Life happens. And depending on the situation, there may be nothing we can do about it in the moment. All of a sudden, hearts are racing, palms are sweaty, and we are at work or in public with no feasible way out for a good while.
Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to quiet the mind amidst outer chaos?
Here are 4 techniques to manage your stress anywhere at anytime:
It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters. – Epictetus
Before taking the next step, whether it is saying something or engaging with others in a stressful situation, …take an internal pause.
Ask yourself this question:
Will this next step or this next word contribute or lessen conflict?
If you are not sure, this is another great reason to stop. Chances are that even a 5 second pause will give you the information you need to proceed without creating more conflict within and without.
2. Reset your breath. When anxiety and stress kicks in our breathing changes. The breath becomes shallow and the neck becomes tight. With less oxygen coming in, carbon dioxide levels in the blood rise and trigger anxiety and distress, further increasing stress levels.
Resetting the breath is one key way to reduce anxiety and elicit calm, regardless of the situation. And you can do it even while sitting in a meeting.
Try this simple technique:
Breathe in for 3 counts
hold for 3-4 counts
breathe out for 4 counts
hold for 2
Repeat 10-20 times
3. Feel your feet.
The feet are what connect us to the earth, the most physically solid and reliable constant in our lives.
Feel the four corners of your feet. Try it on one foot then the other, then both together. As you do this, drop your tail bone down toward the floor, pull your shoulders back and stand up straight!
The movement is very small, a little goes a long way.
If you are in a wheelchair or sitting down at a meeting, you can use your “sit bones”. Each bone is like the foot. Imagine 4 points on the surface bone that you sit on. Again small movements, hardly moving at all.
4. One Good Thing.
Look around you to see what makes you feel good. Is the sun shining? Is it raining, are the plants getting replenished?
If you are indoors, pay attention to what is working: The elevator, the chair, the computer, the slide presentation. Find one thing that made you happy, remember the feeling and fill your being with that feeing. Memories are there to be drawn from, good and bad. Choose the good and your body will respond.
Repeat the above 4 through out the day.
Doing this will not only make a change in your internal environment but will change the world around you for good.
When you can get alone, do this again, and then take the time to reflect on what worked and what you can let go of. If the stressful situation is chronic, try doing this as a daily practice for 7 days to see if it helps. If you are losing sleep, have chronic anxiety or other stress related disorders, more intervention may be needed. But try this first!
Let me know how this works for you!