You have all the tools you could ever need to live a self-actualized, stress-free life. No equipment is necessary. But sometimes, in the moment, we will succumb to our conditioned knee-jerk reactions that transcend someone else telling us not to stress. We need to get present really quickly or the stress hormones and panicky chemicals will have their way with us. We need to invoke present moment techniques like 16seconds, Reaching for SODA, and squeeze&release so we can pattern interrupt our reactivity and get to the other side of the moment.
You already know all the techniques; but because our stress is so personal, we can often benefit from helpful customized guidance to help you destressify when the moment strikes.
Depending on your personality, there is most likely a technique that feels right for you in a given moment to shift you from your conditioned response to your best version:
This is a nourishing and healing meditation, and an example of putting the oxygen mask on yourself first before you rush to put it on someone else. But don’t worry… after you’re filled with oxygen, you get to flow it out to every corner of the galaxy! Try this over the holidays. You may even want to start your family dinner with everyone holding hands and doing this metta meditation. Everyone will feel the shift. Remember we transform the world by transforming ourselves… one heart at a time.
You know that feeling you get when doing something you love? You’re so absorbed yet your mind is super clear? This mindfulness meditation can help invoke that feeling. Stop yourself for two minutes a day and bring your attention to your breath. Just follow your breath in your mind’s eye going in and out through your nose. The idea is that by staying with your breath, you’re not going to the past or future in your thoughts. If you’re extremely busy or a beginning meditator, this method works really well because it’s quick and you can do it anywhere. It’s also beneficial for combating stress and anxiety in the moment. To take it deeper, practice alternate nostril breathing.
A form of sensory meditation is mindful eating. Choose a piece of chocolate or truffle—and focus on the flavors and experience of eating it, savoring every bite, and connecting to the moment, without any other distractions like television, work, or other people. Simply place the piece of chocolate in your mouth, close your eyes, and for five minutes just allow the chocolate to dissolve. Don’t bite or chew it… just let it slowly dissolve. Connect to the changes and nuances in flavor, texture, and sensation. Just allow each moment to unfold and stay fully present with the process. If you struggle with emotional eating or weight concerns, or just haven’t been taking the time to notice what you’re putting in your body, this is a great tool for gaining more awareness, becoming mindful of your eating, and bringing more joy to the experience.
Instead of searching for the things that didn’t work out that you need to fix, place your hand on your heart, and say “peace, harmony, laughter, and love” to yourself. Do this for five minutes repeating the words slowly. They’ll become positive affirmations, and are meant to help allow you to experience self-compassion, reminding you to not take everything so seriously, and perhaps even celebrate your accomplishments.
This doesn’t have to be a serious meditation, you can hum under your breath for the first few destressifications, and then bust it out when your arms are raised. Make it fun!
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.
Intellectually, we understand the scientific benefits of introducing a pattern interrupt into our non-stop flow of thoughts, words, and actions. And once you lock in a daily practice of meditation, the results will effortlessly circulate through your life. But if we can integrate in-the-moment destressifying techniques 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. 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:
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:
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:
These ten steps can keep your body and your mind on a steady destressifying regimen; and if you can commit to them, fewer crises will arise in your day-to-day.