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  • #192828
    Kol Drake
    Moderator

    Let’s face it — when life gets crazy, we might not have time for week-long meditation and Jedi mental marathons or even daily life affirming practices. I mean… it’s CRAZY.
    And the stress of NOT doing and KNOWING we didn’t do what we thought we should can compound the self imposed stress limits… sheesh
    So what can we do?

    There are few simple things we can do. A few mindset shifts and a couple actions that take only a couple minutes.
    These do not solve the most severe stress related problems, but they can help most of us in a ‘good way’ every day.

    1. Be in the moment, completely, with just one task.
    Instead of being in a stressful task-switching state of mind, take your next task, let everything else go, and just be in the moment with this one task. Let yourself be immersed in this task by letting go of the feeling that you need to quickly rush through it – that you need to move on to the next task waiting for you. There will always be a next task.

    Bottom line: Slow down. Breathe.
    Review your commitments and goals. Put first things first. Do one task at a time. Start now. Take a 5-minute break in an hour.
    Wash, Rinse, Repeat.

    2. Let go of controlling what can’t be controlled.
    Fear can cause anyone to be stressed — not external factors like your job obligations or family issues. Those external factors are just a part of life, but they become stressful when you fear failure, fear people won’t like you, fear you’re not good enough, fear abandonment, and so forth.

    Remember: Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering. Suffering leads to elections. Elections leads to chaos. Chaos leads to confusion. Confusion leads to fear. Fear leads to…. wait a minute. Isn’t this what we want to get away from? NOT being stuck in this endless loop of fear, stress, etc.

    Damn straight
    Let’s set the record straight. I like chaos. Some of my best meals have been pretty chaotic. My whole life has been one huge chaote. :p
    That said, YOUR life doesn’t have to be as crazy as mine. Do what I say, not what I do… my dad’s old refrain.

    Head Games — Our fears are based on some fantasy in our head about how things are supposed to be. Perfect this. Achievement that. Respectable other. Comfortable whatnot. Successes out the wahzoo. These fantasies are a way to feel in control of a world that we do not actually control, but these same fantasies are hurting us by causing fear and stress. NOT matching our imposed fantasies of ‘how things/people/us should be’ — when we do not meet those ‘expectations’ we get uptight, stressed, angry, sad, pissed, pressured.

    Clear the mind. Let go of trying to control all of reality — or ‘just’ everything around you. Be okay with little chaos and uncertainty, and trust the Force that things will work out. In the long run, we will have less fear and less stress.

    3. Take a brief walk outside.
    Ya, I know. The weather & seasons are changing and who wants to slog thru hip deep snow drifts or blistery winds or neck high floods or…. boy, this weather is something, isn’t it? Still — if you are willing to ‘brave the elements’ — take 5-10 minutes to take a walk and clear your mind. A short walk does wonders. It gives you something new to look at and it gets your body moving. Plus — you are BRAVING THE ELEMENTS! Person vs WEATHER… it is the stuff of poems and novels. Or just wet shoes by the front entryway. Still… it is taking your out of the ‘stress moment’ and into a different spot / mindset… which can help release the stress / steam buildup.

    Studies over the years have shown that people who have recently experienced stressful life events like a serious illness, death of a loved one, marital separation or job loss, always see an immediate mood boost after a short outdoor walk. It’s literally the most effective way to instantly reduce the stressful pressure of a worried mind.

    No drugs, pills, or bottles of encouragement… just plain old ‘one foot in front of the other’ for 5-10 minutes. Talk about ‘being natural and one with the Force’! How much easier can it get?

    4. Perform short mindfulness practices.
    You do not have to meditate for 30 minutes to get the benefits of mindfulness…

    When I say ‘short’ I mean — damn short!

    You can do a quick body scan (focus on your body and notice how each part of it feels right now) in 30 seconds.
    You can pay attention to your breath for 60 seconds (listen to it and feel it).
    You can watch your thoughts about concerns, fears, judgments, doubts, and ideals for a minute (recognize that these thoughts are simply thoughts; you don’t need to believe them or react to them).
    You can walk mindfully, paying attention to your feet, your body, your breath and your surroundings, as you walk.
    You can do each of these short mindfulness practices in little bits whenever you need them throughout your day.

    Easy Peasy.
    And short. If you are doing any one of those things for more than a minute or two…. you are doing too much. And then you start stressing about ‘doing’ instead of just being.
    Relax, breathe, be Force-ably short and sweet.

    5. Track what’s going well and give thanks.
    As humans we tend to remember ever ‘oh shit’ thing in our life… but seldom stop and think of ‘the good stuff’. Ya, it feels good when good stuff happens but we soon forget that when so much ‘oh shit’ comes along. Do your best and surrender the rest. When you stay stuck in worried thoughts of the life you think you should have, you end up missing the beauty of what you DO have. You will have a hard time ever being happy if you are not thankful for the good things in your life right now. Like me! I’m the best me you will ever meet… bask in the knowing. :P

    Every evening before you go to bed, write down three things that went well during the day and their causes.
    Simply provide a short, causal explanation for each good thing.
    That’s it. We spend tens of thousands of dollars on expensive electronics, big homes, fancy cars and lavish vacations hoping for a boost of happiness. This is a free alternative, and it works.

    The little things. The short moments of mindfulness. Being the best without stress.
    It all adds up and can make each moment just a little easier to ‘make it through’ on those tougher days.

    Last thoughts
    Your body is the greatest instrument you own.
    So when all else fails, and your stress levels are mounting, use your body to sooth your mind.

    The mind reflects your body by responding to its levels of tension, rate of breath, speed of movement and mental focus. Likewise your body mirrors your thoughts, feelings, mood, and responds to your state of mind, the questions you ask and the words you speak. So if the mind and body are intrinsically connected –- it becomes clear that if we directly and consciously take control of one, it will influence and transform the other.

    Ya, I know. I said, ‘stop trying to control EVERYTHING’… but this is a different kind of control… if you get my drift.
    By mindfully adjusting how you use your body you can directly influence your state of mind, and dramatically transform your attitude. Just imagine you’re sitting there in a bad mood, shoulders hanging forward, shallow breathing and frowning. Go ahead and do this right now to experience how it influences your state of mind. And then do the opposite: stand up straight and put a big smile on your face. Take some deep, strong breaths and stretch your arms into the air.

    Notice how you feel better?

    Bottom line: Your body is the best tool for changing your attitude and relieving stress in an instant.

    Quote:
    Don’t stress. Do your very best. Appreciate each step. Forget the rest.
    #192891
    Silver_Surfer
    Participant

    Thank you Kol, I appreciate it.

    #192907
    Voidhaunter
    Participant

    Balance and doing something that needs structure like fitness need to go hand in hand indeed. But you can’t force balance to be found, you just need to look for it. You are doing great!

    Edit: Hmm, I made a summary from Kol’s post :p

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