Our world can be busy, hectic, and sometimes slides all the way into stressed out and chaotic. There’s simply no denying that one salient, inescapable fact. As long as the chaos stays “outside us,” we’re ok. Once disorder starts seeping into us, we’re headed for trouble. It’d be nice to stay calm amid the world disintegrating, but how does one manage that? There’s no pretending things are not going in ten directions at once when they quite obviously are. Truth be told, there’s no hard and fast rule for getting through the big tough times of stress, but I do have some tips that can see you through a stress-storm with your mind intact. These suggestions address dealing with the chaos and calming your mind. The two work together.
1. Breathe. Do your breathwork. People have two extremes when stressed: they either breath too rapidly, producing shallow breathing that imbalances carbon dioxide and oxygen, or they hold their breath. Holding one’s breath can be part of a panic response like the fight-or-flight response.
2. Bring yourself into the here and now. Mindfully examine yourself for tight muscles, clenched jaws, pain in the stomach, and take a few minutes to let those stress centers relax.
3. Slow yourself down. Yes, the world around us has accelerated to a thousand kilometers an hour, but that doesn’t lead to great things unless you’re a pilot. As things around you become more hectic, you need to become more deliberate in each thing you do.
4. Focus on one task at a time. As chaos increases, your focus needs to narrow. Accomplish one task, even if it’s small. That one finished item will help you feel some accomplishment as well as getting you further along in conquering the chaos itself.
5. Mantras are simple phrases or words that can keep you calm. Pick a word or phrase that brings you some peace and repeat it to yourself. A mantra for a peaceful mind might be no more complex than “I am at peace; this will all work out,” although “peace” itself would be fine.
Staying calm through the chaos of life can help keep you centered, and surprisingly keep you healthy as well. Chronic stress can leave you with poor immune function, imbalanced hormone levels, and feeling completely overwhelmed to the point of burn out. Try implementing these tips when dealing with high levels of stress, and see if they can help bring you to a more centered state of mind.
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