“For peace of mind, we need to resign as general manager of the universe.” ~ Larry Eisenberg
As each New Year begins, people want to accomplish more with their lives. Perhaps you do too. Have you noticed how you tend to get off to a good start, but then the stresses of life quickly sidetrack you? Are you tired of getting pulled down by stress so you never get real traction on what’s most important to you?
Before real change can be accomplished, it’s important to do foundational prep work that will support you in your new life. And one system that will really support you is having a stress management plan that helps you to find and retain peace of mind despite what occurs in life.
Stress is a huge factor in our lives. You may not be able to avoid stressful circumstances or situations, however you can control your reactions and responses to them. Stress management is a skill you can learn, but it does take daily practice.
When you feel yourself spiraling into the “stress abyss”, what can you do that will consistently lift your spirits and help you find peace of mind once again? Here are a few suggestions that I’ve found very helpful:
Set intentions, not goals. When you’re setting powerful intentions, you’re creating within yourself a new and specific state or frame of mind that fosters peace and serves your purpose in life. Each time you reinforce who you want to be, what you wish to contribute, and how you choose to touch the lives of others.
Honor your emotions. Every thought or belief is connected with an emotion, which has a physiological response in your body. Tune into your emotions and identify each sensation as you experience it. Honor the messages that your body is sending you about your feelings. Don’t try to override them. Suspend any judgment of them. Simply observe them for what they are.
Be mindful and in the moment. What you’re experiencing today isn’t permanent. Tell yourself, “this too will pass.” Just acknowledge that moments of stress will pass, emotions will fade, and circumstances change and this will take the pressure off and give you a sense of relief.
Transform your body, transform your life. Building awareness for how you use (or abuse) your body at any given moment is the key to transforming your body and your life. By being mindful of your physical experience, you’ll create a vessel that can experience greater strength, balance, serenity, wellness and happiness.
Recognize negative thinking and change it. Sometimes we add stress to situations by letting our thoughts get away from us. Do you notice a tendency to default to negative outcomes and think the worst? Our minds are powerful and they influence our daily experience. Take control of your life by controlling your mind. Meditate daily. Choose positive affirmations. Take time to journal. Write yourself loving reminders. Do whatever you need to keep your thoughts in check.
Stop and start again. Sometimes when you’re stressed it’s because you’ve taken on too much. Give yourself permission to stop. There’s power and healing in the pause. Situations and circumstances will wait for you, even if your pause is just to a count of 10. And you’ll be able to approach them with greater patience, confidence, and ease when you take time to center yourself before proceeding.
If you’re committed to finding peace of mind and living a life of purpose, but roadblocks keep arising, perhaps it’s time to reach out. Please contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype). I’d love to partner with you.
Review some of my previous stress management articles:
How to Soften the Body to Withstand Stress and Roll with the Punches
Feeling Overwhelmed All the Time? 8 Simple Ways to Relieve Anxiety and Stress
Time Management Tips that Reduce your Stress and Increase Productivity
How to Stay Calm under Pressure
Self Sabotaging Behavior – 5 Traps Women Need to Avoid to be Truly Happy
Feeling Trapped in Life? Master Your Inner Game to Free Yourself
Achieve Deep Relaxation through Progressive Muscle Relaxation Techniques
Five Breathing Exercises for Balancing Your Life, Your Mood and Your Relationships
How to Deal with Fear – Ten Ways to Cultivate a Fearless Mindset
Regain Control as You Discover How Food Affects Your Mood
Seven Ways to Break Free from Being Too Busy
The 90-Second Secret to Mastering Your Emotions
“A woman who lives with the stress of an overwhelmed schedule will often ache with the sadness of an underwhelmed soul.” ~ Lysa Terkeurst
Let’s look in and see what many women deal with, especially during the holidays …
As she starts her day, she wonders, “When am I going to find the time to get everything done? I have three work deadlines and I’m behind schedule. And now the holidays are here… so everything has to be perfect! The house must be cleaned from top to bottom. I have to decorate at least as well as my sister does or Mom is going to say something. With everyone’s food allergies how am I going to cook for all of them? On top of that I have to smile through Uncle Ted’s jokes again…Eeeeek! I feel like I’m going to explode!”
Life in general causes many women to feel stressed and overwhelmed. Then the holiday season brings with it its own set of stressful circumstances. If you’re already feeling overwhelmed all the time, it can almost drive you over the edge. It’s no wonder so many women are suffering from adrenal fatigue. They’re burning the candle at both ends.
So how can you relieve your feeling of overwhelm, so life is more enjoyable?
1. Create routines so you make fewer decisions.
If you’re not clear on what you want, making decisions creates stress. So the more things you can do routinely, the less stress you’ll have. This is one of the easiest ways to give yourself a break. Try simple changes like getting up at the same time or following a meal plan.
2. Move your body every day.
I’ve found that The Feldenkrais Method® really helps me to sense into myself.
Endorphins combat stress, and exercise stimulates endorphins. It doesn’t take a lot, just doing something extra every day.
3. Eat mindfully.
Too many people eat on the run. Make sure you carve out time to sit and mindfully eat a balanced breakfast and lunch. Don’t check your emails. Don’t try to work and eat. Put away your electronic devices and reading material. Breathe deeply and feel yourself slow down before you take your first bite.
4. Don’t immediately commit to something.
Because we hate to let anyone down we often reflexively say “yes” to every request. Instead, practice saying, “let me get back to you on that.” It buys you time to consider whether you want to do it or not.
5. Try simple meditation.
Close your eyes. Breathe in for a count of four. Breathe out for a count of four. Repeat another three times. And you’re done.
6. Visualize each task as completed.
Sit quietly for 30 seconds and think about what it means to finish what you start. Commit and trust yourself to follow through. How will that feel? What will it mean to your life? Think about it and let it move you forward.
“We don’t realize that, somewhere within us all, there does exist a supreme self who is eternally at peace.” ~ Elizabeth Gilbert
7. What you should do doesn’t always matter.
We have a limited number of hours in the day, and while you may have many interests, you can only realistically do a few major projects a year. You don’t have to do everything. So ask yourself, “Do I really want to do this or can I let it slide?” Focus on the things you really want to do.
8. Don’t wait for motivation. So many times you won’t feel like doing a project, but if you just get started with one step of it, you’ll find it leads to the next. Waiting for inspiration to strike is a quick way to randomly pursue something, then give up, only to yo-yo back a couple weeks later. If you have life systems then you won’t have to depend on willpower or inspiration.
Instead of depending on fleeting motivation, build a system. This means you work through the steps of finding a new job, add it to your calendar every week, and make sure you have the time and mental energy (which are much easier once you know what to do).
Are you ready to live a more intentional life? Please feel free to contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype), and let’s get started.
”Be in a state of gratitude for everything that shows up in your life. Be thankful for the storms as well as the smooth sailing. What is the lesson or gift in what you are experiencing right now? Find your joy not in what’s missing in your life but in how you can serve.” ~ Wayne Dyer
What do you do when life gets messy? Your schedule is blown out of the water…people don’t respond as you expected…LIFE happens.
Do you crawl back into bed? Retreat into a movie marathon? Become paralyzed in inactivity and depression?
OR…do you know how to let go and see the beauty in the experience? If you’d like to handle change in this more positive way, then you are going to be blown away with the exercise I’m going to share with you…
Our brains crave order and simplicity; so change throws us off-balance. You want a “perfect” or ideal world. You want everything to be smooth sailing. So when you run into choppy water and the ride starts getting bumpy, it catches you by surprise every time.
How do you adjust your grip on life so you can hang on and still enjoy the ride? It’s a matter of learning how to let go and re-center on the positive. Counterintuitive isn’t it? Learning how to let go in order to hang on!
No, it’s not simple. But it’s a system for life that you master if you practice long and hard enough. Here’s how you do it…
How to Let Go and See the Beauty in Everything
- Notice when you’re getting anxious or frustrated. Are you tired, hungry, cranky, or have unexplained pains as your body is trying to communicate with you?
- Recognize that the problem isn’t the external situation. (Don’t play the blame game.) The cause of your anxiety is coming from your internal ideals. For example, you want order, but your high ideal for orderliness (that isn’t being met) is causing frustration and anxiety.
- Breathe, re-center and calm yourself. This helps you become mindful in the moment, with no ideals, seeing the situation with new eyes and an open heart.
- Let go of the ideal that is causing you pain or discomfort. Visualize it floating out of the room or away on the breeze.
- Own the fact that you have the power to create a new ideal for the situation at hand. Instead of looking outward, take some quiet time to look inward.
- Start seeing your current experience as perfect. That’s right! No matter how messy or uncomfortable it may seem at first, look for and see the beauty in it.
These steps are easy to say, but not easy to do. Why? Because we fight change. We hate to relinquish control. It takes real effort to see beauty in chaos. That’s why it’s so important to learn how to open up and soften yourself. How do you do that?
- Feel the hardness in your heart when someone disappoints you. Feel the frustration in your neck and shoulders when someone interrupts you or makes a mess of things.
- Notice your resistance. You either don’t want to let go or you can’t yet see the beauty in the moment.
- Consciously and deliberately open your heart and mind. Even if it’s just a little bit. Work at being more accepting of what’s happening. Maintain your attitude of gratitude. Look at it from the other person’s point of view. Give them the benefit of the doubt. Look for new opportunities that have suddenly opened up for you. Look for ways to express kindness, love and joy.
Change is hard for so many people. Sometimes you just have to get tough with yourself and make yourself do it. Would you like some help in mastering the messiness of life? I’d love to help you learn to let go of your ideals and focus on the beauty. Please contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype). Let’s work through the rough patches so you can more fully feel the exhilaration of life.
“I think it is essential sometimes to go into retreat, to stop everything that you have been doing, to stop your beliefs and experiences completely and look at them anew, not keep on repeating like machines whether you believe or don’t believe. You would let fresh air into your minds.” ~ Jiddu Krishnamurti
Have you ever come home from a vacation more exhausted than when you went? Usually this happens when you try to cram in too many activities. Or to the other extreme, you laze around the pool, doing absolutely nothing except eating and drinking too much.
Either way, you may be missing the whole point of vacation – to refresh and reinvigorate yourself. As soon as you get back to “the real world”, stress piles up again. Plus you may have the added burdens of detoxing and getting rid of the extra pounds.
Instead, why not try a women’s retreat that balances your mind, body, spirit? This is something that I love to do! And here are five reasons why I think you’ll love a body wisdom women’s retreat too…
- Women’s retreats produce long-term benefits.
Retreats are designed to help you connect with your body’s wisdom so you can lead a more balanced lifestyle. You’ll experience emotional release and physical rejuvenation. And you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how these feelings stay with you and improve your health once you return home. Choose a retreat that gives you the time and space to reconnect with yourself and center by aligning your emotions, beliefs, values, goals and intentions.
- Women’s retreats are designed for introspection and reflection.
Visiting a beautiful and tranquil location puts you in a contemplative frame of mind. It’s important to quiet outside “noises” so you can “hear” what your body, mind and spirit are communicating.
- Women’s retreats help you connect with nature.
Being close to nature is very healing. It reduces the production of the stress hormone, cortisol. Filling your lungs and soul on the clean air and peaceful surroundings lets your body, mind and spirit calm, giving you a fresh start.
- Retreats surround you with like-minded people – your guide and fellow attendees.
There are so many types of retreats. You get to pick a retreat where the guide leads sessions in what you desire to improve the most – health & wellness retreats, fitness retreats, meditation retreats, and body wisdom retreats to name a few possibilities. Look for techniques that will enhance your life long-term.
Group retreats bring together women who have similar concerns or interests. Because you have similar goals and intentions, you can build a support system. The others can act as a mirror to help you identify issues that you can’t clearly see by yourself. It’s good to know that you’re not alone, that others are on the same path. Women’s retreats are also a fantastic way to find new life-long intimate friendships.
- Women’s retreats are managed for you. You don’t have to worry about planning or finding places to eat and sleep. Your retreat facilitator takes care of all those stressful things. You just have your well-being to focus on. Another perk is that you’re more likely to receive exclusive features and discounts because of being in a group.
This year I’m leading a Body’s Wisdom Women’s Retreat through Italy. We’ll discover beautiful Sicily while learning to connect with the body’s untapped wisdom and practice centering, rejuvenating and mindfulness techniques. I plan on making this an annual event. Want to join me? Contact me with any questions.
People who are tense suffer more pain and are more prone to injury. This takes a toll physically and psychologically! Stuntmen, gymnasts, firefighters and even the elderly are taught to soften the body, tuck and roll when they fall. Skydivers are masters of softening their bodies to land without bruising or breaking a bone. They’re taught the “banana method”.
You may not be a skydiver but all of us occasionally trip. Softening your body into a curve makes your deceleration last as long as possible to minimize injury. Even when you’re just tripping over a curb, if you land stiff-armed you’ll likely break something. Tuck and roll to your side if possible, or if you’re falling face first let your elbows bend in a push up motion allows your pecs to take the force of the fall.
We carry so much tension and stress from daily life in our muscles and tissue and so it’s not surprising that we often suffer from aches and pains. Plus as we age, we lose flexibility, becoming more prone to losing our balance and falling. While learning to safely fall takes months of practice under the direction of a skilled trainer, there’s a lot you can do on your own to learn how to soften your body on a daily basis. You’ll find yourself becoming more flexible and at the same time relieve stress and tension.
It’s no mistake that a ball is round. Rounder objects handle stress better. When you learn not to be rigid but to soften the body you’ll stand up under stress better. This is well-illustrated by what engineers have learned about designing airplane windows.
Airplanes at first used square windows since that was the norm for homes and autos. However, when jets began flying faster and at higher altitudes, two planes fell apart in midair. Why? The sharp corners of the square windows were natural weak spots where stress concentrates. When subjected to repeated pressurization, the corners cracked and gave way.
Curved windows, on the other hand, have no focal point so it distributes the stress. Circular shapes are stronger and resist deformation, and can thus survive the extreme differences in pressure between the inside and outside of the plane.
What does that mean for you? Instead of letting everyday stressors make you rigid in your thinking and physiology, learn to soften the body and roll with the punches both literally and figuratively.
Here are three simple ways to soften your body…
- Slow down your frenetic brain by practicing deep breathing exercises. The brain mimics what the body is doing, so if you slow down, your chaotic thoughts will start to cool down too.
- Actively soften the body. Pay attention to what your body is saying and move it until it relaxes. Stretching exercises, yoga, and improving your posture will help. Daily practicing Progressive Muscle Relaxation Techniques to stretch and soften your body will help you increase your awareness.
- Practice mindfulness in daily tasks. Quiet your mind by learning to be present in each moment instead of multi-tasking. Whether you’re walking or washing dishes, or eating, be mindful of that one simple thing.
Somatic coaching is a superior way of creating a greater self-awareness. I invite you to contact me to schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation, in-person, by phone or via Skype, so we can talk more about it.
And if you’re curious on how to enhance your overall health and wellness don’t forget to download my free 7-Point Body Wellness Assessment. It will help you identify the areas that most need your attention right now and what you can do to bring balance to your life.