Stress is often blamed by many to be the robber of energy; however, stress can often be the perception we place on events. For many, stress occurs when we place a negative perception on a future event. When you are feeling stress, learn to use it as an indicator of how you are interpreting the events that are happening around you. Learn to make those reactions friends of yours rather than enemies. Begin to accept the conditions that you choose to not only react to but also sometimes choose to over-react to. Practice one of the following yourself when you feel engulfed by emotion:
- Is my response reasonable and appropriate?
- Do you want to invest my energy this way?
- Is someone from the past “telling” you to react this way?
- Practice shutting down your tapes from the past.
- Is anyone else encouraging you to react this way?
- Does the person who is encouraging have the courage to respond to the event honestly? Why are surrendering your power to someone else?
All stress isn’t negative. Positive stress helps to keep us focused and energized to act as a motivator for us. Negative stress drains our energy.
Make lists of things that give you energy and those things that sap your energies. On those things that sap your energy, ask yourself if anything is happening positively by your energy being drained.
Set daily habits to deal with stress:
- Play each and every day!
- Take short breaks in task that feel will never end.
- Set 2-3 priorities each day rather then 15-20. I once saw 3 filing trays that were labeled: today—tomorrow—and maybe never.
- Develop triggers to relax—maybe when you enter your car, get a drink of water, every time you look at your watch, or while waiting at a red light.
- Identify your stressors.
- Eliminate unnessary commitments.
- Disorganization. late.
- Eliminate energy drains.
- Avoid difficult people.
- Simplify life.
- Slow down.
- Help others.
- Relax throughout the day.
- Quit work.
- Simplify your to-do list.
- Eat healthy.
- Be grateful.
- Zen-like environment.
2. From Lisa A McCrohan: “Want to keep calm over the holidays? Make a P.A.C. with yourself”:
Before you peel the apples for your famous apple pie, run to the store to pick up last minute munchies, or vacuum the house (again), this holiday season, make a P.A.C. with yourself.
What’s a P.A.C.? It’s your intention, cue, prompt, wake up call to getting grounded, keeping calm when you are triggered, and remembering what’s really most important over the holidays.
and have Compassion for yourself.
Pause. Literally slow down and get still for a moment. We have to train our brains and bodies to pause a few times a day. Just slowing down does wonders for our nervous system and supports us responding instead of reacting.
Arrive. We have a tendency to “not be here” in this present moment. Our thoughts are usually in worrying about the future or ruminating about the past. Here’s a great mini meditation on the Sacred Pause that I recorded. Once you get the basics down of getting grounded, connecting your senses and your breath, and being here in the present moment with mindfulness, you can arrive and do a Sacred Pause for 30 seconds, one minute, three minutes – how ever long you need in order to come back to yourself.
Have Compassion for yourself. The millisecond we start to get stressed (triggered, react), compassion goes out the window. When you pause and arrive with mindfulness, you begin to “tend and befriend” yourself instead of beating yourself up or treating yourself harshly. It’s like turning on the “compassion switch” in your heart, brain and body. Instead of having all those stress hormones running through you, you get the “love hormone” of oxytocin flowing. Put your hand on your heart, say something kind to yourself, and soften (you all know this is one of my favorite all-time words – along with gentleness. Give yourself a dose of gentleness, too!).
Practice this P.A.C. with yourself when you are NOT stressed — before you get on the road to visit family; before you have your nieces and nephews running around your house; before you spend hours at the airport or in traffic. You’ll train your brain to listen to your heart. You’ll train your nervous system to support you in “tending and befriending” yourself. You’ll return to who you really are…and remember what’s really matters over this holiday season. And the compassion you have for yourself will flow into compassion for others.
Short and sweet post, friends! I hope this practice nourishes you and helps you to come back home to your Self, lighten up, delight in the goodness within yourself and around you this holiday season, and connect more deeply with the dear ones in your life.
Lisa A. McCrohan