What a Mad Cat Can Teach You About Stress

“You’ll never sink this boat! … Come on! You call this a storm? … Blow, you son-of -a-bitch! Blow! It’s time for a showdown! You and me. I’m right here. Come and get me! You’ll never sink this boat!” 

LT Dan Taylor – Forrest Gump

Over the past few weeks we’ve talked about five different types of stress:  Work, Family, Physical, Relationship, and Emotional.  That leaves us just one more.  I won’t tell you what it is yet.  Let’s see if you can figure it out:

What happens when you pin a cat in a corner?

That’s right, it raises up its back, spits and hisses and comes at you with claws.  When you pin a cat in a corner and leave it no way out, it fights.

That’s kind of what life is like with spiritual stress.

Spiritual stress happens when there is no outlet beyond just what you can grasp with your five senses (touch, taste, sight, smell, and hearing).  Spirituality is any practice that enables a person to work in a sixth sense (no, not the creepy kind of sixth sense).  It’s a comfort with things beyond the tangible.

Now, when you think of spiritual practices, just realize this isn’t always a religious thing.  People practice spirituality in any number of ways.  There is meditation, yoga, aromatherapy, nature walks, mindfulness, prayer, fasting, walking around on hot coals in your bare feet, etc.  If you’ve identified some sort of spiritual practice and it works for you, you probably don’t experience spiritual stress.

On the other hand, like LT Dan in the quote above, spiritual stress can impact other areas in you.  A disconnect in spirituality when one needs to feel that spiritual connection can result in stress.  Like the cat in the corner.  Like LT Dan on the mast of Jenny.

So how can we handle this kind of stress?

Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Ask yourself if you even have some sort of spiritual practice.  Again, this isn’t always religion.  Do you set up quiet reflection time?  Do you devote any time to sixth sense activities?
  2. Find a practice that works for you.  Look for people that you admire and appear to have confidence in this area.  Ask them what they do and how they practice.
  3. Research.  Maybe start a journey into this realm by just reading a few books.  The hot new trend is Mindfulness.  There are a ton of apps for Android and iOs that have guided meditation.  Pick one and just test drive it.

Of all the stresses we’ve talked about, this one is probably the most controversial.  I’m offering it as an option when the other five areas are in check and yet your stress is still high.  In the next post I’ll give you a tool called The StressBuster™ which will let you self-identify your particular stress area but think about spiritual stress for the moment.

You can learn a lot from an angry cat…