Everywhere we look in today’s world it seems we are bombarded with stressful messages about the state of the world. So much of what we are reading or viewing is out of our control. What we can control though is what we choose to watch or listen to. If you have been finding yourself feeling more anxious, stressed or agitated than normal, observe what media you have been exposing yourself to. Follow these simple steps to start shifting your focus.
- Wake up and take a few moments to open your eyes, breathe and visualize or mediate briefly.
- Have a healthy breakfast and stretch or exercise if you have time before you check your phone, email or social media.
- Block sites that you notice trigger worry or agitation.
- Choose to avoid the news, focus instead on uplifting articles or stories they are just as real.
- At the end of the day turn off your phone, email and social media.
If you find your mind continues to race, your mood is angry you feel depressed or anxious for more than a few days seek professional help. Therapists like myself have a variety of techniques such as; thought work, hypnotherapy and mind/body techniques to help you resolve anxious or depressed moods. Very often clients I work with begin to feel better right away.
It is late at night and as you climb into bed much later than you had hoped you mentally review everything you have to do the next day. That list is full of things to do from your kids to your employer, your spouse, your family and even your pets but nowhere in there is You.
Does this sound familiar? You start to wonder why you are getting so short with everyone or spontaneously bursting into tears. Or maybe you find yourself hiding in the pantry shoving sweet or salty things quickly into your mouth or having that extra beer or glass of wine. Your migraines or backaches flair up or you just can’t seem to drag yourself out of bed.
Never fear, even a few minutes a day of You Time can dissolve that stress and resentment you might be carrying around. Here are a few quick ways to find some solace.
- Take a few extra minutes in the shower or bath and treat yourself to soap or shower gel with essential oils. Lavender is relaxing, citrus is refreshing, peppermint awakens your senses. Breathe in the fragrance of the essential oil you have chosen, close your eyes and experience what you feel. Where does your mind float off to? Just be with what ever comes up, no need to try and think or do anything.
- Find any patch of sun, take off your sunglasses and feel the sun on your face, your hands your fingers. Notice the sensation of the sun warming you. Breathe deeply and name any scent you are aware of, any sensations your body is feeling, anything you hear. Stay there quietly breathing for a few minutes.
- If you or a neighbour has a pet, quietly sit with that pet and feel the softness of their fur or feathers. Imagine breathing in time with them. Experience the exchange of energy between the two of you, do nothing.
- Leave your phone at home, office or in your bag. Find a park bench and simply sit and look at the blades of grass around you. Can you notice the textures and the colours? Are the blades all the same or slightly different? What colour are the flowers around you or the leaves on the trees? What sound does the wind flowing through the trees remind you of?
- Find a patch of dirt, your garden, a community garden a neighbours garden and pull some weeds just focussing on the act of your fingers gently pulling the weeds out of the earth. Inhale deeply paying attention to the rich scent of the earth. If you are able, plant flowers or vegetable and listen to the sound of the water as you moisten them.
- Find a tennis ball or other small ball and play catch against a wall. Feel the sensation of releasing the ball and closing your hand around it as you catch. Notice the sound of the ball hitting the pavement and the wall. Watch the ball bouncing towards the wall and back to you.
- Sit on a swing and just let your body remember the feeling of being free and floating and you swing back and forth. As you swing find a cloud in the sky and identify the shape that it is, what does that remind you of? What do the other clouds look like?
These are some simple, fast and effective ways to reconnect with yourself in your busy life and let you know that you are important. Just the process of being present for a short moment begins to dissolve your everyday stress.