Have you ever gotten so stressed from life, whether from work, family, relationships, obligations, that you feel disconnected from yourself?
Lately, when it comes to transforming stress, I’m realizing how important it is to take a step back and stop feeding the stress…and ultimately the story. Furthermore, I’m realizing there is power in the NOW, the present moment, to stop feeding the vicious cycle of stress.
One practice that I thought was particularly helpful is called Quick Coherence, a technique from the HeartMath solution. It involves three simple steps which I explain below:
First, imagine your heart. Your heart, which sits right behind your breastbone is the power house of your body. If you’re visual, imagine it beating or with blood pumping in and out, working automatically just for you. If you’re more of an action oriented type of person go ahead and place your hand on your heart, that way you can almost feel the aliveness of it too.
Secondly, take deep, deep breaths. Six seconds in and six seconds out. As you take these breaths, again, focus on the area of your heart. Imagine your heart pumping rhythmically with each breath.
Lastly, as you focus on your heart start to feel. And by that I mean, feel all the good you have ever experienced in your life. Remember that one time you were laughing hysterically with your friends? Feel that emotion. Remember when you woke up Christmas morning and found new presents underneath the Christmas tree (of course when you were 7)? Feel that emotion. Remember when you sat on the porch one hot, summer afternoon drinking an ice cold lemonade and how much peace you felt in that moment? Feel that emotion.
Note: I’ve been learning more and more that if your mind tends to veer toward the thought of, “yea but that was then” (past tense) or “yea but will I ever get to feel this in the future?” (future tense) then what’s most important is to go even more general in your thoughts of feeling positive emotion. Rather than trying to think of something specific just think (and feel) the emotions that pop into your mind immediately that make you feel good. Really good. And then expand on those emotions.
Another way I practice this exact solution is to write out all my positive emotions and thoughts in my inspiration journal. If you don’t journal, any piece of paper will do. It’s amazing what happens when you put something on paper! Trust me, something magical happens when you simply write it out… almost like you’re having a conversation with the deeper, wiser part of you.
This technique is a way in which you can connect to the deeper part of you that you know to be true and what matters most to you.
Personally, I have found that it is incredibly important to stop the momentum of stress as soon as you are aware of it taking place. For the times when it is particularly hard to get yourself out of the cycle I try just as hard to do the following:
- I may not feel like it while in the middle of stress, but I have found that exercise helps bring moments of clarity and breaks up the momentum
- Practicing loving kindness. Don’t get upset at the fact that you are stressed and can’t seem to reverse out of it. Instead, affirm to yourself with the following, “I recognize I want to feel good. It’s ok. I’m ok. I will get there. I may not be there, but I will get there. It may take some time, but I am ok now and I will get there”.
- Similar to #2 above, simply stop resisting. Step into ease knowing you WILL get out of this temporary state and that things will get better.
Dangerously, stress is one of those scary things that can almost feel addictive at times. It feels like adrenaline and acts as an indicator of purpose for the especially driven type-A personalities.
So be careful. Be mindful. And most importantly treat yourself with love. If you ever find yourself in a bind… try connecting to your heart. After all, our heart knows what’s best for you.