Mindfulness comes from paying attention to what you’re feeling right now and then taking the first steps to let go of your regrets, worries, and fears.
To gain an insight into why you’re feeling stressed out, first get into a relaxed frame of mind. Take a deep breath. Hold it for a moment, and then exhale.
Mentally ask yourself, “Why am I so tense right now?” Then, listen to whatever feelings pop into your mind or notice any images of distress or anxiety that emerge.
If you can’t get an evocative response to your question, imagine that you’re confiding in a best friend or chatting to a counselor.
Your spontaneous reflections can give you valuable insights into your inner feelings and concerns. Become acquainted with your inner experience and embrace what you see with a kind heart.
Try a relaxation technique—play with a pet, soak in a warm bath, listen to soothing music, practice yoga or meditation, do physical activity, write a journal entry (try expressive writing,) or get a massage. When you perform a relaxation technique, you’re stimulating activity in the parasympathetic nervous system, which can offset the effects of your body’s overly activated stress response.
While relaxation techniques may calm you down and relieve the immediate symptoms of stress, they’ll not help alleviate the underlying triggers of stress.
If you resort to relaxation merely to suppress or bury your emotions, the tension will find its way to pop up somewhere else.
For a more in-depth, enduring solution to your stress, you must learn how to unshackle yourself from this source of stress through alternative actions. Ask your inner self, “What do I need to do to stay calm?” Be receptive to what your mind tells you.
Look forward. Ask yourself, “What is the first baby step I can take toward mitigating my stress?” Or, “What is a stumbling block that I can overcome now?”
Idea for Impact: By practicing positive modes of reflection and taking small corrective actions now, you can bring balance to your inner life and deny those negative emotional patterns their power to affect your sense of self-control.