Lets discuss a few simple ways that you can enjoy a stress free life.
There are many different stresses that can affect people today, including fears and anxieties related to world news, their jobs, families, children, money and health. Many of us have inflated expectations of what we should be doing or what could go wrong. On a personal level, I have noticed in recent years that the clients who seek my help today tend to be more stressed than those who came to me when I first started working as a hypnotherapist in 2005. Many of the issues that are having a negative impact on their lives are close to my own heart because my life fell apart in 2002. I was a typical working mum trying to please everybody and the helper people turned to, but I had had some health issues too and while I was busy being strong and taking on too much, I lost myself.
The result of not listening to my own needs was that I had a mental breakdown. No one finds it easy to talk about an experience like that, but the reason I mention it here is so that you can learn from my mistakes and do things differently.
A breakdown can creep up on you unexpectedly as a result of being under too much pressure for too long. Fifteen years ago, I would have said that I was the least likely person for it to happen to, but what my own experience taught me was that if the stress is great enough, anyone can buckle under its weight. So, if you feel overwhelmed by life or perhaps just want to progress to the next level of positivity, use my five facts guide to work out what you need to change, then follow the tips below to help you make your life as amazing as it can be.
Expectations are so high from employers that many people are earning less than they used to for doing more, and their job security is uncertain. At school, children are being tested constantly and every year the bar is raised; exams are becoming more difficult and teenagers are having to work harder. Many of the teens I see are burnt out before they have even begun their adult life. Competitive parents can make things worse by pushing their children to do more, when in fact they need to do less. People worry about money, relationships and the future, often seeing the worst-case scenarios in their mind, which causes them to be anxious. Try to listen to the questions you are asking yourself: ‘Will I keep my job?’ ‘Will I get into the university I want to go to?’ ‘Will I catch my train?’ ‘Will I find love?’ ‘Will I have enough money?’ ‘Where is my life going?’ There are techniques you can learn to help turn those negative thoughts into positive ones so that you can take control of your anxious feelings.
Tip. Change your language from, ‘What if it goes wrong?’ to, ‘What if it’s amazing?’ or ,‘What if it works out okay?’ Imagine putting your anxieties on to clouds in the sky and letting them float away. Rub your tummy area with the palm of your hand in a circular motion to calm any past churned feelings as you watch the clouds float past. Your mind listens to your thoughts, so a positive conversation will help create more positive feelings, and as you see your worries floating away, you will break free of the habit of worrying.
No point in stressing over something you can’t change. Move on and grow stronger
2. Being overloaded
You may identify with ‘running in your life’, chasing your tail, an overload of work or technology, an over-stimulated brain or perhaps family pressures. If so, you need to try to identify the stressful parts of your week, re-examine your lifestyle and find different ways of achieving things that enable you to remain relaxed.
Tip. Write down the hotspots of stress in your week so that you can make conscious decisions to avoid them next week. Then restructure the plans in your diary, but be prepared to say ‘No’ to things. Listen to yourself and start putting yourself first.
3. Feeling down
There seems to be an epidemic of feeling down or depressed. If this is the way you feel, it might be because you are running on adrenaline so, when you stop, you crash down to a low mood. Maybe your life is not what you had hoped or expected it to be, or you feel dissatisfied with the life you have because you’ve lost the ability to feel contentment. Your mind is like your body: if you push it, it will become strained; and if you ignore it, it may slip into a dark place. You need to look after your mind by living a fulfilling and interesting life that is enjoyable for you. Depression can be caused by your mind becoming stuck in low feelings from earlier experiences in your life. I teach my clients techniques that enable them to break free from depressed feelings and repetitive negative thoughts.
Tip. Visualize yourself climbing out of a black hole into the light. You can use your hands to pretend that you are pushing yourself out of the hole. Keep repeating this process in your mind until you only see yourself in the light. Then rerun past life events in your mind as though everything had gone well. For example, if you failed to get a particular job, see yourself getting the job and celebrating. If you had an illness, see yourself totally fit and well throughout that time. If you had money worries, see yourself financially stable with money in the bank. If you were heartbroken, see yourself happy with a wonderful partner. The idea is to rewrite your past with a more positive memory so that you can break out of low feelings.
I have decided to be happy, because it is good for my health
4. Being tired
Most people are tired simply because they are doing too much. If you have children, they will also get caught up in the fast pace of your life, which will make them tired too. Remember that you are creating your crazy life, so it’s YOU that needs to slow it down.
Tip. Visualize last week being very calm, with everything being done easily. Now visualize next week with everything going smoothly. See yourself having extra time for YOU. Also see tomorrow going well. Say to yourself ‘AMAZING’. Even when things are going wrong you need to learn to find the AMAZING within them. By persisting in saying ‘AMAZING’ no matter what is going on, you will begin to see the AMAZING in your life. And as your life begins to run smoothly, you will be less tired. Try going to bed earlier too.
5. Being time short
Maybe you have little or no time for yourself. You might not have enough time to have children, or perhaps you do have children but there’s not enough time to enjoy them. Maybe work pressures are making you ill. Many people seek my help because they drink wine in the evenings to relax them so that they can switch off from life, then find that doing so leaves them with less time, because they lose their evenings and weekends as a consequence of feeling sluggish or hungover. Some people worry about their unhealthy lifestyles making them ill, which creates more bad feelings and wasted time or disturbed sleep. Also, when you are time short, you may sleep less well.
Tip. Take back control of your time by rearranging your week. Use your weekend to refresh yourself. Don’t burn yourself out on a weekend by socialising too much or getting drunk. Instead, have warm baths, early nights and create nurturing routines of healthy activity and eating fresh foods. If you have children, create happy, relaxed memories such as sitting playing a board game together rather than rushing off to the cinema. If you are lonely and have too much time to yourself, find ways to fill your life with purpose.
Cut the negative out of your life, find the AMAZING way through, rise above the drama and make changes to avoid the same thing happening in the future.
5 Natural ways to relax and get centered.Yes, there are plenty of ways you can de-stress, unwind, enjoy time with your self and get centered. Getting centered, it sounds a little offbeat to those of you who don’t meditate or practice other self-awareness rituals. Maybe the word mindfulness is better. Either way, hear me out.
We all have a busy and hectic life, throw in kids and it gets even crazier. So how do you destress? I know you have a girls night or even guys night out to unwind and blow off steam. Aren’t their ways to do this without the potential use of alcohol and a hangover? The next morning is never any fun.
No need to be wary this doesn’t require guru knowledge on meditation, yoga just open-mindedness. Being centered merely means being at peace with who you are, in every moment. Stillness and quiet are what that means for me. To thine own self be true.
These five things will help you to de-stress and allow you to exhale. The key is to be in the moment and let your feelings, energy and mind flow in all of these exercises.
First, let’s discuss journaling. Yes, we are going back to the “dear diary” days but a more grown-up version. Pick out a journal or notebook, whatever you like. You may ask “what do I write once I open the notebook (love that movie BTW, the book was even better)?”
To start, looking at a blank page can be intimidating if you’ve never journaled before. The first thing I like to do is start by writing the date at the top of the page. On days you have a lot of feelings to get out just start writing. You’re not getting graded on these entries so don’t worry about how to properly get started and use correct punctuation and grammar. Just let yourself flow.
Start with “I feel…” and go from there. The entries can be short or long. I’ve written pages upon pages before and then only a single page other times. Really allow yourself to be in the moment and let your emotions flow. Something happens during this process that is therapeutic. You’re able to self reflect and analyze a situation better, step back and see things differently. Read how to do automatic writing or journaling here.
You can do this at the end of my day, or when the mood strikes you. I believe getting emotions out and not holding them in helps to heal your spirit. At the very least, it helps you to be calm and learn about yourself.
So pick up a pen and notebook and start de-stressing. Journaling is for your personal use only. No one ever has to read it or see it, unless you want them to. Over the years I’ve used many different kinds of journals. I’m currently using this moleskin journal. I love the feel of the paper and smooth writing.
Walking in Nature
Nature is an all-encompassing cure for feeding the soul. A simple walk in nature can alleviate stress, calm you down through exercise, and feed your soul. Listening to birds chirping, wind rustling through the leaves of tall pine trees, water gently waving in the lake as the reflection of the sun bounces off the water.
That my friend is relaxing and total de-stresses the best of us. Nature almost forces you to be still and quiet. Listen to the sounds around you and lookup. Oh my gosh, the joy of just looking up! We don’t take the time to just look up and observe.
Look at the trees swaying in the wind, geese flying over information, clouds moving pass. Do this and take a breathe and exhale. The simple things we don’t pay attention to because we look down, at our devices. Busy rushing through from one stop to the next.
Take that walk in the park, listen to the sounds, and breathe. Breathe and walk with intention. It’s more of a stroll rather than a timed fast walk. Try not to have your headphones in the entire time. It’s tempting, and some days I do it myself. Or I listen to audible but nonetheless I’m still observing nature and taking it in. If you live in a busy loud city then turn on calming music.
Taking the time to do this a couple of times of a week or more, if you can, helps bring you back to being centered. Quiet on the inside to where you can hear your true self. Not the restless chatter that you hear all day. Give yourself a break and take a walk.
There are so many different types of meditation from mindfulness, transcendental, guided, sound and the list goes on and on. I’ve tried a lot of these, read about it here, to see if there was one that worked best for me or that I connected to most.
As I mention throughout my blog, no two people are the same therefore no two people will meditate or do anything for that matter the same. We will all have different experiences with meditation. Trying different types will help you not only learn what you like but also allow you to practice meditation itself.
I have found that mindfulness of breath meditation is best for me. It is bringing awareness to your breath. I prefer to be in a quiet room where I will not be interrupted, hard to find these days with 2 little shadows. Don’t be surprised if you catch me in the closet trying to get some meditation time in, just sayin’ do whatcha gotta do.
You can use an eye mask, to make it dark, I find this helps me to relax and focus. You’ll have to try again and again before you learn to really quiet the mind.
This is a learning process so please keep on the path and don’t give up. Start with a few minutes at a time and build up from there. You’ll notice over time you can meditate a little longer each time, and it becomes easier to get into that state.
Everyone should practice yoga, at least once. You have to try it to know if you like it. My yoga journey started around 16 years ago or more. I will admit that I haven’t done it continuously during those 16 years. There were some years that I didn’t practice at all. Other times I would attend a yoga class 4-5 times a week. Currently, I practice yoga in my bedroom with my favorite yoga youtube channels.
Just like meditation, there are many types of yoga styles. As a result, I’ve tried many of them and learned which ones I like best. You do the same.
Yoga has many physical benefits such as increased flexibility, muscle strengthening, lower blood pressure, reduce stress and the list goes on. As far as de-stressing, well this helps with that too.
You don’t even have to leave your own home to try, especially if classes aren’t your thing. With that yoga classes have a different environment than other “gym” type classes. Everyone is focused on themselves and their own practice. There isn’t that feeling of everyone is watching me.
The flow of the poses is very soothing once you learn the salutations or sequences. That word mindfulness comes in again. It’s hard to not be during yoga. You become very focused on your pose and breathe that this, in turn, becomes its own meditation. It never ceases to amaze me how quiet the mind gets when you are practicing yoga. It’s almost effortless.
5–Hydroxytryptophan (5–HTP) is an amino acid that your body already produces. It’s derived from an African plant known as Griffonia simplicifolia. It helps to increase the serotonin levels in your body thus boosting your mood. Allowing you to be more mindful and less stressed and preoccupied.
It’s a natural supplement that offers numerous benefits including a calming effect. To learn more about 5-HTP as a natural stress reliever read the article that goes into more depth.
There you have it 5 natural ways to relax and take a moment for your self. Self-care is a buzz word that we’re hearing everywhere right now. Don’t think its not for you or you don’t have time. Making time will only improve your daily life and mental health.
Being mindful during any of these activities will bring you to a more relaxed state and bring you into alignment. Find what works best for you and continue to develop your own self-care routine.
This article is republished by https://inspirehealthandspirit.com/ under Creative Commons license. Read the original.
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A healthy immune system is responsible for fighting off bacteria, viruses, and fungi among other invaders. Stress can have negative impacts on your immune system, so it is important to learn how to stay calm during times of high stress, such as a pandemic. Here’s how.
Your body is continually exposed to organisms through your nose, mouth, eyes, and skin. It is then up to the immune system to choose how to fight off these organisms. The immune system responds to illness by creating white blood cells. However, its ability to do so is suppressed when the mind and body are facing stress.
When you are met with stressful situations, your body protects you by entering into the fight-or-flight mode. During this mode, your sympathetic nervous system is activated, which causes your heart rate and blood pressure to increase, your muscles to constrict, and your digestion to take a break.
In this state, the body releases cortisol, adrenaline, noradrenaline, and a host of hormones that may decrease white blood cells. This process helps you fight or flee from any dangers that you’re encountering. However, at the same time, you can suffer if you stay in that mode for too long, or if you are constantly in and out of fight-or-flight mode.
From 1982 to 1992, psychologist Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, Ph.D., and immunologist Ronald Glaser, Ph.D., studied the role of stress on medical students. They discovered that students’ immunity was compromised during testing and examination times. They had fewer natural killer cells that are responsible for fighting tumors and viruses.
Additionally, they stopped producing immunity-boosting gamma interferon. Their T-cells had a weak response to test-tube stimulation.
Stress not only impacts the numbers of white blood cells in circulation and the quantity of antibodies in the blood, but it is also associated with changes in the functioning of immune cells. People who have undergone stressful periods have a relatively large decrease in both lymphocyte proliferation and natural killer cell activity.
The longer the period of stress, the greater decrease in the number of specific types of white blood cells.
Other functions of the body are also compromised under mental and emotional disturbances. A study by Yale found that the brain shrinks under chronic stress.
Researchers examined tissues from both people that were and were not depressed. They found that those who were depressed had fewer expressions of genes that were necessary for proper brain functioning. Lastly, stress can be a trigger for inflammation. Chronic inflammation leads your immune system to attack itself out of confusion.
This may result in autoimmune conditions, obesity, mood disorders, and chronic fatigue syndrome among other conditions.
The point of this information is not to set an expectation of never encountering stress, but rather to explore how you can practically recover from it. Ideally, you want the body to elicit the relaxation response every time it is recovering from a stressful scenario.
It is normal and inevitable for you to experience fear, worry, anger, and a host of emotions during a pandemic. At the same time, it serves you deeply to acknowledge that you can process these emotions for your mental, emotional, and physical well-being. You can elicit the relaxation response and move from the sympathetic to the parasympathetic nervous system.
The following are some ways for you to regulate your nervous system.
1. Explore Moderate-to-Intense Forms of Movement
You can try jogging, intuitive dancing, or jumping on a trampoline. There are also meditative forms of movement such as yoga, tai chi, or qi gong. Endless courses are available online, but you may want to join a group that meets live to increase your feelings of connection.
2. Introduce an Electronic Sabbath
Your nervous system becomes overstimulated from notifications and multitasking. Aim to put your phone away at least an hour before bedtime, and perhaps for 2-3 hours during the day.
3. Seek Sunshine and Nature to Stay Calm
The outdoors offers you healing through serotonin-producing sunshine, mineral-rich soil, and oxygen-producing plants. Low levels of serotonin can affect your mood and is associated with depression. In fact, studies attribute the relationship between psychiatric symptoms and seasonal variations in sunlight to changes in serotonin levels.
Another study found that spending time in a forest led to decreases in blood pressure, serum cortisol levels, and urinary adrenaline.
4. Spend Time with Pets and Loved Ones
Relationships with pets and loved ones can help you experience the most beautiful aspects of being human—love, joy, and fulfillment. It’s tricky to find the time, but with intention, you can carve out space for those who matter.
5. Explore Activities that Make You Lose Track of Time
This can be activities such as reading, painting, or watching a movie. Excuse yourself from your to-do list, and let yourself spend some time without an agenda.
Consider starting a book club, spiritual group study, or virtual game night. Keep in touch with old friends and develop new relationships with people who share similar interests as you.
7. Develop Your Spiritual Practice
Meditation, Reiki healing, journaling, and prayer are tools to connect with the love and light that is your truest essence. With consistency, you will build a reserve of faith and hope.
For your optimal health, the quality of your mental and emotional state is as important as your vitamins, hand sanitizers, and masks. Your immune system’s vitality largely depends on the functioning of the nervous and endocrine systems.
While various studies demonstrate the effects of stress on white blood cells, the adrenal glands, hormones, and brain function, you do have the ability to move out of the fight-or-flight response. Lifestyle shifts, from exercise to spending time with others, can help you navigate this pandemic with more ease in mind and body.
Make your time a quality one. Stay calm and avoid stress. Thes tips here will help you stay calm amidst the turmoil. It keeps you grounded. When you stay calm, everything else falls into place. Make your life stress-free. Stay calm and feel calm at all times.
There are many tools and techniques you can use to manage and eliminate anxiety and worry effectively. Below, experts shared healthy ways to worry less and cope with anxiety right here, right now at this moment.
When you’re feeling anxious, you might feel stuck and unsure of how to feel better. You might even do things that unwittingly fuel your anxiety—like hyperfocusing on the future or getting carried away by a slew of what-ifs: What if I start to feel worse? What if they hate my presentation? What if she sees me sweating? What if I bomb the exam? What if I don’t get the house?
You might judge and bash yourself for your anxiety. You might believe your negative worst-case scenario thoughts are indisputable facts.
So, how do you worry less and reduce your anxiety right now? Thankfully, there are many tools and techniques you can use to manage anxiety effectively. Below, experts shared healthy ways to cope with anxiety right here, right now.
Here are nine ways to worry less and reduce or eliminate anxiety right now:
Deep diaphragmatic breathing is a powerful anxiety-reducing technique because it activates the body’s relaxation response. It helps the body go from the fight-or-flight responseof the sympathetic nervous system to the relaxed response of the parasympathetic nervous system, says Marla W. Deibler, PsyD, a clinical psychologist and director of The Center for Emotional Health of Greater Philadelphia, LLC.
She suggests this practice: “Try slowly inhaling to a count of 4, filling your belly first and then your chest, gently holding your breath to a count of 4, and slowly exhaling to a count of 4, and repeat several times.”
2. Control anxiety by accepting you’re anxious.
Remember “anxiety is just a feeling, like any other feeling,” says Deibler, author of Psych Central blog Therapy That Works. By reminding yourself that anxiety is simply an emotional reaction, you can start to accept it, adds Corboy.
Acceptance is critical because trying to wrangle or eliminate anxiety often worsens it. It just perpetuates the idea that your anxiety is intolerable, he says.
But accepting your anxiety doesn’t mean liking it or resigning yourself to a miserable existence. “It just means you would benefit by accepting reality as it is—and in that moment, reality includes anxiety. The bottom line is the feeling of anxiety is less than ideal, but it is not intolerable.”
3. Eliminate anxiety by realizing your brain is playing tricks on you.
Psychiatrist Kelli Hyland, MD, has seen firsthand how a person’s brain can make them believe they’re dying of a heart attack when they’re actually having a panic attack.
She recalls an experience she had as a medical student: “I had seen people having heart attacks and look this ill on the medical floors for medical reasons, and it looked exactly the same. A wise, kind, and experienced psychiatrist came over to [the patient] and gently, calmly reminded him he is not dying, that it will pass, and his brain is playing tricks on him. It calmed me too, and we both just stayed with him until [the panic attack] was over.”
Today, Hyland, who has a private practice in Salt Lake City, Utah, tells her patients the same thing: “It helps remove the shame, guilt, pressure, and responsibility for fixing yourself or judging yourself in the midst of needing nurturing more than ever.”
4. When you are anxious, question your thoughts.
“When people are anxious, their brains start coming up with all sorts of outlandish ideas, many of which are highly unrealistic and unlikely to occur,” Corboy says. And these thoughts only heighten an individual’s already anxious state.
For instance, say you’re about to give a wedding toast. Thoughts like “Oh, my God, I can’t do this. It will kill me” may be running through your brain.
Remind yourself, however, that this isn’t a catastrophe, and, in reality, no one has died giving a toast, Corboy says. “Yes, you may be anxious, and you may even flub your toast,” he says. “But the worst thing that will happen is that some people, many of whom you will never see again, will get a few chuckles, and, by tomorrow, they will have completely forgotten about it.”
Deibler also suggests asking yourself these questions when challenging your thoughts:
“Is this worry realistic?
Is this really likely to happen?
If the worst possible outcome happens, what would be so bad about that?
Could I handle that?
What might I do?
If something bad happens, what might that mean about me?
Is this really true or does it just seem that way?
What might I do to prepare for whatever may happen?”
5. Calm down by using a calming visualization.
Hyland suggests practicing the following meditation regularly, which will make it easier to access when you’re anxious in the moment: “Picture yourself on a river bank or outside in a favorite park, field, or beach. Watch leaves pass by on the river or clouds pass by in the sky. Assign [your] emotions, thoughts, [and] sensations to the clouds and leaves, and just watch them float by.”
This is very different from what people typically do. Typically, we assign emotions, thoughts, and physical sensations certain qualities and judgments, such as good or bad, right or wrong, Hyland says. And this often amplifies anxiety. Remember: “It is all just information.”
6. Control worry by being an observer—without judgment.
Hyland gives her new patients a 3×5 index card with the following written on it: “Practice observing (thoughts, feelings, emotions, sensations, judgment) with compassion or without judgment.”
Explains Hyland: “I have had patients come back after months or years and say they still have that card on their mirror or up on their car dash, and it helps them.”
7. Combat stress with positive self-talk.
Anxiety can produce a lot of negative chatter. Tell yourself “positive coping statements,” says Deibler. For instance, you might say, “this anxiety feels bad, but I can use strategies to manage it.”
8. Minimize anxiety by focusing on right now.
“When people are anxious, they are usually obsessing about something that might occur in the future,” Corboy says. Instead, pause, breathe, and pay attention to what’s happening right now, he says.
Even if something serious is happening, focusing on the present moment will improve your ability to manage the situation, he adds.
9. Calm yourself by concentrating on meaningful activities.
When you’re feeling anxious, it’s also helpful to focus your attention on a “meaningful, goal-directed activity,” says Corboy. He suggests asking yourself what you’d be doing if you weren’t anxious.
If you were going to see a movie, still go. If you were going to do the laundry, still do it. “The worst thing you can do when anxious is to passively sit around obsessing about how you feel,” he says.
Doing what needs to get done teaches you key lessons: getting out of your head feels better; you’re able to live your life even though you’re anxious; and you’ll get things done.
“The bottom line is,” he says, “get busy with the business of life. Don’t sit around focusing on being anxious—nothing good will come of that.”
Make each day of your life count. Worry less and reduce anxiety as much as possible. When you worry less, you won’t be too stressed all the time. Make room for calm in your life. Let your soul be your number one priority. These ways here will help you to worry less and reduce anxiety quickly. You can master these steps so that your daily life will be lighter, calmer, and happier.
There’s no way to cure worry, says Elisha Goldstein. But we can learn to get better at recognizing it, and gently guide ourselves back to what matters. We learn how to stop worrying and start living.
We’ve all heard the saying that in life there are ups and down and there is the classic eastern saying that life is filled with 10,000 joys and 10,000 sorrows. With this there’s the wisdom that all things come and go, but the brain has a funny way of amplifying the sorrows and minimizing the joys for good evolutionary reasons. Whenever the brain perceived something as “bad” it starts to worry about it. But often times there is no real utility to the worry, it only serves to dig us into a deeper hole and blinds us to the joys that might be waiting around the corner.
The utility of worry is to try and anticipate and avoid any potential dangers and to keep us safe. It’s the brain trying to protect us and so worrying certainly has its place and time. But often times worrying only serves to ramp up our nervous system and kick us into an imbalanced place that only leads to more worrying. The brain has good intentions, but it leads us down a destructive vicious cycle.
2. Allow and accept the feeling of fear and stop worrying
Worrying usually arouses the feeling of fear or anxiety. In this mindful step, we’re simply acknowledging that this feeling is here. Calling it out. We want to do the opposite of resist it, because what we resist persists. So instead we practice allowing it to be as it is. Here you are just saying to yourself, “allowing, allowing, allowing.”
Now we have the opportunity to deepen our awareness and investigate the feeling. Here you may choose to put your hand on your heart or wherever you feel the sensation in your body. This is one way of signaling to the brain a sense of love or kindness to the feeling, which may shift it all by itself. The brain also has to map the sensation of the touch with is inversely correlated with mental rumination, turning the volume down on negative thinking.
Try this simple practice to stop worrying:
As you feel into worry you might ask, “What does this feeling believe?” Does it believe you are unlovable, unworthy, or perhaps that if you allow it to be, it will consume you?
Ask the question, what does this feeling need right now? Does it need to feel cared for, to feel secure, to feel a sense of belonging?
Whatever the answer, see if you can plant these as seeds in yourself. For example, you can plant the seeds of intention saying, “May I feel safe and secure, may I be free from this fear, may I feel a sense of belonging.”Make this personal to whatever your needs are.
4. Expand your awareness out to include all people
Whatever the worrying is about, it’s important you know you’re not alone. Feeling vulnerable is part of the human condition and millions of people struggle with the same source of vulnerability that you experience. But when we’re feeling vulnerable with anxiety it often times is all about us, we need to also impersonalize the experience and get outside of ourselves.
You can do this by imagining all the other people who struggle worrying and wish them all the same intentions that you just wished yourself.
For example, May we all feel a sense of safety and security, May we all be free from the fear that keeps us stick in a perpetual cycle of worry, May we all feel that sense of belonging, etc…
5. Repeat steps one through four as often as necessary to practice more on how to stop worrying.
If you notice, steps one through four spell the acronym SAFE so you can easily remember what it is and what it’s for. As you intentionally practice this over and again, in time you will notice that you start to become less reactive to the worried mind, more compassionate with yourself as it arises, and even have perspective that this worrying is part of the human condition and you are not alone.
When we’re able to turn the volume down on worrying in our lives, what will be there instead? For many people, it’s a sense of spaciousness, ease, and joy.
This article by Elisha Goldstein is a perfect guide on how to stop worrying too much. Live more every day and stop worrying.
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One aspect of life that can feel hard to deal with are thoughts you don’t want to have. These can be restless useless thoughts that fill the mind, or compulsive thoughts that keep coming back despite your desire to get rid of them. Anyone who has had the same tune running through his or her mind for a day or two knows how pointless a restless mind can be. But more serious are uncontrollable thoughts attached to emotions.
Millions of people have anxious thoughts, for example, which helps account for the fact that the number of Americans on long-term tranquilizers has doubled since 2010. There is only a fine line separating the feeling of panic or worry and the thoughts that stream into the mind, as if carried on a wave of anxiety. Let’s consider the whole spectrum from restless useless thoughts that are just a nuisance to thoughts that impair your quality of life.
Should the Mind Be Full of Thoughts?
restless useless thoughts
The first thing to ask is whether the mind is supposed to be so full of thoughts. The everyday reality of restless useless thoughts doesn’t really provide an answer. Your mind is busy because you are busy. Your mind reflects the level of stress all around you, including family demands, deadlines at work, and so on. When you go on a vacation to relax from everyday pressure, the mind naturally calms down. So, it might seem that thoughts go up and down according to what is going on in your life.
That’s certainly true, but the reason goes deeper than you might think. The real answer has to do with awareness. When your awareness remains on the surface of the mind, which is where restless thoughts occur, the world “in here” is as busy and chaotic as the world “out there.” In a calmer setting, one’s awareness settles into a quieter place. Mindfulness is really the practice of reminding yourself that you can access this quieter place at will.
Pure Consciousness Is Without Thought
But peace and quiet, which most people long for, is just the threshold to the deepest state of awareness, which we can call pure consciousness. Here you can find the actual answer to the restless mind. Pure consciousness is without thought. It is the ground state of the mind; here you discover that awareness can rest in its own nature, without regard to any thoughts. Once you experience pure consciousness through meditation, your attention wants to go back there as often as it can.
This is not a passing desire. Experiencing pure consciousness brings you into contact with your quiet, peaceful source. Within a few days or a week of meditation, the entire body-mind begins to shift. This can be measured in terms of lowered stress hormone levels, lower blood pressure, and other biological markers. But just as important is how you relate to your mind. Most people mistake the activity in their minds—the constant stream of sensations, images, feelings, and thoughts—for the mind itself.
Meditation Reshapes the Relationship with Your Mind
restless useless thoughts
But your mind isn’t the same as the contents of your mind. Bread, cakes, and cookies can be made from flour, but the flour itself is different from the products it can be turned into. Likewise, the essence of the mind, the raw ingredient, so to speak, is consciousness. Consciousness bubbles up as thoughts and feelings, but in itself, the essence of consciousness is an open, clear, alert, boundless mind. With time, meditation reshapes your relationship to your mind. You stop identifying with restless thoughts and start identifying with pure consciousness. Now you have crossed the threshold from quiet, peaceful mind to a state of awareness that brings its own stability and permanence.
No one and nothing can take pure consciousness away, diminish it, or affect it through stress and fear. I am not smoothing over the medical side of anxiety and depression. Those states have deep roots, both in a person’s life and biology. It’s a natural part of the body-mind’s healing response, when something makes you afraid or sad, to return to a normal state of mind as quickly as possible. When the process of returning to a normal state of emotional balance doesn’t occur, some kind of therapeutic intervention is called for, just as with any physical imbalance like low blood sugar or hypertension.
Yet the everyday experience of restless useless thoughts drains a person’s energy, creates mental fatigue, and promotes the effects of stress. There are many reasons, then, to consider meditation, but one of the most practical is the opportunity to relate to your mind at its source, where you will meet a new reality and at the same time renew yourself. Here you discover that the source of the restless mind is not only peaceful and quiet, it is peace and silence itself. That silence is your essential nature.
Real Life Experiences was created to give people opportunity to understand what lies ahead.A daughter who was dealing with adversity complained to her father about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved a new one arose.
Her father, a chef, took her to the kitchen. He filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to a boil. In one he placed carrots, in the second he placed eggs, and in the last, he placed ground coffee beans. He let them sit and boil, without saying a word.
The daughter sucked her teeth and impatiently waited, wondering what he was doing. In about twenty minutes he turned off the burners. He fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. He pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then he ladled the coffee out and placed it in a mug. Turning to her he asked, “Daring, what do you see?” she replied: “Carrots, eggs, and coffee,”
He brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. He then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, he asked her to sip the coffee. She smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. She humbly asked. “What does it mean, Father?”
He explained that each of them had faced the same adversity, boiling water, but each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. But after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior. But after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed to the water. “Which are you?” he asked his daughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?”
“Man’s fate is the result of his action “– Unknown
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