“Stress is caused by being here but wanting to be there." -Eckhart Tolle
I love that quote by Tolle because it’s so simple. Stress often feels pretty complex, however he’s right, stress occurs when our perception of what’s happening isn’t what we want.
For much of my life, my baseline was high stress, that was my normal and it was extremely rare that I felt relaxed. I often felt like I was ready to snap because I was so tense mentally and physically. There were lots of discrepancies between here and there!
As I got older, I realized I always had a choice, so I started to specifically identify the stressor. What or who is causing this stress? Then, I would either work to fix it or change my reaction to it. My third option would be to (gasp!) accept it as it is and move on. The last one is the hardest for me, however that approach has decreased my stress level in unimaginable ways.
Our minds are awesome tools that can work for or against us. I used to find myself fixated on my stress and I often perceived the stressor as big and general, for instance, work is stressful. Well, quite frankly, work wasn’t all stress, specific things about work were stressful. I love the incredible power and freedom in being able to identify what’s causing the stress to begin with and then proactively changing my approach by changing the stressor, changing my mindset about it or letting it be.
Here are some other strategies I’ve found helpful when I feel stressed:
- Take deep, steady, gentle breaths. It helps me to count, for instance inhale for a count of 4 and exhale for a count of 8.
- Ask for help, none of us can or need to do everything, all the time, on our own.
- Make time to do something creative – paint, dance, cook, whatever strikes your fancy and allows you to let go a bit.
- Be active – yoga, boxing, walking anything that gets you out of your head, even if it’s only for a few minutes. (Chances are you’ll want to continue once you start!)
As always, I’d love to hear from you. What are your favorite stress relief techniques? What are your struggles around stress relief?
If you’re interested in more strategies for stress relief, please join me for Stress Relief On and Off Your Mat on 10/18, 10/25, and 11/1 at M/Body in Rochester.