Keep Your Cool with This Stress Reduction Tool
It isn’t easy keeping your sense of peace when everyone and everything around you is going crazy. Short of completely isolating yourself from the whole world, within a perfectly peaceful environment, what do you do? This article is going to explore quite a few tools that will help you formulate your very own Stress Reduction Plan. This plan will help you keep your cool even when those around you are losing theirs, and quite possibly blaming it on you!
If you’re like me, you work hard at maintaining a desired level of peace and serenity within your life. Then, it can easily be blown in one incident of having to deal with other stressed out people or places. You might find yourself blowing your cool over something inconsequential such as an irate driver, or a longer than preferred line at the store.
When your stress levels soar, you could end up resenting other people or yourself for losing that nice peaceful feeling you were just starting to enjoy. On top of that, it can be frustrating to have to start over again in getting back the serenity you worked so hard to maintain in the first place. Now you’re stressed about being stressed. It can be a vicious, hard to break, cycle. Luckily, there are positive steps you can take to change all that!
Let me first assure you it’s perfectly natural to find yourself getting stressed out along with the people you’re around, or the environment you’re in. Studies show that one negative person can bring down a whole room full of positive people. The same holds true for how one stressed out person can raise the stress levels of those around him/her. There is also the energy in an environment, caused by people, or the environment itself that is a very powerful force to deal with. The more sensitive you are to energy, the more susceptible you will be to energy given off by other people and places. We will talk about how to deal with that in a little while.
I feel the first thing we need to do is put it firmly in our minds that Stress Happens! In all of our efforts to remain calm and peaceful, it’s easy to forget that stressful events in and of themselves are not what does the damage to us. Whether its good or bad stress, coming from within yourself, or from other people and places, it completely depends on how you process the stress that ultimately determines how it will end up affecting you. Cultivating acceptance can help immensely. That is the first, and very important, part of our Stress Reduction Plan.
The next step of the Stress Reduction Plan is to practice staying in the Right Here, Right Now, present time. Staying with the immediate will dramatically decrease feelings of anxiety and fear. You will be aware of the energy going on around you, so you can be alert to stressful energy and deal with it accordingly. You will also be able to face the stress head on before it turns into another tension headache or sleepless night.
One thing that helps me stay mindful of focusing on the present is to practice, practice, and practice some more! Be mindful of how your body moves, feel how your eyes are moving as they read this article, how you are sitting in your chair, how the air around you feels on your body. Listen to what is going on around you, the hum of the computer, or outside traffic passing by; birds singing, whatever you can hear, really take time to hear it. Use all of your senses to experience everything that is around you at all times. Practice these things throughout the day as you accomplish your daily tasks and see if it helps you too.
The third step we are going to take in creating our Stress Reduction Plan is to make a list of your Stress Hot Spots. Perhaps it’s trying to get ready for your day, especially if you’re getting kids to school and significant others off to work. Maybe it’s rush hour, or suppertime, or the end of the workday where things are the most chaotic and apt to take you out of your Happy Place. Really take some time to create a list of all the different areas of your life where stress is going to be inevitable.
Once you have a list of your “Stress Hot Spot” times, ask yourself these questions for each item listed:
· Are there ways you can lessen the impact of that stress for yourself and others? (Maybe it’s as simple as waking up 10 minutes earlier to avoid the morning rush).
· Can you ask others for help?
· Can you allow other people to keep their own feelings of stress in this situation without feeling you’re abandoning them if you don’t join in by getting stressed out yourself?
· Are there any items that you are procrastinating about that might make stressful times even more stressful for yourself or others? How can you correct that?
· Can you find any humor in it at all? There’s usually a lighter side of every situation and looking for that can really help when things start getting too heavy.
· Do you have time for a quick break, before, during, or after the stressful event?
· What others strategies might help Stress Hot Spot times go as smoothly and enjoyably as possible?
Part of creating your list might be to request a team or family meeting to help brainstorm suggestions to alleviate the stressful areas you all share together. This will help improve everyone’s stress level and peace of mind!
After you answer all the questions, add the suggestions you came up with to your Daily To-Do list. It also might be helpful to post some reminder signs around your house or office to keep you aware of what you’re working towards.
Another important part of keeping your cool is to release being judgmental. For example, that excruciatingly slow driver probably isn’t really a bum out to ruin your life. They might be having any number of personal crisis situations going on. You never really know what’s going on in other people’s lives, and most likely they’re not thinking about what’s going on in your life either. Think about when you have been the most challenged in your own life and how wonderful it would feel if others gave you patience and understanding. Maybe you can teach those others a lesson by being the patient, understanding one first. You will feel more control of yourself and your day as well!
Speaking of being in control, Free Will offers us the wonderful blessing of being able to consciously accept or reject stress coming from others. For example, if your boss or life partner is exhibiting high stress symptoms, you can allow them to keep their own stressed energies without becoming attached and absorbing those energies yourself. Allow other people to own their own negative feelings or stress, and allow yourself to stay attached to your own feelings of peace and serenity. You can still be there for the person without experiencing their negative or stressful emotions with them. I can guarantee that you will be a bigger help to them, and to yourself, when you are coming from a center of peace than if you are a stressed out wreck waiting to happen!
Another wonderful thing about Free Will is it gives you the ability to consciously create your environment. If you walk into a room that has negative or stressful energy, imagine positive and peaceful energy filling up the room as well. This will help you from being overcome with the bad energy and help others in the area by drawing out more of their positive energy. It’s a simple scientific equation that like attracts like. In keeping with that equation, the more positive feelings you give out, the more will come back to you. Play with this idea for a while and see how effective it can be.
Of course, unless you are completely enlightened, there will be times that stress gets the best of you. When you get anxious or afraid, allow the feelings to flow through you without fighting with yourself over them. It really is okay to have those, or other not so pleasant emotions from time to time; it’s how you act on them that determine if they are going to be beneficial or harmful to you. Always remember that you have Free Will and can make choices from a place of serenity no matter what situation you find yourself in.
I hope these ideas help you keep your cool even in the most challenging of times. If you would like more specific tools in regard to your own unique lifestyle, I would be more than happy to talk with you about it. Also, I would love to hear from you if you would like to share how these tools I’ve mentioned work for you in your life, or have any other suggestions or questions.