The world is aspin with tension these days. It seems that nerves are on end, minds are filled with “to-do” lists, and hearts are shielded against the insensitivity that the overwhelm has brought upon those around us. We run around like ants on the hill busily doing what we “need” to do and forgetting that there is a larger context, a larger community, a larger purpose. We are so busy running, we’ve forgotten to truly live our lives. Instead, we are “getting through” or “getting by” or “doing OK”. Where has our passion gone? It is buried underneath the weight of our task lists.
All of this running feels a lot like panic. And with panic comes the shallow breathing and the tension that signals the fight or flight response that high-stress times like these bring. The adrenaline dumps into our hearts and sends our pulse racing but racing for what? There is nothing to run from and there is nothing to fight off. We are simply spinning ourselves into an artificial panic state. And this serves no purpose. So take a few moments over the course of each day to stop and breathe. Breathe deeply. Breathe slowly. You cannot panic while breathing deeply and slowly. The two are mutually exclusive. In doing this, you will break the cycle of panic that you’ve created in your world.
Take Back Your Energy – Do Only What Matters
The other thing to look at in these moments is where you have placed your energies. What are you feeding energetically and does it serve you? Are you feeding your worries and fears by thinking about them? Or are you feeding your happiness and gratitude by focusing on it? (Trick question, I know, if you have to stop to breathe, I guarantee you’re not feeding your happiness.) Then look at what you’ve got on your “To Do” list. Is it REALLY necessary? Can you have someone else do it? Can you just not do it at all? Is there a way to do it more efficiently? One of the first things to go when you get panicked is your ability to plan and make decisions based on efficiency rather than crisis-management. If you will give yourself a few moments to breathe, you might find that there is a significantly easier, better way to do the things you have to do – or that you don’t really have to do them at all.
Hum a Little Tune
Believe it or not, music can smooth your way through the day. Classical is particularly good for reducing stress levels. I like to play classical music in the background while I’m writing – it actually helps me to focus by giving me something to block out of my consciousness. Singing is also a way to open up your throat which can clamp down in times of stress and the resonance of the vibrations helps to loosen up your energy as well.
See What’s Important
I’ve recently been hearing about deaths from every corner. And what I’m hearing most often is that the advice offered on people’s death beds is this: nothing matters but the relationships in your life. Nurture these and your life is a success. Deny them and you will feel a failure. Sadly, when we get stressed, it’s our relationships that are the first things to go. We put our task list ahead of our relationship assuming that the relationship will be there later. Today, instead of prioritizing your list – prioritize your relationships. How can you nurture your relationship with yourself, with your partner, with your parents or children, with your friends? In short, how can you increase the love in your life?
Love – The Ultimate De-stressor
In the end, we’re all looking for ways to reduce our stress levels. We’re trying to get a grip on things, take of the details and hope the train doesn’t run off the track and kills us. But really, what we need isn’t control – it’s love. We need to feel loved. We need to love others. It is the foundation of our existence. And if we can feel love coming and going in our bodies, then everything else gets easier. It’s just that simple. So look to increase the love in your life. If you can’t figure out how to get it coming in, no problem! Send some out. Eventually, it’s sure to come back to you.