You’re unique. You have a fantastic sense of humor. You’re talented at what you do, and do it in a way and with a skill that no one else can. In fact, you’re pretty downright amazing. So why is it that mundane daily stress seems to get the best of you, and even prevent you from reaching new goals and achievements in your personal or professional life?
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you experience anxiety as you think about where your career or relationship will take you in the future, and find yourself doubting the choices you’ve made?
- Are you putting your own basic needs on the back burner (exercise, eating healthy, getting enough sleep, having “me” time) while you overindulge in fast food at home and put in overtime at work?
- Do you continue to do things (spending beyond your means, drinking too much alcohol or caffeine, ignoring the steps you need to take to achieve your goals) that bring on feelings of restlessness, anxiety and worry?
Stress itself isn’t the problem—how you handle the stress is the problem. If you want to eliminate (or at the very least reduce) the anxiety, stress and worry from your life, don’t run away from it and don’t seek solace from a better job opportunity, another romantic partner, or by thinking that “that guy” has it easier than you.
So, in other words, the grass isn’t greener “over there”—it’s actually right where you are that the grass is the greenest! When you use any (or all) of the following mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques, you’ll immediately learn how to feel better, look better, work better, play better and have a more satisfied life all around!
1. If You Want to Change Your Life, Take a Breather!
Sometimes there is so much on your plate that it can be difficult to make any decision at all. What should you do next? How can you even make a dent in today’s to-do list? When you feel bogged down, overwhelmed and mentally exhausted at the mountain of tasks and responsibilities before you, lean back, take a breather and focus on nothing but the sound of your own breath.
This isn’t always easy to do, especially if you feel like you don’t have the time to sit back for a minute considering all you have ahead of you, but this will be the most well-spent moment of your day—and a moment that will give you that ammunition to face all those important responsibilities of your day ahead with confidence and energy.
Focus on taking a few good “belly breaths.” Fill your abdomen up with air as you watch your stomach actually expand. Hold this breath for three seconds and repeat the following: “I release any and all stress from my body and my mind. I am loved, I am safe, and I am enough.”
Repeat until you feel light and relaxed, and repeat as often as needed!
2. Hang Ten to Abolish Your Inner Critic
If you constantly ask yourself why you make the same mistakes at work or in your love life, your inner critic may be to blame. Luckily, the answer is right here: Surf! With this surfing exercise, you won’t need a board, or even a beach—just a nice, active imagination!
Your inner critic—that voice that tells you what you “can’t possibly” do, be or achieve—is the one responsible for stopping you in your tracks when you try to push past the edge of your comfort zones. And when it comes to eradicating your inner critic for good, nothing does it as well as this surfing visualization!
When you are bombarded by negative thoughts such as “I’ll never lose that weight,” close your eyes and imagine that very thought turning into a huge tidal wave. Stare at it from shore, and notice how big and intimidating it seems. Now, take your surfboard and paddle near it. Watch the wave crash. Now notice that the closer you come to it, the smaller it becomes.
With each negative thought that comes your way and brings on stress in your life, picture it as a frightening, intimidating wave, and visualize yourself as a surfer. Paddle towards it until it becomes so small that you’re no longer afraid of it, but instead find yourself riding it to shore while shouting, “What a trip!”
Here’s a tip—those negative thoughts that bring on stress in your life are intimidating when you don’t take action. By acting as a “surfer” in your mind, you can set your mind up to “ride” whatever life hands you!
3. This Manifestation May Change It All …
Are you having a hard time looking in the mirror and really loving what you see in the reflection? Is the stress of your poor health, dissatisfied relationship or growing debt making you feel overly anxious about what’s to come?
One of the best mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques is “the switcheroo manifestation.” In other words, switch out what you don’t love about yourself for something that you do. For example, if you don’t love the excess weight around your midsection, think about how you’d like your ideal stomach to look.
Focus on anything positive—it could be that you have to take out a picture of yourself from 10 years ago when you had “abs of steel,” or it could be that you have to close your eyes and visualize having the same toned and lean body that your favorite celebrity does.
Focus on the feelings it gives you and the emotions it brings up. The more you can feel the happiness, joy and excitement over the thing you want most—a toned body, a house to call your own, an amazing spouse who gives you everything you could possibly want—the sooner you’ll get it, and stop living life in a stressed-out frenzy!
While there is no magic potion for curing stress from your life, mindfulness-based stress reduction is the next best thing. Wipe the dissatisfaction, anxiety and worry away in one swift swoop by visualizing what you want, breathing deep, and riding the waves of those intimidating thoughts as they come (and realizing they really weren’t as bad as you thought).