Stress Relievers

November 24, 2008

I’ve been reading The Seeker’s Guide by Elizabeth Lesser and she has a list of 10 ways to deal with unavoidable stress.  As we move into the holiday season with its activities and unrelenting “to do” lists I decided to share her ideas.  Take what works for you and leave the rest!

1.  Meditate for twenty minutes.  (Don’t stop here.  This may be a difficult one to accomplish but some of the other suggestions don’t take nearly as much time.)

2.  When you feel stress creeping up on you, take short, meditative “time-out,” even ones that last for a few seconds.  Take a deep breath  in, and exhale slowly.  If there’s no one around, sigh.

3.  Keep mindfulness reminders around you: little quotes tacked on the wall; objects that  express spaciousness, or peace, or clarity; pictures of people who inspire you to open your heart and quiet your mind.

4.  Walk a little more slowly, a little more mindfully, as you move about during your day.

5. When you are driving, be aware of your breath and your thoughts.  Use your time in the car to concentrate fully on driving.  If you’re stuck in traffic or late for an appointment, use the time to let go of control and accept where you are.

6.  Don’t rush to answer the phone when it first rings.  Pretend it’s a church bell, ringing to remind you to relax.  Then answer the phone in a more mindful way.

7.  When you don’t know what to say or what to do, don’t panic.  Take a deep breath, and slow down.  You don’t have to know everything.  You don’t have to be perfect.

8.  When you feel a sense of dread, or panic, or anxiety, slow down, breathe quietly, and locate the tension in your body.  Where do you feel it?  Place your hand there and gently pat yourself, as if you were calming a child.

9.  Energize your body — move around, take a walk, exercise.

10. Check out if your unavoidable stress is really unavoidable.  Take a curious, fearless glance within.  Listen deeply, give your feelings room to express themselves, and wait patiently for the truth to be revealed.

I’d say these are great things to remember all year.  Seems like stress is the American health challenge.  Let me know if any of these ideas work for you.


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