there are many theories about why some people experience prolonged stress in life + others don’t. research tells us that people suffering from stress might have a “type A personality” or be “a worrier” + is definitely a conscientious person. conscientious people have a need to do things properly + can tend to get a bit too perfectionistic (guilty !). but why are we like this ? we may have inherited these traits from our families, they may have subconsciously been developed in our childhood or even further back.
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I’ve always felt a need to dig deeper + to connect the dots, so here are some of my own theories. I truly believe that everything happens for a reason + because of that, there are some spiritual lessons behind experiencing prolonged stress. being aware of them can make it easier to accept that experiencing stress in the first place was just meant to be.
THEORY 1 :
THE BEGINNING OF OUR LIVES …
… continue where we left it off in our previous life.
it usually takes a while before we realise that we are supposed to focus on something completely different this time around.
unless we are very good at following our instincts + intuition, we will, at some point, encounter a wake-up call as a hint to get on the right track. this could be an illness, a stressful event, an accident, a midlife “crisis”. basically anything that makes us reconsider our path in life. something that makes us think that “hey, what is going on here ?” or “why is this happening to me ?”
if we lived under any stressful circumstances in our previous life, this lifestyle is ingrained in our subconscious. if we found ourselves in any fight / flight / freeze situation, that environment seems familiar to us, so we continue down that same path. if we experienced living in a warzone / living with hunger / in poverty / with violence / with an illness, we don’t just shake this off from one lifetime to another. it may mean we have some unfinished business to attend to, but that does not mean we have the exact same purpose this time around.
FINDING OUR LIFE PURPOSE
astrologically, the nodes of the moon tell us about our life purpose + can be of great help to direct us on the right path. the south node shows us what we have mastered in our past lives. the north node what we need to focus on in this lifetime. these two points in the sky are always in opposite signs + houses. meaning that this time around, we need to focus on the opposite lessons to create balance + happiness for ourselves. when we continue to follow the south node, in the steps that seem familiar + comfortable to us, we will only feel like life is working against us. we feel that no matter how much effort we put in, nothing is going our way.
in the brilliant book astrology for the soul, Jan Spiller describes the life purpose of each of the signs + houses of the north node. she also explains that when we follow the path of the nodes, “we are going a long way toward easing internal stress + reclaiming confidence in our individual being”. and that we will “find life a lot less threatening” + it will be easier + more natural to manifest our desires.
EXAMPLES LINKED TO PROLONGED STRESS
in my own case, I have the north node in libra. this gives me a south node in aries, which means I was a warrior / soldier / in the military in previous lifetimes. living under these circumstances created a strong tolerance for discipline + harsh limitations, which is probably why people experiencing prolonged stress choose to take on so many responsibilities. it just seems natural to us. with the military demanding orderliness + efficiency, no wonder we enter life as both a conscientious person + a perfectionist.
another example is people with the north node in scorpio. they have a habit of being very thorough. they are also very task-oriented + have a need to do things their own way (not good at accepting help). these are also all predominant factors in experiencing prolonged stress.
in past life astrology, Judy Hall describes that the north node is how “the soul takes responsibility for its own actions, moving in harmony with karmic purpose.” in following the north node, we create a “potential for the present life, […] karma that can be sown for the future.”
THEORY 2 :
OUR LIFE SCRIPT
before we even started this life, we chose our life script. these are the goals we set for ourselves for this lifetime. among other things, we choose what challenges to face. this can be karma (the result of how we used our free will in the past) or new life lessons that are supposed to prepare us for future tasks.
we can bring health issues with us from our past lives or even from our prenatal state. as mentioned above, experiencing prolonged stress can happen when we haven’t learned to let go of memories of our past. but it can also be that the circumstances we choose to be born under in this life can lead to stress. or maybe these two scenarios are always linked ?
we choose what circumstances to be born into so we can easily face the karma + life lessons we have chosen for ourselves. choosing our gender / sexuality / race etc., is one thing. but we also choose our parents / family / childhood.
the relationship we had with our current family in the past will determine the quality of our childhood. if we had a good relationship in previous lives, this will continue this time around. it will most likely give us a stable upbringing + adulthood.
sometimes we choose to be born into a family with whom we have a more turbulent past. this is not a way of punishing ourselves but of working on negative karma to create necessary balance. this also allows us to develop certain traits that can be handy in the future.
if growing up was challenging + we didn’t have strong role models, it would have been impossible to start healing our wounds this early. so we carry them with us to adulthood, where they will affect how we carry out our everyday life. eventually, they can contribute to us experiencing stress.
THEORY 3 :
THE CHAKRAS + OUR CHILDHOOD
when we have experienced a difficult childhood, we lack proper grounding – we have a deficient first chakra. when we don’t feel safe + secure here, we tend to move our energy (attention) to the higher chakras.
our bodies have 7 main energy centres (chakras), which runs from the base of the spine to the crown of the head. the first 3 chakras represent our physical world + the upper 3 chakras our spiritual journey. the fourth chakra is the heart chakra that connects these two worlds.
when we neglect the needs of the first chakra, we cut out bodily sensations – we don’t recognise our physical needs (for instance, when we should eat or rest). being unaware of these basic needs is also quite typical when we’re stressing around on autopilot.
instead, we direct our energy to the head.
according to Anodea Judith in her book eastern body, western mind, this gives us a top-down chakra system. we are thinking-intuitive types, living in our heads. I guess this is why we are so “good” at thinking about what we should be doing. apparently, we have difficulties being spontaneous + playful, which definitely explains our conscientious + hard-working nature.
to balance ourselves, we have to direct our energy downwards + connect with the body. we need grounding. we need to learn what it feels like when doing something, rather than deciding how we feel.
when we lack grounding, we are also afraid to set limits. which explains why people dealing with prolonged stress keep saying yes + always adding to their workload. we need grounding to create healthy boundaries. when we are grounded, we are also more present. our attention is in the here + now, so it’s also easier to listen to our bodies’ needs + take better care of ourselves.
POSSIBLE SPIRITUAL LESSONS
BEHIND EXPERIENCING PROLONGED STRESS
we are all on different paths in life, so there can be different spiritual lessons behind experiencing prolonged stress for all of us. below are examples of lessons to embrace for us to further our spiritual journey.
1. LET GO OF THE PAST :
experiencing stress in the first place might as well be a sign you’re on the wrong path in life (or that you are approaching it all wrong). letting go of the habits that only seem to lead to misery will make it easier for you to embrace your true life purpose (even if you don’t know what this is).
2. SLOW DOWN + ENJOY LIFE : understand that life isn’t about fulfilling as many tasks as possible. instead, choose quality before quantity + embrace your physical senses to really enjoy what life has to offer. one reason why souls choose to incarnate again + again is precisely to experience the sensations of the physical body.
3. STOP BEING SO NICE ALL THE TIME :
learn to listen to your body + follow your instincts, so you know when enough is enough + when you need to say no. get better at focusing on what you feel like doing, rather than living in your head thinking about what you should be doing. ground yourself + learn to set boundaries. to live a fulfilling life, you need all the vitality you can get. better be proactive !
4. LIVE A MORE BALANCED LIFE : reduce the amount of draining tasks / activities you have going on in your life + spend more time doing what you love. follow your bliss ! when you focus on what lifts you higher, you boost your well-being + attract more positivity into life. you also give yourself more juice to deal with the heavier stuff (e.g. your karma + life lessons).
5. ACCEPT THAT EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON : rather than holding grudges for suffering from stress (or for anything, really), understand there is a deeper meaning behind it. you will constantly encounter lessons + karma in life so you can grow + create balance for yourself. embracing these challenges with an open mind will make life easier for you.
there are several spiritual lessons behind experiencing prolonged stress. the most obvious being that this is just another learning curve. another way to make us grow / expand / raise to a higher level of consciousness.
it’s something that happened because it needed to happen. rather than beating ourselves up about it + wished it hadn’t happened, we should be thankful for how it’s (eventually) making us stronger + wiser.
we can use this experience to embrace the rest of our lives. it makes us feel even more grateful for what we already have. especially since it made it possible for us to become aware of what we have (this is not the case when we’re running around on autopilot).
if we are aware there are spiritual lessons behind experiencing prolonged stress (or behind any challenges we encounter in life), we make the ride easier for ourselves. instead of just following the easy or familiar path, we feel more encouraged to embrace our destiny. in doing so, we embrace change + advancement.