Feeling stressed? Having a hard time dealing with all that is coming your way? Here are some practical tips for dealing with stress.
Life can get overwhelming. There may be many things that need to be taken care of, but most of the time, it is our perception and how we deal with what comes our way that determines if we feel stressed or not. Dealing with stress is mostly a mind over matter situation.
Tips for dealing with stress
Sit and watch. During moments of stress, stop everything, even just for a few seconds, and breathe deeply. Let thoughts appear, observe them, and then go back to what you were doing. Simply being aware of the thoughts as they come and becoming the witness of these thoughts helps us gain a better perspective on what is actually happening.
Do one thing at a time
We often get overwhelmed when there are many things happening at once. Stopping for even a few seconds allows us to connect with the present moment and with that we can tackle the one task that is most crucial. When we are focused on just one thing, all other tasks simply do not exist at that moment, and thus the stress drops away too. In our attempts to get so many things done all at once, we never actually accomplish any of them.
Practice 1:2 breathing
This helps calm the nervous system and lets the fight or flight mechanism subside so you can actually take action from a calm and clear place. You can do just a few rounds whenever you feel a bit overwhelmed or stressed. You can also sit or lie down and practice ten rounds to really shift your nervous system. (See pranayama section in the book)
Take a deep breath
Yes, so easy, and yet it does wonders. The main thing is to focus on a long slow exhale. This is really just one round of the 1:2 breathing. For example, suppose you have reached a red light and you are already late. Take a big breath, and slowly release it. Or suppose someone is being slow to pay at the supermarket. You have a meeting to attend, or your kid is screaming – take a deep breath. If you cannot change the situation, stress will not help; it will only make it worse.
Sit on a cloud
Say what? Yes, just for a few moments, imagine sitting on a cloud and looking down at the world. See the bigger picture. See how small you are, and maybe realize that your situation is less dramatic than what you are making of it. At a given moment, when our minds create stories, situations may appear life threatening, but most of the time the story we create in our mind is far more dramatic than what is actually happening. Really – the stories we tell ourselves can make things worse. Instead of dealing calmly with the situation, when we are stressed, we normally function less effectively and make more errors.
This is a regular practice that will help you stay calm and under control. Any of the meditations in the meditation section can be helpful. For stress, sometimes object meditation works best, as for many of us it is easier to focus on an object than to focus on the breath.
Dealing With Stress
- Sit and observe your thoughts.
- Limit your tasks to one at a time.
- Practice 1:2 breathing.
- Take a deep breath and exhale slowly.
- Sit on a cloud and get a real perspective on life.
This is one small chapter from the extensive Flexitarian Method Book. Another great book to help you get focused, more productive with less stress is: The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results