Stress is something that is rampant lately. There are so many things we can focus on that will cause us to breathe shallow, shake inside, and our minds start to spin out of control. Someone may tell you to “….b r e a t h e…” and you want to pop them in the nose! And right now meditation is out of the question! What to do? There are a few things I’ve found that help….
First of all, regardless of the stressor, consciously say to yourself “I’m not going to get anything accomplished to resolve this issue if I’m ready to explode.” Then for a minute, turn your thoughts to something that gives you a good feeling – think of the beach, the mountains, a baby, a funny dog….anything that is far removed from whatever is stressing you. Now you may be able to focus on your breath enough to bring it back to its normal rate. Again, remind yourself that you MUST be calm in order to make a difference, and if you need to, keep your thought on the good-feeling vision. Sometimes, if the weather permits, it helps to go outside and look up at the clouds while you walk a little bit.
When you feel like you’re pulling it together again, then you can get a bit more active in releasing the stress from your life. I like to visualize the stress in my body as a block of ice that is being melted by my thoughts, and then start out by mentally starting at the top of your head and one-by-one go through your body saying “my forehead is relaxed, I relax my forehead….my eyes are relaxed, I relax my eyes….my lips are relaxed, I relax my lips…” Keep going, relax your throat, your heart, your lungs, your stomach, your arms, your hands, your hips, your legs, your feet. Visualize the ice melting, really relax your muscles and feel them letting go. Feel the flow going through your body.
Then go back up to the top of your head again and visualize soft blue mittens petting you, rocking your heart and stomach gently, flushing out any last chips of ice. And finally, go back to the top again and just feel positive energy flowing through you. I like to think of the positive energy as diamond crystals, shining blue, pink, yellow and green…just flowing through my body from top to bottom, flowing out my hands and feet.
After you are calm, consider the stressor. Can you really do anything about it? If you can’t personally make a difference in what is happening (ie: world events) then just ignore it. If it is something that you can change by getting involved (ie: a relationship problem), then just begin to focus on the outcome you’re seeking, and for now, avoid the reality of what is happening. I remember once reading a book titled “If You Don’t Know Where You’re Going You Won’t Know How To Get There.” And, in this case, it’s important. If something is going askew, you need to know what you want the end-point to look like so you can make decisions and actions that will lead you in that direction.
I once created a meditation cassette that walked you through that exercise I just gave. Now that it’s back on my mind I’ll have to search for it and bring it back. I’ll let you know when (not “if”) I find it and get it into an MP3.
Have a great day,