Hello! I am quiet new in integral community. For couple of years I have been studying Integral coaching and also using it in my daly life as support. At the moment I am in a process where stress level is pretty high and I am wondering what are the things you use to decrease stress level in your life. I am using a lot of mindfulness practice, but wondering how to look trough AQAL in decreasing stress level?
Hi @Rita, a very basic 4Q response from me is: UR -. exercise, I love to dance, whatever works for you is fine. Breathwork to calm the vagus nerve. UL, great that yr doing mindfulness, LL hanging out with peeps that raise your oxytocin levels would be great; LR get out in nature, green calms. So does grounding to earth so get yr shoes off. Get plenty of early morning sun. Beyond this there are so many ways to expand your resilience. Read Keith Witt. Everything is relationship and the more conscious our relationships with self and other the less drama. Hope that’s a start for you.
Hello @Rita, I agree with Imago. Bringing awareness into the body and beyond is becoming a practice for me now, and I’m grateful for the work of John Prendergast (In Touch) and Judith Blackstone (Belonging Here) in their compassionate guidance towards non-dual awareness. Movement and stillness - dancing, drumming, Tai Chi, QiGong all work for me. Singing, especially in a group, is a great release from stress and powerfully uplifting. I have found various techniques in the field of ‘energy psychology’ helpful and also belonging in and contributing to real live communities. A varied plant-rich diet and enough sleep are basics for me. I value Keith Witt’s work too. Let us know how you’re going.
Not necessarily Integral, but I find parasympathetic breathing to be stellar.
- Breathe in through your nose for 3 beats (1, 2, 3)
- Breathe out through your mouth for 5 beats (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
This staggered breathing approach is shown to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which reduces cortisol (and the subsequent feeling of stress) and can suspend the fight / flight / freeze response. I use it myself when I feel anxious and it works a treat.
A more integral approach could be to use Parts Theory (sometimes called Internal Family Systems) to identify the internal part within you that’s causing the stress. Usually, I find, this is a guardian part of some sort that is actually trying to protect me, and when I take time to listen to what it has to say, the physical effects diminish. This can be done with the help of an Inner Advisor / Witness figure that is neutral and supportive, if the guardian part feels out of control. This may also be an invitation to provide some loving attention to your inner child, which is likely being protected by the guardian part.
The big thing I remind myself of is that feelings are simply messages our body is trying to relay to us about areas in our life where we’re out of alignment. The more we avoid them, the more they find different (and cunning) ways to get our attention. Typically, whenever I feel stressed out, it’s because my body and spirit are telling me to slow down.
Well done for taking up Integral coaching. You are much further along the IT journey than I am. Only 4 months into IT and two KW books and one related book. However the entire IT vision resonates with me and all that I am.
This response therefore may or may not include IT thought.
My stress comes from thinking (actually its an unrealistic fear in hindsight) I lack in some way for whatever is on my path. Lately I have been on a spiritual search which has given me stress because my fundamental christian upbringing didn’t give me adequate answers to all my questions. Even devouring KW material was stressful until just a couple of days ago reading Integral Meditation (btw the title inaccurately gives the reader the impression this book will improve your meditation but it is somewhat helpful. I really got a lot from the chapters on relationships.).
I’ve been on holidays and had some contemplative time and actually achieved two realisations, epiphanies they felt like. One is along these lines which may help you.
I am perfect just the way I am right now. If I died in the next second, I am totally confident in my “be-ing” that what ever the end of the mortal coil brings, I am ok with it.
In comparison , whatever life can throw at me, I have the tools, skills, wisdom, patience, knowledge etc to manage it.
Some of this is guided by the understanding that our immortal soul is reality and everything we experience in this life is an inferior model of reality. On another thread about IT memes there is discussion about developing an IT computer game. Not being a gamer, I made the observation that life is the ultimate game. Actually thats the best analogy I can come up with to describe life. We still can’t fully know why we are here.
But let me guess you are educated, a good communicator, have high emotional intelligence, have good morals, compassionate, well read. You are grateful for all the positive aspects of your life.
Perhaps you are too critical of what you see are negative aspects. I think in IT speak this is shadow work and I have no experience in that area.
But let me tell you this. You are perfect. You are beautifully made and you are perfect. You lack nothing right now. The things you think you need will come when you need them. Breathe in. Breathe out.
Take a moment to feel one with the universe.
The universe is in perfect harmony and you are part of that perfection. Every atom and molecule is spinning in perfect orbits. Every molecule and cell in your person is part of that perfect harmony.
Let that realisation sink in.
Breathe in. Out.
I hope this helped. It helped me.
I am new at this but have decoded Imago’s reply for any other newbies who are wondering what the codes mean. (The content is VERY meaningful and helpful btw)
4Q means FOUR QUADRANTS
UR means UPPER RIGHT
UL means UPPER LEFT
LL means LOWER LEFT
and LR means the other one…