When I am feeling stressed out, it is not like I magically notice and can stop my stress with a snap of my fingers. I wish it were that easy. Stress training is something we need in life. However, thanks to my consistent meditation practice, my relationship with stress has changed. Most times I can reverse course without wasting a whole day letting stress affect me. These actions are becoming better over time, and I am by no means perfect at instant stress reduction. But I’d like to share what has worked for me.
Reduce stress with the following practical ideas:
Taking a walk. I know this is not an earth-shattering top-secret tip. But maybe everyone just needs a reminder. Extricating myself from a stressful situation and walking around outside with my dog always lowers my stress level.
Listening to meditation music. This one has never failed me. I put on my headphones and listen to some binaural meditation music to almost force my brain to cooperate with my de-stressing intentions.
Practice a pranayama breathing exercise. Specialized breathing exercises really do work. Stress causes people to start holding their breath, which then leads to a host of other negative physical situations at a time when your body needs oxygen more than ever while stressed. Doing a focused breathing exercise triggers your body to start relaxing, and with your focus on your breathing it is away from the situation that caused the stress to begin with.
One other thing that helps with stress for me is “”. This is something that occurs for me now that I have been meditating for awhile. It doesn’t happen all the time but it is great when it does.
In a stressful situation I can step outside of my brain, so that I am literally observing myself have a mini-tantrum or argument, and then fortunately step back into my brain and calm the hell down. That sounds weird to type out but its what happens. Perhaps this is what is meant by esoteric Buddhist meditation texts that talk about “the observer becomes the observed”? I don’t know, but seeing myself all worked up over a life situation is always embarrassingly eye-opening and stimulates me to immediately get a grip.
Sometimes stress busting is as simple as focusing on your breathing or taking a walk. Don’t let these tools simplicities make you think they lack power. You can read more about stress training to find different techniques you might like.
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