April 22, 2017

Let Go of Stress – 3 Steps to Help the Process

Too often we forget how simple and sweet life can be, how it is supposed to be. In the hustle of life we tend to loose track of what ACTUALLY matters…which is OBVIOUSLY a terrible thing!

Over the past several months I have been allowing the seriousness of life to link up with everyday stresses, resulting in a perpetual chain of things to do and time to spend in places other than those places that deeply nourish me.

But a few weeks ago I renewed an important commitment to myself, which is to tap back into the blissful state of mind that is waiting just on the other side of stress. It’s funny how easily we can forget to come back to this “home base”, this alive, peaceful, and conscious mindset/place.

Being busy is fine and can be very fun and rewarding on many different levels, but to allow it to cut into those personal practices that nourish you is not the way to live a long and joy-filled life. We create Heaven and Hell on earth through what we CHOOSE to focus on… and the world will push you into that place of torment if you allow it to. We have to vigilantly stand guard of where our minds go if we truly want to tap into our personal power and the deep well of love that fuels us.

The careless breeze, happy birds, and kid’s songs I heard this morning reminded me of one of the best things you can do for you body and your mind…. which is none other than rest. This morning’s moment was inspiring and it was the perfect reminder for me to continue (and to deepen) my commitment to nourishing myself.

It is so easy to get wrapped up in day to day activities and responsibilities, but we must remember that the MOST important thing is to spend sufficient time rejuvenating ourselves. Doing so enables us to show up more fully in the world, to face challenges with alert optimism, and to be present while giving our undivided attention to the job at hand.

Focusing is a lot easier when we aren’t daydreaming about escaping our duties! Remember, we can only give sufficiently if our cup is overflowing. I implore you to wake up each day with a plan of how and when you are going to etch out a little bit of time to take care of yourself. Will it be yoga? a bike ride? meditation? a walk in nature?

It is so easy to forget, but taking care of oneself really should be the MOST important thing. We cannot give sufficiently without nourishing ourselves first. If the fruit tree doesn’t receive enough water, it won’t fruit. For me, reminders are crucial. Here are a few helpful ways to keep yourself on track.

1. Pre-Commit. When you make a plan and budget your time appropriately you enable yourself to exercise, meditate, enjoy a nourishing tea, etc. WITHOUT guilt. Commit 100%…not 99%. That one (missing) percent gives you an easy out that may soon spiral out of control. When you commit 100% you won’t let this sacred time be compromised!

2. Take care of the most important things first. Because will power is fueled by glucose, you have more will power during the morning hours than you do in the evening, so take care of the hardest, most important, or most dreaded things first. Getting a win or two under your belt first thing in the morning is an important way to trigger serotonin release and to create healthy momentum for a productive day.

3. Prominently display encouragement and inspiration related to your goals. Just like new years resolutions or weight loss programs, we like to think we will change – but often we do not follow through till the end. These types of reminders are a great way of getting and keeping yourself going. Reminders can be simple post-it notes in specific places (moved around occasionally so you don’t start ignoring them), quotes, or emotion-provoking/visually appealing displays. For example, if you want to create a new habit of reading and drinking herbal tea, position your tea cup and book in a place (and in a way) that will invite you to follow through on that decompressing and energizing activity. Symbolic reminders need to be…well, symbolic! They need to mean something and instantly remind, encourage, and inspire you on a subconscious level.

Sometimes keeping stress at bay only takes 10 minutes a day. So what will you add into your life that will take away some of those burdens on your mind?

Michael Meuth