Our minds are incredibly powerful and sometimes that isn’t a good thing. It is a misuse of imagination to use it to imagine everything that can go wrong instead of using it to create solutions. If you are anything like me then you have spent years trying to calm your overactive mind so that you can remain grounded in the present moment.
Negative thoughts can have a huge impact on your view of life and taint our perceptions of what is really happening around us. This, unfortunately, leaves us in a place where we don’t see a balanced view of truth.
Do you want to have a better life? Would you like to be happier and less stressed? If we change what we pay attention to we will begin to tip the scale back toward a balanced state of awareness.
Check out this amazing video by Prince Ea about how to overcome stress in 60 seconds!
1. Start out by taking some deep breaths.
When we are full of fear and panic our breathing will be more shallow and our body will fill itself with stress hormones. Take some time to slow down and just focus on breathing.
2. Focus on this Moment
What is going on right now at this exact moment? Imagine that nothing exists outside of the room you are standing in. Are you in physical danger right now? Most likely the danger is in your mind and is due to a negative perception of a potential future and not something happening right now.
Focus on your 5 senses and use some mindfulness techniques to keep yourself rooted in this moment. What can you see, smell, taste, touch, or hear? Recognize that your thoughts and feeling are just other streams of data and you can sit back and observe them without engaging them.
3. Recognise that your mind is imagining a story.
Yes, anything could happen but we don’t know for sure if our boss is going to get mad or if that text message we are afraid to check really is from an angry friend. We need to recognise that most of our fears come from our mind telling itself stories. We over analyse so much that many of our biggest fears will probably never happen.
We respond the best we can in the moment but we need to be in that present situation in order to choose how we will act. The goal is to gain a control over ourselves that will remove blind reactions and allow ourselves to choose how we want to respond to different stimuli.
4. Observe you Feelings
One of the biggest issues we have is that we fight way too hard to override our bodies natural instincts when dealing with fear and trauma and instead try to just logic away our feelings. This doesn’t work long term and can actually build up more stress and in turn illness.
What I recommend is that when you aren’t sure why you are feeling down here is what I recommend.
- Make sure you have some quiet time and perhaps have a trusted friend around to lend you support while keeping you both focused and grounded.
- Clear your mind, recenter and breathe. See if you can hold that space for 10-30 seconds.
- Once you cannot hold that quiet space any longer observe the pressing thoughts, feelings, and sensations that are screaming for your focus and attention.
- Once they have arisen, in whatever form they are in, just observe them. Stay present with them no matter how uncomfortable they may be. Allow them to rise up and then pass away
What this does is it allows the biological flight, fight or freeze parts of your body and mind to process things all the way. Though this is often quite relieving you will not feel all the way better right away.
Instead, what it does it allows you to wipe the slate clean and rebalance yourself. From this space, you can more easily clear your mind, see what is coming up and then process those details in a meditation or with a trusted friend so you can work through them.
If you don’t allow the biological side play out fully before engaging your logical mind you may keep unintentionally sweeping it under the rug making it harder and harder to fully heal the issue.
Just remember that you chose this path for a reason and that every step is meaningful.
If you need to find good friends or a community to connect with while you process, heal, and walk your path as a creator there are many online groups that can assist you as well.
Let us know your thoughts and feelings about what helps you process stress in the comments below.