she was waiting this WHOLE TIME for an opportunity like this so that she could whisper in my ear, “You look like someone who doesn’t know what she’s doing. They’re gonna think you suck.”

My face felt hot.

I’ve been in this exact spot many times before.

In the past, the Perfectionist and Mean Girl duo led me to feel like an utter failure, made me want to give up, punish myself or hustle more.  

This time, I spotted the Perfectionist and Mean Girl in action and reached for EASE. 

Ease is strong, confident, relaxed under pressure and so, so incredibly kind to me. 

Ease always has my back. 

“Relax your body and stand tall,” Ease said. 

My whole body shifted. My shoulders dropped, chin lifted and my hands opened.

Take ownership of this moment AS IT IS. You know what you’re doing. You don’t need notes. You’ve got this as it is,” Ease said with confidence.  

I took a deep breath, put the notes aside and taught from my heart. 

My Perfectionist and Mean Girl watched, mouths agape, in shock and disgust. 

“That’s never gonna work,” Mean Girl said.

“It’s still not A level!” Perfectionist added.

“That’s alright,” I said back and carried on. 

After I wrapped up the class I felt proud and disappointed, relieved and exhausted

My Perfectionist and Mean Girl were still hanging around making comments in my head. 

What a disaster,” Mean Girl said. 

“So embarrassing. I just want to hide,” said Perfectionist. 

I reached for Ease again.

“It may not have been perfect, and that’s okay,” Ease said strongly. 

She was there and then quickly started to slip away, so I reached for Ease again. 

“This is not about being perfect. It’s about showing up and being human,” she said.

She slipped away, I reached again.

“You’re doing amazing. This is a sign of growth. No one is perfect.”

And again. 

“Your power is right now. That moment passed. Only lessons now because your power is right now.”  

I felt like I reached for Ease for hours, maybe even days (who knows?), after that class. 

Becoming UNSTOPPABLE in your LIFE and BUSINESS isn’t about becoming so perfect that you never stumble. 

It’s about reaching for the STRONG, KIND VOICE within you that always HAS YOUR BACK and tells you that YOU'RE OKAY even when you stumble. 

This is the voice that’s rooted in LOVE and COMPASSION. 

This is the voice that will pick you up, and brush you off and cheer you on NO MATTER WHAT.

Becoming UNSTOPPABLE with EASE is about reaching for this voice OVER and OVER and OVER AGAIN. 

Reach for it by asking yourself, “What would love and compassion say to me?” 

Ask yourself this question as many times as it takes until you FEEL some RELIEF. 

Practice reaching for your STRONG, KIND, "inner EASE" voice and you'll discover that she's available to you when you need her most. 

You'll then feel EASE when you stumble and when you SOAR. 

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