I am in the middle of my exam period of the first semester of my first year in the study of dentistry. I have been pondering on how to study without stress and maintain a healthy lifestyle, just like in the days when I do not have exams going on.
I always keep caring for myself during the exam period at University; it does not make any sense to me to stop with everything I am normally doing and only focus on studying and eating TV dinners as I see many of my fellow students do.
I make sure I have enough food to nourish my body, I still cook meals every day, I make sure I wash my clothes, go for a walk to clear my head and keep my body fit, and in the evenings I do not study so as to have some quiet time to spend with myself.
So I thought I was taking care of myself pretty well, and I was, but there was something that didn’t feel quite as smooth in my life around exam times as it had when I wasn’t studying for my exams, and that was the stress.
The day before my first dentistry exam my stomach started to ache and I felt tense in my back as well as an overall feeling of stress and anxiety. I noticed a thought of “I only have to sit this stress pain out until tomorrow, after my exam.” This made me stop as this did not make sense to me anymore. Why was I accepting stress as normal and something to sit out? And why couldn’t I study without stress?
“Time to look into this a little deeper”, I thought. How could I still feel so much stress in my body whilst I was studying – all the while knowing it was not necessary and healthy?
- Could it be that I actually enjoyed the excitement and stress of study as a form of thrill?
- Could it be that I liked doing exams only because I could get noticed for having great test results? And to get these outstanding results I had to go all crazy on studying?
- Could it be that I felt good if I could answer as much as possible to make me feel smart? And to be recognised by the professor? And it would be even better when I said at the beginning of the exam: “Oh, I am not sure I can do it” and then get the highest results of the class… (it sounds quite desperate, I know).
- And… could it be that it was a distraction from living a simple and joyful life whilst studying?
I realised I still had quite an investment in getting excellent university exam results. Under my indifferent attitude there was still an arrogance of being able to study better than anybody else and a need to be recognised/rewarded for that by good results.
I wondered why I had this need to be recognised by the professor and fellow University students. I remember that I learned to study like this at secondary school. As I was a bit shy, quiet and did not say very much at school, the only way I could get recognition and attention from the teacher was to be very good at school.
I have learned in the last couple of years, with the support of the workshops, presentations and courses held by Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine, that there is so much more to me, that there is a beauty inside me and that I deserve to be myself and bring that beauty to the world. With that I feel I do not need the recognition and approval anymore, and that all I truly want is love – from myself, for myself and from others. Love for who I am, not what I do or the great marks or exam results I could get.
I could feel that I do not need the teacher’s approval anymore as I did when I was young and did not know any better than doing it that way.
Another thing that I realised was that I am wanting to study to become a dentist to serve humanity; to bring my care, attention, love and eye for detail to the people I am going to treat in my profession (and enjoy this process.) And with that, yes, I have to study and do exams, but they are just part of the system we have created to teach people to be a dentist. No big deal, not to get excited, frustrated or stressed about, but just a part of the program that I have to do.
I became aware of the fact that getting all stressed about the exams is just a distraction from actually doing what needs to be done… to study in this case.
After realising all of that it was easier to study, and without stress. I just did what needed to be done: studying, doing the exam (and being present with myself during the exam) and around that, caring for myself as I always do.
The very cool thing was that when my second dentistry exam came around, the day before I did not have cramps in my stomach or tension in my back and didn’t feel stressed when I was studying. Also, after the exam I did not feel tired.
This time I felt vital and ready to go on with the day and to get studying for the next exam. To me this is a miracle! The stress associated with studying always felt like something that came over me, now I know how to make the choices and how to study without stress, yes!
Inspired by Serge Benhayon and the work of Universal Medicine.
By Lieke van Haastrecht, Student Dentistry, Age 23, Ghent, Belgium
621 thoughts on “How to Study without Stress… Yes!”
Lieke, I have embarked on university studies and not getting in the swing of things, which is slightly concerning me. It is an on line course, so I set the pace, but there is no pace being set at the moment, so I am pondering on what is going on.
Two statements stood out for me, “could it be that I actually enjoyed the excitement and stress of study as a form of thrill?” – that I am used to, “excitement”. For me it is arduous and everything has to be hard work..
“And…could it be that it was a distraction from living a simple and joyful life whilst studying?”. I wouldn’t know what that is about and could it be as simple as that?
There is much to learn about studies and everyone one of us can get caught up in the struggles of studies, when all we need to do is look at the simplicity of life and the rest will follow. Trust in that revelation.
A huge step in true freedom when we can feel this: “I could feel that I do not need the teacher’s approval anymore as I did when I was young and did not know any better than doing it that way.”
It is beautiful when we are freed from any spells of beliefs of ourselves and others. It’s a big shroud and weight off our bodies – truly freeing…
Recognition and reward is sold to us as the best thing we can get whilst the opposite spectrum of being shunned or getting attention for not doing as we ‘should’ also achieves at least getting attention. All this as a replacement for true love which is what we all crave really in the end – to be loved and seen for who we are and not what we do.
The greatest blessing we can give ourselves is to do things without stress!
Yes, we do not need stress in our lives, ‘I became aware of the fact that getting all stressed about the exams is just a distraction from actually doing what needs to be done… to study in this case.’
I find myself back here because exams are so all consuming it is really refreshing to get some perspective. I was struck by your comment that when you connected to what the exams were for, the purpose of them became something you then did in order so be able to do the job you felt was needed. Yes, there were some boxes to tick and some hoops to jump through but now you knew why and therefore you could work out how you wanted to do them as well.
It wasn’t the physical changes, because you had a rhythm of looking after yourself and had looked at how to stay true to that rhythm as you approached your exams, it was the fact that you took time to listen to the messages your body was giving you and asked why. When we ask why, we can get under the surface level of what we have taken as normal, we may not get to the answer all on our own or in one session but there are no great secrets if we are willing to turn inward and consider ‘I wonder why?’.
“Why was I accepting stress as normal and something to sit out?” It’s a great question, and we accept many things as normal such as abuse, self neglect, abusive relationships, and other pressures. Your method of self inquiry showed how much power we have in our lives to make changes, and despite how normal things like exam stress are we can find a way that is based on love and care. It’s very inspiring, thank you Lieke.
Yes so true by asking the question it puts the person taking the exam back in the drivers seat in how they are going to approach those exams.
Stress free studying for exams should be part of the learning while at school.
Nailed it Mary – how different an experience would that be…we could say that that would be hugely possible even just by not having expectations…
While in creation, we have to play by its rules, but we don’t have to become its contractor and seek to be rewarded by it and be bound by it.
It sounds crazy but I’ve found it to be true that we choose stress and tension to avoid a life that can be very simple. There is a lot of power in simplicity.
I like this Leigh and it is so true – we avoid simplicity as on some level we crave complexity and hence we are our own creators of the mess we are in.
I have a big interview coming up that I need to do a lot of prep for and I have just realised this relates to me.
“I became aware of the fact that getting all stressed about the ‘interview’ is just a distraction from actually doing what needs to be ”
Lieke this is great, you are a great example and inspiration to many who lose themselves whilst at uni. Thank you for being a light.
Absolutely, loving ourselves, not seeking acceptance or recognition for our achievements, ‘With that I feel I do not need the recognition and approval anymore, and that all I truly want is love – from myself, for myself and from others. Love for who I am, not what I do or the great marks or exam results I could get.’
This one line says it all ‘“I only have to sit this stress pain out until tomorrow, after my exam” how many times do we feel our bodies in a state of tension, hardness and stress and think to ourselves when I’ve done this then I can pay attention to getting myself back into a good place. I’m studying at the moment and know this one all too well but what I have started to do is have breaks often during the course of my studying otherwise I would go on for hours and then feel dreadful. While I have the breaks I do a chore or take a bath, go for a walk, anything that isn’t studying.
I get a sense that it resets your body Julie and therefore when you come back to your study you are more able to discern what you need to do next. I wonder if this would also make you more efficient in your study, that what you are learning actually goes in and stays in?
I have now been doing a Masters and quite a few other qualifications. This stress-free or stress-heavily-reduced way of studying is really great and things simply get done.
It is a beautiful shift that is described here, not being drained by the life because of the quality we hold ourselves in. This could be a life lesson for the education system.
No good grade can’t never ever satisfy us because our Love is not defined by that. Just is and ever will be the same for all.
Inma your comment is awesome and it relates to more than just good grades because we chase so many things outside of ourselves to fill us up and for recognition, and as you say “… our Love is not defined by that.”
Reading this today makes me see how much effort I’ve put in trying and performing in such a way that I would be approved by others. It didn’t matter having exams or not, I would place in to myself the pressure to ‘do it right’ in whatever situation. These days I’m becoming more aware of this pattern but instead of criticising myself I’m opening up to the fact that there is much more to me. Being gentle and loving with myself makes me see that any kind of recognition can’t supply the joy of living free of any pressure or expectation from outside. Living free of pictures and full of me feels a very wise choice to make, that supports me to face up my daily work and studies with fun, joy, commitment and appreciation, not for what I do, but for who I am.
Great to have the understanding of why we seek approval and recognition, so we can then move on and let this old pattern go, ‘I wondered why I had this need to be recognised by the professor and fellow University students. I remember that I learned to study like this at secondary school. As I was a bit shy, quiet and did not say very much at school, the only way I could get recognition and attention from the teacher was to be very good at school.’
In the middle of a world full of pressures and expectations this sharing is an open door through which comes renewed fresh air. Thank you Lieke
Making space in the day, even 1 minute just to breathe and reconnect and feel where we’re at- this isn’t a luxury for ‘when I have time’ but a fundamental part of looking after ourselves. When we don’t do this, when we abandon ourselves to an endless list of tasks and activities, it’s easy to lose ourselves in that detail and quickly get tired, exhausted and resentful. Our bodies are so masterful at knowing what they need, not just to function at an optimal level, but to thrive and feel full of vitality.
What has supported me to not get stressed when studying is to not use the study to get recognition and acceptance. Our marks do not determine our worth.
I love that Elizabeth and it is the same as I have been experiencing lately with some assignments I had to do and on which I would be marked. All these thoughts came in that I should do it well, wanted to be the best and definitely didn’t want to make mistakes. When I realised that I could let it go and just do what I needed to do but without attachment to any of the above and I don’t feel stressed. It is just another thing I have to do.
I love this, because when you do start to truly love being who you are you do begin to do things differently and with much more consideration for your own well-being and health. It should definitely be taught at all education levels that you don’t compromise your body or yourself for anything.
Connecting with the beauty inside of us and feeling our worth really does help let go of the need for recognition and instead we can replace drive for recognition with loving purpose for all.
It feels like we’re addicted to stress almost because it’s comfortable: that tension in our stomach is a known quantity, an anchor, that keeps us feeling something in our body. We say we don’t like it, but we’re the ones creating it and allowing it in! When we up the ante with self-care, the stress starts to dissipate, because there’s less for it to get a foothold onto. When we’re tired, run down, it feels like we’re more likely to drop the ball, and stop paying attention to how we feel, so it’s easier to let the stress, and any other negative emotions, bowl right in and take root.
Good point, how much do we need the stress to tell us we are on track and taking this seriously? If that is the case then the head will translate the messages from the body as a confirmation of something good, not that the body is ill at ease and struggling with the surge in hormones.
We could say I have been pondering on how to study without stress and maintain a healthy lifestyle or I have been pondering on how to live in a way that I feel settle in my body and from that platform I can carry a pattern of movements everywhere I go that support me in every way. Seemingly is the same, but it is not.
It is so easy to make outside goals and expectations the be all and end all and so get stressed out over an outcome rather than knowing it is not what it looks like that counts but rather the quality I do it in that is important. We then set the standard and foundation for what is to come rather than simply conforming to the way things have been done.
I am about to embark on uni study for the first time in about 20 years and last time it was very stressful and exhausting so great to read your blog about how it doesn’t have to be this way and we can approach it differently.
It’s interesting how we associate stress with exams and consider it normal simply because it is common, without questioning it as you have here Lieke. It just goes to show how addicted we have become to stress, as we have become addicted to the recognition we seek from things such as good grades etc. rather than simply applying ourselves whole-heartedly to the task at hand and feeling the natural joy that comes from completing a job well done without needing to be in an altered state at the end of it.
Yes this is interesting because I can see how there are many things in life that we consider to be stressful but do they have to be? Have we conditioned ourselves to do things like work, study and other things with stress? It does seem to be an uneccessary and unhealthy addiction we have with stress.
Yes, exams come with a surprisingly strong consciousness and can even come with lots of attempts to trip you up.
It’s really supportive the way you share here how you worked through or pondered and reflected on what the stress feeling was showing you rather than just seeing it as something that was inevitable or that was out of your power to change….Thank you.
Yes, I agree, it was really powerful to hear someone stop and consider beyond what has become so normal in the body.
This is a seminal blog as it shows a way out of the massive issue of exam stress.
Thank you Lieke, when you were able to examine what was the cause of the stress around exams it just become a part of the day, the same as any other activity in your day, in that you just remained with you completing what was there to be completed. To me this is the One Life, you bringing the essence of you in full equally to all parts of life, with no part of life more important, and no part of life greater than you.
I fee it is so easy while we are studying to lose the purpose of why we wanted to study in the first place, for example for you it was ‘to serve humanity; to bring my care, attention, love and eye for detail to the people I am going to treat in my profession (and enjoy this process)’, which is amazing and instead we make it about marks and grades so by the time we had finished the course we are exhausted and in many cases lost the true purpose of why the course was started in the first place! We definitely need to bring Love into Education.
That’s a good point about how we can remind ourselves of the purpose behind what we’re doing, if we feel like it started out as truly loving but went off-track along the way.
This bought back memories of how I used to study, to pass, to seek approval by others, to have an identity, to have another credential.
Since too being inspired by Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine, my studying is changing without perfection and continue to be refined. I now study not just for me but for a bigger purpose – to serve humanity, its that simple.
Studying last night I found myself racey and tense. That is until I re-chose to allow my essence to fill my body. Immediately the raciness subsided and my body surrendered, what was very significant with this physical shift was the awareness of how at any moment we can claim ourselves, and the moment we do the body responds.
This article is a great inspiration, a model for how to go about doing any task.
“Another thing that I realised was that I am wanting to study to become a dentist to serve humanity; to bring my care, attention, love and eye for detail to the people I am going to treat in my profession (and enjoy this process.)“
This realization is a massive ‘key’ to humanity, it is the missing piece when it comes to the incessant activity to do things for self absolutely exhausts us, as we never seem to meet the expectations we set. Yet to apply self to support humanity in the profession one chooses completely changes the way we feel inside our bodies.
Yes very true it is such a life changer. We have to first feel though why we are actually making it about ourselves when it is actually natural for us to make it about brotherhood that is including everyone equally as ourselves. When we make it about others without feeling into this it can easily become a mission or goal we are trying to achieve still to get recognition for ourselves or we totally disregard ourselves in the process. Self-love and self-care are key.
Yes, this is very true, it is easy to make your life a mission to help people. Until one feels though that the true call is not to help, but to know all are divine beings and through doing whatever profession we choose, support others to remember who they are.
This blog makes it very clear that we can choose to live with stress and accept it as normal or instead we can choose to live without it by simply being honest about the ways we have used it,
This is such an insightful sharing. Makes me wonder what I am actually desiring underneath so called challenges and struggles I think I encounter in life but actually am creating.
This comment gives me a moment of pause, one to reflect on what I allow my thoughts to manifest. It also brings strongly to the fore that we are forever responsible for everything that comes to us in life. Our true power is not to lord it over others, but to claim ourselves, our essence and our divine birth right. This flys in the face of everything we know the world to be, but brings to the world the possibility that we are way more in control of our lives than we really want to acknowledge.
Yes, once we become aware of the ‘underneath’ we have much more ability to make choices and to move accordingly.
When we narrow things down to being self-focused this inevitably causes stress in the body. When we expand into the bigger picture of how everything is everything and everything affects everything we can understand just how necessary it is, and what it means, to take responsibility for our part in the whole
Beautifully said Kathleen. We are made to take everything into account instead of making it just about ourselves.
Unfortunately the whole Education System and the examination process can cause a lot of stress and anxiety for people, my daughter even at 8 years of age was feeling the pressure from the Naplan testing at her school. It is clear there needs to be better support and focus on their whole being so students can stay steady and connected to their bodies especially during examination times, your blog Lieke will support others greatly with this.
Stress is a great distractor that prevents us focusing on what we need to do and overall delays us completing our responsibilities.
Stress seems to be an expected part of life these days, and with exams coming on people naturally go into stress mode which is an accepted part of studying. Great for you to realise that stress was part of the need for recognition showing what a good student you were and being rewarded, great insight Lieke thank you for sharing.
It is funny how we put up with these feelings – oh, I just have to get past this deadline at work and then I can relax, oh I just have to wait for this argument at home to blow over and I can feel less tense, oh I just have to wait for that person to stop bullying me and I won’t feel so low all the time. But there are always things going on in our lives that mean we will never truly have a moment of space where we are not feeling something, often because one feeling doesn’t go away but leaves us set up to trip into another reaction. Rather than accepting them as normal, waiting them out or just beginning to ignore them and finding ways to cope, we need to do as you present in this blog, become more honest about the way we are feeling and why we feel this way, so we can truly let the feelings go and choose something different in this moment and then in the next.
That is a great point Rebecca.
The quality of our life vastly improves when we are willing to look at ourselves under the microscope with great love, honesty and humbleness, as you have done for yourself (and us all) here Lieke. Thank you for this reflection, I am sure many can relate to what you have shared.
A first class honours degree in realisation and appreciation of all you bring to the world.
The quality of our movements is what truly matters for what they offer us.
This blog came out four years ago and it was amazing then as it is now. What is interesting is that there is so much more to this insight as one becomes more productive in one’s whole life if we take the stress out correctly.
Gosh, if every University student could read this and realise there is in fact another way, that would change the world. It’s a sad story that it’s normally to be so strung out while studying. I remember hardly eating anything nutritional when I had some major assessments due in my 2nd and 3rd year of Uni. I felt liked I worked on the projects 24/7 and walked around like a zombie, with absolutely no concept of how to care for myself at all!!
Any stress in our day to day living we feel in our body is a sure sign that something needs to be addressed. Anxiousness, raciness, nervousness, holding back can cause stress etc even in their very subtle emotion – much to explore here for me…
Yes very true, our body does not ‘just’ get racy, nervous or anxious there is always something that is causing it and as you say, most of the time it has more to do with something we are not doing than with something we are doing. Holding back creates huge tensions in the body.
It is good to register stress as something that is warning us that something is not flowing in the body and to not accept the stress as a normal part of our life in some situations but instead to make the choices to be differently.
In a sense you could say we sit an exam every day, where we are tested on a very cellular level to see if we will stay with Love, if we will honour truth and move in harmony. If we don’t there is no punishment, just our body consistently gives us our marks back. Thank you Lieke for reminding me this natural state of surrender is who I am, not a stressed out student.
‘I became aware of the fact that getting all stressed about the exams is just a distraction from actually doing what needs to be done… to study in this case.’ How much time do we spend fretting and stressing and making a drama out of life? When we ask ourselves what needs to be done it is very obvious and yet still sometimes we can procrastinate so strong is our desire to avoid simplicity.
Yes, once we understand why we are getting stressed – really understand it, we have alternatives.
Yes very true, all our problems are self-created in the sense that it is our reaction to life, to society – to the way things work at the moment, that make life hard and a struggle, not the things themselves perse.
This blog blows the lid on what it really means to prepare for an exam or assignment or any project really. We tend to think that we have to put everything else on hold and only focus on the project or goal at hand but actually what I have realised is that the other times when I am not in front of the books or computer e.g. sleep and mealtimes, exercise etc are just as important as the working time and if they are missing seriously affect the outcome or the outplay of the day when I have to deliver.
Yes that is my experience too, the fact is that we are living in a body that needs water, nourishment, care and nurturing and when we ignore this for a couple of days or even hours afterwards we have to come back and feel the affect this has had on us. There is no way around it so it is much wiser and much more enjoyable to care deeply for our bodies all the time.
And when you explore you discover that there is beauty inside yourself, that it is amazing to just be yourself and bring this to the world, and so, ‘ With that I feel I do not need the recognition and approval anymore, and that all I truly want is love – from myself, for myself and from others. Love for who I am, not what I do or the great marks or exam results I could get.’
Sure Lorraine, when we let go of the stress as a result of held ideals and beliefs, we can reconnect to that essence inside that is already everything and does not need any mark or reward to feel amazing loving every day.
Great to explore what is driving you to have excellent exam results, and to see if recognition is still present, then you can nominate this and choose differently, ‘I realised I still had quite an investment in getting excellent university exam results.’ A great subject to explore.
Inspiring Lieke, it takes the honesty you achieved to reduce the false ways in which we have taken on to live. Under the stress is our essence where we are all-equipped to deal with the reality at hand. To get there is self-responsibility in being honest about what is not working for us.
This is very inspiring Lieke, when I think of studying I get anxious straight away but by reading this I got to feel what is there around it. There is a belief and a resignation that I’m not going to do well so I will worry about that from the start and approach learning with an ‘I have to remember this!’ attitude…. not conducive to a very supportive learning environment is it? Something I have experienced time and time again is that once I pinpoint what is untrue then the anxiety and complicated thoughts just go, as there is then nothing in the way of the truth of how I am and how I feel to live, eat, study, work, walk etc. to come through.
The teachings of Universal Medicine are so simple, yet we can make them so complicated. I love here how you took the principles of these teachings, to observe what is going on, read what is going on, respond to the situation (and not react), and then let go of what needs to be let go, and then move on. This is a great example of how to do it. Thank you.
Brilliant Lieke – everything you share here translates perfectly to many other spheres of life also. For instance, I am planning my upcoming wedding and can see I have let it be a matter of high drama too. Why? Well it certainly creates a lot of distraction and complication, all because of the incredible emphasis we put on our ‘big day’. But what you have shared has helped me see that getting stressed is just a choice and a way to numb myself. It doesn’t have to be like this. To truly pass the test of life is to say ‘no thanks’ to stress and strife.
Beautiful Joseph, gorgeous that you are planning your wedding 🙂 There is a lot of things that can come up in planning a wedding and I know from experience but it is an art to just live each day with a fullness just as much as the wedding day. Many people live for their wedding but actually the love lived each day is what will guarantee the quality of the wedding in the end!
Making the education system about people first, taking care of themselves and honouring themselves would make a huge needed change to this system.
This would be great to share with other student in the lead up to their exams.
Amazing sharing Leike, we are so caught up in recognition that it is very insidious how it weaves through so much of our lives and why we do what we do!
Lieke, this has been a very welcomed blog for me as I have just returned to study and I am finding that I have gone into overdrive. Your reflection has supported me to look at where that is coming from. We carry many old patterns in the way we live that are not true and it is very easy to let these dictate how we live in different instances. Awareness of our energy and energetic presence brings more honesty into our life and supports us to step out of the beliefs, ideals and pictures that drive us. Thank you.
The body’s communication is always from truth but we can undermine this truth by over-riding its messages and thinking the ‘head’ knows best. Your honesty and openness to going deeper and exposing the attention seeking spirit uncovered some illusions that held no truth. What a beautiful confirmation of the choice you made to enquiry more deeply Leike.
It’s interesting that often in difficult or stressful moments the first thing we drop is our daily rhythm and the stuff that supports us, which essentially leaves us baseless and not so able to cope with what is in front of us. I know for me when life is tough, it’s the little things like making sure my washing is done and not skipping corners with eating etc that help keep me steady.
Beautiful to read how you realised that you didn’t need the approval of another, and getting stressed was not necessary, when we don’t put expectations on ourself we don’t feel exhausted either.
Lieke this is a great support and very inspiring for anyone studying, to know we have a choice even in these stressful times makes life more simple and joyful.
Getting an understanding of why we do what we do is so important for breaking the pattern. Great insight Lieke and great freedom for anyone ready to consider this as a life skill not just how to get through exams.
One of the things I love about Universal Medicine is that it can inspire you to look beyond what is being presented, look at what you may be bringing to a situation, it reminds you of the bigger picture (that we are love first and foremost and here to serve humanity), and from there everything can fall into perspective, simplicity, joy, harmony and order. This blog, that I love that you have written, is a stunning example of how it can work.
If I get stressed about something is actually tends to slow me down – my thinking becomes less clear or if I do speed up it’s in a disharmonious way that is not sustainable and leaves me feeling racy and unsettled and drained – it certainly doesn’t lead to quality learning! Bringing more focus to what I’m doing, and importantly the way in which I’m approaching it, really helps me to be truly connected with what I’m doing or learning.
Yes, I have found that too Fiona. I can’t think as clearly anymore when I am stressed and everything feels wrong and weird. Yet I know stress is often celebrated as the thing that makes people perform better! I am not so sure about that though! 🙂
Amazing Lieke. It is so interesting to observe how our search for love through approval, recognition and acceptance plays out through our lives in many different and subtle ways, leaving our bodies feeling less than great. What is so inspiring about what you have shared is the willingness to be honest about how you are feeling and what you were accepting in that moment, allowing you to go deeper to expose what was not you, what was not serving and supporting you to be yourself. As such you simply let it go; as a result bringing more of you to life was naturally present. A great lesson for us all. Through self-honest we come to know the truth of who we are and how we can truly live, and as you have shown us this is what true alchemy is about.
Yes true Carola, very interesting and I am more and more becoming aware that love has nothing to do with recognition or acceptance. Love just holds you, but it does not hold you more loving for doing something great or hold you less when you are doing something that is less than loving. This something I am learning to feel more and more in life which makes it simpler to just be myself and appreciate that.
This is such a timely read for me. I have been going through a patch of extreme busy-ness right now, and while I know I am handling it far better than I used to, your sharing presents me with a few questions – am I getting off on being ‘busy’, juggling things so to speak? Has ‘doing’ taken over ‘being? – Because I know how I have been eating probably more than my body needs and in my honesty something actually feels amiss.
I think it’s great Lieke how you said that it used to feel like stress was something that ‘came over you’ but now you can see that you actually have another choice and can study in a different way, one that is without the stress, not because something outside of you has changed but the way that you are approaching the exams and work has.
Yes I agree Fiona. To be not so caught up in stress it is vital to be aware of the energy that comes with most studies, especially university ones, which is very much geared on having to do very well, and looks at us as ‘not knowing’ and having to gain all knowledge – not acknowledging we are amazing at the start. I found being aware of this energy that comes with study is key to not get absorbed in it and super stressed and be dragged down with negative thoughts of ‘being a failure’ or ‘not being able to do it’ (which happened to me not long ago) So yes, it is all about how we approach our studies and not pursue about changing the study itself.
Living life in search for constant recognition not only places a stress in our physicality as we need to harden our bodies but also stops us from being transparent creating a lack of intimacy in all our relationships.
We tend to talk about these stressful exams as if the are an anomaly out of keeping with our everyday life. But is that true? Or are these just an intense dose of a stress roller coaster we are actually always on in truth? Going to work, talking with our partner, relative or friend, are we not always a little bit stressed then? If this is the case then we are all in great need of stopping and examining the way we are being just as you have done so beautifully here Lieke.
Great point Joseph, I think we see many parts of our life as little exams, even speaking with a friend or colleague can feel that way. As long as we are not fully settled in ourselves everything in life feels like a test of some sort to be accepted until we accept ourselves as we are.
It is truly beautiful and extraordinarily rare to come to a place in life let alone study where you realize that you do not need to push yourself for recognition and acceptance knowing and connecting to there being a beauty within that both you and world deserve to experience…. and instead move through life with that as your equal motivation and inspiration.
This is brilliant. That need for recognition is so insidious and I know I sometimes allow it to push me into activities in a way that is not harmonious to my body and it usually translates itself as tension and hardening. We may appear to be doing exactly the same thing, yet our true intention sets apart how we experience it.
What a refreshing insight about studying and stress Lieke. Your wonderful description is so inspiring it made it easier for me to also chose to let go of stress before an examen. Thank you for not holding back and sharing what you have discover so far.
When things get busier, and you are asked to do more, that is the point that you step UP the other parts of your life as well…. making sure there is the regular exercise, eating well, getting to sleep on time, taking some time to nurture yourself. Then the new level of activity required is supported and becomes sustainable.
Yes and things we thought were not possible are suddenly possible and gives space to do/be even more.
After reading this I feel that Lieke van Haastrecht should be running 101 classes in self care at university as a required subject… imagine the difference to people lifes when they graduated with such an enhanced awareness of self-care and all it brings
I absolutely agree with you, this is a subject worth being part of any university/school curriculum.
Totally cjames2012! And she would be running it from a body that lives it… inspiring others to try it also.
And how amazing it will be for anyone who is her patient… this really is inspiring
I left school before my exams started, I found even the concept of them overwhelming. I think that it is great you are getting into the details of why and what is supporting you or supporting you in this time. Stress is just as damaging as food or drinks, its great that you are recognizing this and putting some thing into place.
I love the question you ask of yourself Lieke – you get an A+ from me. You go underneath the surface of this stress to show that it’s actually a hit we indulge in just like any stimulant, sugar or coffee. This is huge if we are willing to look at our day and the way we are in our interactions with others.
Thank you Joseph, I think we should be giving many people an A+ simply for the amazing person they are, the love they express and the commitment they have for instance!
I think stress is indeed just as much a stimulant as coffee is, many people say they are more productive when they are a little stressed but I think this is because many people are already very tired or even exhausted so that is when the stress is seen as helpful but when we would be vital at the start this would not be the case.
The first test I sat, after returning to uni this year, I burst into tears after. I was stressed to the max and had completely abandoned myself to it all. I knew this had to change. I knew this wasn’t me. So over the last year I have been committed to staying with myself more deeply as I study, as I prepare, and as I sit to do the test. Gradually I have reacted less and less to sitting tests and instead have embraced the opportunity they offer, and that is to be able to do it all another way, a loving way, with all of me. This is powerful on so many levels and was in fact what I was shying away from embracing by going into anxiety and stress, but no more!
I know the feeling Robyn of wanting to burst out in tears after an exam as it is really a horrible feeling to abandon ourselves just for a couple of numbers on a paper at the end of it saying we did well or not. It is very beautiful to read how you turned this around for yourself. To hold this at an exam can be challenging, because so many people are choosing stress that we can feel uncomfortable being so comfortable with it all.