When your days are filled with too much to do in too little time, not to mention assorted demands and problems, how do you manage stress? Do you pay attention to your emotional and mental well-being? If so, great. If you’re not sure, then you probably don’t. If you don’t, then you need to start. How do you do this?
A gift of 20 minutes a day.
Give yourself a gift of 20 minutes. Every day. Twice a day, if possible. “But I don’t have enough time as it is!” you protest. Then you have to create it or steal it. How? Pick one or try each:
- Get up 20 minutes earlier. (Ouch, I know, but it will be worth it.)
- Block off 20 minutes somewhere in your day, anywhere.
- Go to bed 20 minutes later.
Clear your mind.
What do you do with this 20 minutes? Clear your mind: relax, de-stress and let go. How?
Clear your environment:
- Find a place where you can remain still and be undisturbed.
- Set a timer or alarm.
- Remove your cell phone, laptop, and any other communication device from the area.
- Use earplugs if noise is a distraction.
How do you quiet your mind?
- Try to keep your body still, don’t fidget. Focus on your breathing and relaxing any tension in your body.
- Don’t run through mental checklists, don’t plan your day, don’t worry about anything, don’t replay some negative episode that is bothering you, etc.
- If you find these types of thoughts creeping in, stop them immediately. Go back to #1. Repeat as often as necessary.
The more you do this the easier it will become. If you have difficulty and you’re frustrated, then try visualization.
How do you use visualization?
- Close your eyes and picture something that makes you calm or happy. Try not to focus on another person, this is about you. Picture an open field, a beach, a vineyard, a coral reef, an ice cave, a ballpark, for example.
- Engage your senses: imagine the smell of the flowers in the field, the feel of the sand on the beach, the sound of the wind through the vineyard, the feel of the water splashing your fingers. Stay with your image.
- If you lose focus, stop yourself as soon as you notice and bring yourself back to your image (step #1). Repeat as necessary. Again, the more you do it the easier it will become.
This isn’t working! This sucks!
What if the visualization isn’t working and you can’t clear your mind? All you’re getting is frustrated and more stressed. Then do this: count. What?
Forget about the other stuff for now, and start here:
- Set a timer or alarm for 5 minutes. Work your way up to 10, 15, then 20 minutes.
- Close your eyes. Wear a blindfold or pull down a hat if you can’t keep them closed.
- Breathe. Breathe as slowly and deeply as you can.
- Count your breaths.
- Just count. If you lose count, don’t worry about it, keep going, just start counting again at 1.
- Do this until the timer/alarm goes off.
Still not liking this.
What if you don’t like the counting and you’re not clearing your mind, relaxing or de-stressing? Try the counting exercise for 1 minute instead of 5, then work your way up to 20. Stay with it and you will see results.
Your beautiful life will expand exponentially.
The more you clear out stress from your life, the more room you will have for beauty. The more you take care of yourself, the more you will be able to enjoy your life and everything in it.
The beauty in your life will expand exponentially.