Finding Calm through Stressful Times
It's natural to feel emotions such as worry, anger, frustration, and sadness during stressful times. It's easy to feel isolated and frozen with fear, but it’s important to do what we can to find peace so that we can come together and to a place of calm. I agree, it’s often easier said than done, but I’m sharing a few tips with you to help reduce stress and worry, and put your mind at ease so that you can feel more at peace during this challenging time.
The following are things you can do throughout the day to feel more relaxed. Give them a try and see which ones help you to feel better physically and emotionally. Each only takes a few minutes and will help to feel less stressed.
Breathe: When you feel stressed, take a long, slow, deep breath and smile. This will automatically move you away from worry about the future and into the present moment. As you inhale slowly, focus on the path the air is taking. Follow the feeling of expansion as the air travels through your lungs and down into your belly. Hold it there for a few seconds, then exhale very slowly. If you're paying attention to what you feel as you inhale and exhale, you'll realize that you don't have any thoughts in your mind. That's the key to move stress aside and land in a place of peace and calm. Smiling releases feel good hormones and will help you to boost your immune system, reduce stress, and feel happier.
Gratitude: Gratitude automatically takes us away from fear. As you go about your day, find things to be thankful for. Write in a gratitude journal or simply share what you're grateful for when you sit down to eat a meal. And instead of constantly thinking about all that is wrong, think about the things that are right. Find the silver lining each day. My husband and I went for a walk a few days ago and saw a couple of different neighbors that we hadn’t seen in long time. The silver lining that day was that the social distancing is bringing more people out for walks, and we felt a sense of community. We enjoyed seeing neighbors, and this week it’s been beautiful to see so many more families than usual walk past our house throughout the day. During this time we can be thankful for the special time we have with loved ones. Take a walk together, bake something delicious, cook a meal, do a puzzle, watch a movie, or play a game.
Nature: Being outdoors is a perfect way to get to a peaceful place. Try this. Go outside, quieten your mind by ignoring any thought that arises, and focus on your senses. Focus on what you see (a beautiful tree or flower), smell (the fragrance of the flowers or fresh cut lawn), hear (the sound of leaves moving in the breeze), and feel (the breeze, or the warmth of the sun shining on your face). If you have younger children, encourage them to join you. It teaches young minds to be more relaxed and curious.
Any time you feel tense, turn to one of these three tools to help you to feel less stressed. This time in your life may be a chapter, but it's not your full story. It's a season and "this too shall pass."
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