Stress, busyness and internal “noise” is rife for most of us, particularly this time of the year. The pressure and expectations at work and at home can be sky high and quite frankly it can feel almost impossible to keep up with the Joneses.
You might have tried hard to relax or maybe you’ve even tried meditating only to get more frustrated? The problem of course is that the harder we “try” the harder it is to relax. The more stressed and “wired” we are, the more difficult it is to “switch off”. If one of the problems in our society is we’re ”doing” too much (rather than just “being”), adding to our ’to-do’ list can add to our stress bucket. The other problem is of course that we want immediate results, we want to flick the switch and feel cool, calm, and collected, just like that!
So what can you do? There are no ‘one size fits all’ so below are a few things you can try, hopefully you’ll find one that resonates with you!
- Rather than focusing on creating a calm and quiet mind, how about you just really notice the business in your head and the stress in your body? Change starts with awareness; how does stress feel to you? Can you sit with with the feelings/thoughts/emotions and do nothing?
- Patience. The stress you feel is probably an accumulation of stressful events in your life (maybe even all the way back from your childhood). Don’t expect immediate results, start small (focus on just 1 thing you can do to take some pressure off) and then give your system time to adjust. Sometimes it’s a case of taking something off your ’to-do’ list and sometimes we need to add something that gives us joy.
- Breath. One of the simplest, most effective way of calming your nervous system is to focus on your out-breath. We never forget to breathe in (we wouldn’t be here if we did) but we do forget to breathe out fully. So, when you notice the stress creeping in and you’re starting to hold your breath just take a long, slow out-breath. Let the out-breathe be twice as long as the in-breath and notice what happens.
- Adapt a “good enough” attitude. Lowering your standards can be a huge weight off your shoulders. Of course, we want to take pride in what we do, but not at the expense of our health. Look after yourself, you’ve got nowhere else to live. There will be times when “good enough” just has to be “good enough” for now.