“Stress is who you think you should be. Peace is who you are.”
Stress Relieving Best Practices:
- Do not worry! Worrying about things you cannot control is a waste of mental energy. You often spiral into stressful or anxiety provoking thoughts when you think about things you cannot control. Your unconscious brain is more than likely already thinking of solutions to these things that are stressing you out. Let your brain work it out while you sleep and while you focus your energy on more important things, like spending time with your loved ones.
- Take time out of your day to meditate/pray. During this time, it is important that you express at least 3 things you are grateful for in your life. Before you begin your prayer/meditation, inhale deeply and hold for 3 seconds, then exhale completely for another count of 3. Do this at least 3 times for as many times as you want. You can also increase the seconds you hold and exhale your breaths. Lastly, end your mediation/prayer by giving thanks to the Universe or whom/whatever you believe in.
- Focus on the present moment. Whatever happened yesterday is out of your control. It is futile to keep ruminating on negative things that happened the day before. Focus your attention to think about the things that are currently happening in your life now. More importantly, thinking about negative things that could happen don’t help, either. Bad things happen. It’s best to be prepared for the bad things, but do not waste time thinking about, “What if this…What if that…But this could happen…” Do you live in a “What If?” world? You live in the present day. Focus on that.
- For every negative thought, think of 3 positive thoughts. Practice this so often that it becomes second nature to you. For example, if you think, “I am so broke,” challenge that with “my rent is paid for the month, all my bills are paid, I can afford to feed my family and myself.” If you think, “No one will ever love me,” challenge that with “my family has deep love for me, my friends love me unconditionally, I love myself enough that I don’t need it validated by anyone else.” Catch my drift?
- Practice Solutions-Based Thinking. Instead of focusing on the problem, focus on how you can fix it. What are things you can physically do to make the situation better? We all know XYZ is bad, really bad. Now what are we going to do about it? We can sit here and complain and whine, but nothing will get better until we actually create a change. “Be the change you wish to see…” Don’t just talk the talk, walk the walk, too! I believe in you!
- What are some current events/people/situations that are stressful for you?
- Make a list.
- Review your list.
- Write a “YES” next to things you can control, and “NO” next to things you cannot control.
- For the things where you answered yes, what are some solutions that you can implement in your life that will cause less stress? Can you remove yourself from the situation? Are there some things in your power that you can change for better outcomes?
- Write down all behaviors and thoughts you can change from within that contribute to these stressful situations and develop a plan to keep improving your behavior.
- Example, if you are stressed out because your mother’s health is deteriorating, what can you do to help her? Can you ensure she is taken care of? Can you visit her, talk to her, take her out more often? Can you go with her to doctor’s visits so you know what’s going on? These are things you can control. You cannot control the rate at which your mother’s health deteriorates, your mother’s lifestyle or any other outside factors that affect your mom.
- Another example, if you are stressed out because of the natural disasters that are currently taking place, what can you do to help the folks affected by it? Can you donate money to a trusted organization? Can you make a trip out to the affected locations and donate your physical labor? Can you pray for those affected in good faith and send strength spiritually? Can you prepare yourself for a potential natural disaster by putting together an “Emergency Kit?” These are things you can control. You cannot control how Mother Earth reacts to us, how natural disasters affect civilization and you can’t control how others react or don’t react to these situations.
- Revisit this list frequently. Have you followed through? Are there more things you can add? Let this list serve as your guide towards solutions-based thinking and worrying less.
As the old saying goes, thinking or worrying about the problem won’t help you, but actually doing something about it might help. Do what is within your capabilities because even the littlest steps are still steps and eventually you will get to where you need to be.