Chances are you're not going to head to a cave to search for the meaning of life anytime soon. Here are five things anyone can do to feel more clarity RIGHT NOW!
1. Name It – most people experience stress as a generalized or vague state of overwhelm. Take a moment to clearly identify what’s got you down by these three categories: 1. In your sphere of control - Something you can take action to address immediately (an action you’ve delayed taking), 2. Requires growth - Something that requires more information/research 3. Beyond your control - Something that requires adopting a new attitude, patience or even surrendur. Let labelling your stressors empower and drive your next actions.
2. Intention Disarms Tension – sometimes from the moment we get up to when we go to sleep (whenever that finally happens!), we are in respond mode – fighting fire after fire. Starting the day or specific activities by clarifying your intention allows you to move out “react” mode and into a proactive, determined state. Before you make your next call or go to your next meeting, clarify not only what you want to accomplish but also what state of mind you want to maintain throughout it. Then if things get heated, remind yourself of your intention before you respond rashly or inappropriately.
3. Declutter Your Calendar – this might sound more like time management than mind management, but it’s actually both. By loading your calendar mindlessly accepting every commitment that comes your way, you scatter your attention and talents, decreasing effectiveness and enjoyment, and dilute your ability to accomplish the goals that really matter to you. Take a look at your calendar over the next week: how many items there truly align with your professional or personal goals? If it doesn’t, get rid of it.
4. Power Pause – got a few minutes waiting for a train? Elevator at the top when you’re at the bottom? Resist the quick flash of impatience and use these “captive moments” to practice relaxing. Instead of reaching for your phone or furiously jamming the call button, try shifting your awareness to your feet and relax them in your shoes. Imagine your whole body relaxing and feel your next inhale slow and deep into your torso. Notice how your whole torso expands, focusing on your belly exhale just as slowly. Repeat till the train or elevator arrives.
5. Breathe=ease – when we get stressed, breath tends to get short and tightened as well. The next time you feel your thoughts racing, before you hit send on that frantic email sit back in your chair, relax your shoulders and jaw, and try just slowing down. Shift your thoughts into your breath rhythm, and see if you can slow it down by counting how long your exhale is and how long your inhale is.