Relieve stress by setting realistic expectations and taking time for reflection

Are your expectations creating more stress in your life?

lifestyle Mar 19, 2022

Are your expectations bringing you down? I think expectations are a huge cause of stress and suffering in all of our lives. When things don’t look exactly as we expect, we end up feeling disappointed. We beat ourselves up. We have guilt and shame, and it just starts this downward negative spiral. Which is something that we all want to avoid. Don’t get me wrong…it’s great to have plans, goals, dreams and desires, but we have to learn to be flexible with them.

Letting Go of Expectations

Expectations are sort of the way that, I think, we try to control our world. And when we soften that, when we let go, we realize that we can actually co-create in a much more fluid way—life can just flow along. There’s less of that negative energy around disappointment, so it keeps you in happier, more positive and less stressful mind space.  Having things go perfectly are expectations for what you are supposed to achieve, in the exact timing, and how the situation should exactly fall into place…and this doesn’t always happen. It is so important to take a look at how we view things, which is really about looking at wellness and life in a much more holistic way.

When we have these expectations, there’s a lot of rigidity around that. And it tightens us up, it creates stress and internal restriction. It secretes certain stress hormones and our bodies don’t like rigidity. This means our digestion and circulation is constricted. It means that our organs aren’t able to function as well. We get these unwanted side effects such as weight gain, issues with our skin, or accelerated aging. Our bodies start to break down.

Be in the Flow

“Expect life to work with you, but when it doesn’t, work with it”

-Kimberly Snyder

It’s like beating yourself up against a brick wall when you expect one thing to happen (plan A) and another situation shows up (plan B). Then you amend and say, “Oh I wish it was this way, blah, blah, blah”

When life gives you plan B, when it gives you limes instead of lemons, we have to work with it. Be in flow and that’s how more starts to come into your life. I have learned this first hand…although, I am far from perfect. Life is unexpected and there is so much that we are not in control of in this world. Really sitting back and having a more flexible attitude is going to not only open up your body, but your energy and health too. It’s going to make you feel so much healthier and happier and at peace, because life falls into place and it is what it is.

This is one thing I’ve come to realize, especially through things that have happened to me in the past years. When my dad got sick, then some years later when he passed, I would sit there and say this isn’t fair (and I had my time), but in reality, this thought was leaving me stuck.

Whatever is showing up for us is what we have to work with and that’s just the reality. The less we fight against how this isn’t fair and how we would want it to be a different way, we can then surrender, accept, and work with it. This is when we will start to move forward and everything in our life starts to elevate including our health. We have to Surrender! In the West we think this means we give up, but it doesn’t mean that. It means that we are fully present to what comes at us at that moment.

Pause and Reflect

The second step is, when you start feeling yourself attached to an expectation, pause and check out how it feels inside. We’re not always going to be bright and happy. However, it’s more that we’re connected to ourselves. And the more we are connected, that feels really good. It feels that we’re in touch with that stillness, the deeper part of ourselves and we can better intuit what we need, when we need time alone, when we’re actually hungry, what foods serve us. This is what meditation does for me (one of the amazing benefits). It provides me this deeper connection to myself.

The next time we start to feel that agitation, frustration or anxiety, it means that we are disconnected from the present moment.  Become aware how that feels for you. When we’re starting to feel riled up, we need to take a deep breath and realize that it’s more important to be happy and peaceful than to be right.

Even if we feel like we’re right and someone did something, they cut us off in traffic or a coworker took credit for a project or whatever it is. Just realize how that’s really affecting how we feel, which again, has a huge impact on our organs and our health. Notice how it feels and the more we tune in and we get really clear about that, we can drop it completely and let it go. It brings us so much more happiness.

Learning to Trust the Moment

Thirdly, start trusting more. Trust that life is bringing us what we need in that moment. All of these lessons and growth that is happening, is perfect timing. At that moment, we can realize that we were never in control and we don’t have to be in control. This trust that we allow to come in is the ultimate peace.

We’re co-creating, but at the same time there’s this bigger dimension, God, the universe, the divine, whatever you want to say is helping us along the journey and we are progressing. Whether it looks exactly how we want it to or not, there is a bigger plan. And when we really trust in that, more peace and joy comes forth.

So try to let go, be in the flow, take time to pause and reflect…all while trusting in the moment.

I hope that these tips are ones that will resonate with you. Just by letting go of expectations more in your life, you can create more space for happiness.

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