THE ART OF DE-STRESSING is an ongoing effort. Once you begin the practice of MINDFULNESS, the ability to EXPAND the amount of TIME you are in a MINDFUL STATE will slowly and consistently increase. Meditation is ground zero for mastering the art of de-stressing as it will give you a MIND RECESS, and TEMPORAL TIME OUT. It will activate parts of your brain that get zapped by stress while settling down other areas of your brain that are overstimulated.
NOT ALL STRESS IS BAD and when appropriate, can stimulate the release of necessary hormones.
THE KEY for HEALTHY STRESS is that it is TEMPORARY and is UTILIZED for MOVEMENT of the BODY, such as adrenaline and cortisol needed for exercise and motivation.
SITUATIONS and PROBLEMS DO NOT cause STRESS – Our CONNECTION to our REACTION does, and until we DISCONNECT from our REACTION, we will experience stress over and over, unconsciously choosing the same reaction. Here’s what I mean…
TAKE TWO PEOPLE and put them in the SAME SITUATION. Let’s say two friends or business colleagues just missed the last flight to their dream vacation or important meeting. One immediately reacts with frustration, agitation and anger. The other not only remains calm on the outside, but on the inside immediately shifts her awareness to solutions: When is the next flight, and, where’s the nearest bar! They are both in the same situation, but one has already moved on to what they KNOW they can CONTROL, and has LET GO of the rest.
WHAT’S DIFFERENT besides their reactions?
Their INTERNAL PROGRAMMING.
Solutions –v- Problems
Positive Thinking –v- Negative Thinking
PROGRAMMING… One person learned along the way that it is a waste of energy and resources to allow stress to be the master of their emotions. They look at the unexpected events of life as just, well, part of life.
The calm one sitting at the bar enjoying a glass of wine is a SOLUTION-BASED POSITIVE THINKER, and the other is a problem-based negative thinker. This is not a judgment, or wrong, it is simply unresourceful thinking and built on internal programming that gets set in early childhood and then reinforced throughout life. The good new, it can be changed! And you can make that happen by CHANGING THE WAY YOU LOOK AT THINGS. I call that FLIP THE MIRROR. When you change the way you look at things and your reaction to them, things will begin to change.
FLIP THE MIRROR
Feel: Be aware of your REACTION to the SITUATION. What are you feeling? Is it appropriate to what you are experiencing or is it an auto-pilot reaction? Hit your internal pause button before reacting. Unless you are in immediate danger, TAKE FIVE: 5 minutes and 5 deep inhales and exhales BEFORE doing or saying anything.
Look: Once you have taken your five, Look for the SOLUTION, not the problem. The solution is NEVER in the problem. Being calm will awaken your senses and when this happens you will be more likely to see new solutions to old habits or problems.
Imagine: Once you begin to LOOK for solutions, your imagination OPENS. When this occurs, you are likely to exceed your own expectations of possibilities. Possibilities such as NOT REACTING the same old way. BEING AWARE that you can CHOOSE how you react. And, that you CAN NOT CONTROL ANYTHING, other than your OWN REACTION. Imagine that!
Prepare: When you are in solution-mode, you will naturally prepare for the next steps. Without unnecessary emotional fuel, you are able to see clearly, and put action into place and move forward. Additionally, doing the FLIP will prepare you for the next time life hands you a big sac of UNEXPECTED and you will be PREPARED to handle it!