“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” — HENRY DAVID THOREAU
April is Stress Awareness month. And, we are at the halfway point of our 30-day exploration of tools, tips, and techniques to move us beyond the distractions, constrictions, projections, and disturbances that hijack our peace of mind. The goal is not simply to live our lives in bliss (although that would be nice) – but to cultivate our ability to connect to present-moment awareness and then come into the next moment with greater awareness, calm, clarity, creativity, intuition, and fulfillment.
In these blogs, I’ve spoken and written about the value of meditation from a physical, emotional, and spiritual perspective. I’ve shared proactive tools with you such as RPM, beditation, SODA, 16 seconds to bliss, the 40-day Feast for the Soul, the ten-day rejuvenation series, and the weekend meditations. Intellectually, we understand the scientific benefits of introducing a pattern interrupt into our non-stop flow of thoughts, words, and actions. And if you practice on a daily basis, the results are effortlessly circulating through your life right now.
But if we can integrate in-the-moment STRESS BREAKERS throughout the course of our day, we will diffuse potential stressors as they unfold.
In the morning at home: ideally you’ve already completed your first meditation of the day using RPM or beditation. Creating stillness as the starting point for your next 24 hours sets a powerful trajectory. But the unknown stress can lurk right around the corner. As soon as you feel stressed, implement any of these ten steps to bring you back into the moment:
1) Spend five minutes holding your child, your lover, or your pet, which will instantly ease your blood pressure.
2) Take a 10-minute walk connecting to nature to ease anxiety and replace it with calm. Leave your phone home and don’t plug in any music. Just drink in everything you see, hear, touch, and smell as you walk at a leisurely pace.
3) Practice 15-minutes of yoga. Start with 5 minutes of pranayama. Then gently move through a classic sun salutation flow to awaken your prana, release tension and rejuvenate your body. And then lay in savasana for 5 minutes.
At work: Ideally you are walking into the workplace with stillness and silence already flowing through you. But as soon as you notice frustration, irritation, or intensity starting to build, take these steps.
4) Upon feeling the spark of your emotional tell, reach for SODA. Stop, Observe, Detach, and Awaken to the best version of yourself.
5) Pour some lavender or sandlewood-based oil or lotion gently into your open hand. Massage your palm with your thumb, then massage each finger from the base to the tip, and then the webbed area between your thumb and index finger.
6) Step away from your desk and go outside or to an unoccupied place where you can sit. Close your eyes and breathe in and out deeply through your nostrils ten times to lower your heart rate and reduce your blood pressure.
7) Take 3 minutes and chew a piece of gum to loosen the stress in your jaw. While you chew, roll your neck around to ease out any tightness.
After work: You’re carrying the past 12 hours of the day inside every cell in your body. So either as the very last thing you do before you head home or the very first thing you do when you come home, take time to release the day.
8) Shake the tension right out of your body. Roll your shoulders backward and forward. Reach your arms to the sky and stretch and elongate your whole body from your toes to the tips of your fingers, then do a few arm circles. If you’re feeling sprightly finish off with ten jumping jacks
9) Shake the tension out of your mind with recapitulation. Spend five minutes playing your day in fast forward from the moment you woke up – don’t linger for more than one second on each activity or event that unfolded throughout the day – don’t harp on the drama or the words. Just keep processing at high speed.
10) After dinner, SLOW down. Light a candle, brew some tea, take a bath, or nibble on some chocolate.
If you can follow these ten DESTRESSIFYING steps from Monday through Friday, you will soar into the weekend with greater grace, ease, and lightness of being. This afternoon, I’ll share more stress busters on LIVE! From the SweetSpot on Hay House Radio. So keep destressifying and your life will continue to blossom and bloom. I’ll see you in the gap! –davidji