When you try to control everything, you enjoy nothing. Sometimes you just need to relax, breathe, let go and live in the moment. – Unknown
How did stress turn into a gray goon that hovers over us whenever something happens outside of the list of our expectations? Our life consists of climbs and descents… Naturally the more we cling to the burning desire for our reality to be a certain way, the more stress, and suffering we invite along with this desire.
The good news is that stress is not a solid, tangible thing. Stress was never made out of concrete or granite. It’s relative and mostly based on our system of beliefs, experiences, mindsets, emotions, impressions – we tend to define as “ourselves.” Stress is an experience, not a part of who we are.
When I say “I am so stressed out” – this means, that at this moment I choose to “own” the stress and turn it into an extension of myself (putting I AMness before it) where in reality, stress is an experience. Since stress is an experience and, consequently, we know that it comes and goes. It’s temporary, and it doesn’t define us.
Sometimes life grants us a lot of things way too overwhelming to tackle all at once. What’s important is to remember that all of that comes in swells consisting of ups and downs. And it’s up to us to seize the opportunity to grow, to learn and to embrace whatever we might face tomorrow.
We can change our perceptions, cool down emotions, adjust our beliefs overall modifying our “stressful experience” to see it from another angle.
Is it possible to transform tension and create more joy? It is.
7 Tips to Create Less Stress and More Joy
1. Meditation and Reflection
Meditation is a proven tool for reducing stress levels and anxiety. “Research suggests that daily meditation may alter the brain’s neural pathways, making you more resilient to stress,” claims Robbie Maller Hartman, Ph.D.
Turn down the TV and all the excessive noise. Take a few minutes a day to create a calm space where you can relax, breathe and contemplate on what is going on inside you, to observe your thoughts and let the worries drift away.
2. Remember to Breathe
When I heard “remember to breathe” advice that was given by my yoga teacher, I rolled my eyes saying “Duh,” however back then I didn’t realize the deeper meaning of the idea. I closed my eyes as the teacher asked. “Shift your focus onto your breathing. Breathe deeper and deeper. Release the tension with every exhales” – Tony, the teacher, continued. It was tricky to concentrate on the breathing practice as my thoughts were ping-ponging increasing the spin. “Focus. Keep your focus. Breathing. Nothing but breathing. Keep your focus,” And I finally gave up the tension and replaced it with the sweet sensation of joy and realization. The deeper you breathe, the more tension you release.
3. Move it move it move it
Do you remember the saying: “emotion is created by motion” as well as “satisfaction begins with ACTION”? If you want to reduce stress levels, improve your sleeping patterns, beat off the feeling of depression and anxiety – start with the decision to take better care of yourself by exercising. Turn it into a habit.
What activities would you enjoy the most? What activities could become the perfect addendum to your everyday life enhancing your well-being?
You probably already know that calm and tranquil music lowers blood pressure, snoozes anxiety and brings peace to our ever wondering minds and souls. Upbeat music also aids in mood-lifting.
“…So I say
Thank you for the music, the songs I’m singing
Thanks for all the joy they’re bringing
Who can live without it, I ask in all honesty
What would life be?
Without a song or a dance, what are we?
So I say thank you for the music
For giving it to me…” – Abba – Thank You For The Music Lyrics
5. When Was The Last Time You Had FUN?
Think about the last time you really had fun? What did you do? When was the last time you found some time to enjoy yourself? What would your hobby might be? What are your interests? Think about fun and exciting activities you might experience in a close circle of friends.
For instance, a couple of months ago my friends and I went to The Forest of Dean and took up the archery experience where we had a friendly competition to determine the best archer among us! It was a blast.
Think about people you would “cherry-pick” to feel connected and at ease with.
6. The Circle of Control
What would you place in the circle of control? What falls outside of this circle? Some things are beyond our highest aspirations to influence the outcome. And all is left to do is to accept the things the way they are and shift the focus on the things that we CAN control.
7. Humour UP!
You probably already heard about cortisol aka “stress hormone” that dramatically loses its ground whenever we laugh! Think about all the things that make you giggle and laugh out loud? Some distant yet funny memory? Or maybe you can attend a comedy show in your city? In addition to that, you can read a book “The World According to Clarkson” (which never failed to aid in humouring me) or any other book is also a great tool to keep the stress levels way down low.
Take a breather. Relax and let it go.