10 Steps for Releasing Stress and Having a More Joyous Life
It’s easy to be taken over by our emotions. The “anger button” gets pushed and these emotions overwhelm and wash away our ability to calmly reason. This can be especially problematic if when we disagree with a loved one or feel threatened. What we want more than anything is to love but what comes out of our mouth is often anger. When this happens we can feel powerless. Here are some tools that I use to help me stay present to my highest, happiest self and not let stress control me.
It is a very stressful time in the USA and it’s super important to start practicing greater self-regulation (and loving kindness); now more than ever. Here are 10 amazing tools that I lean into to help me regain my center.
1) Drink Tea – The practice of drinking herbal tea can be a wonderful soothing ritual. My favorite is the “No More Anxiety” tea from my healing tea shop, www.ConvergenceHealingTeas.com
. The primary ingredient, St. John’s Wort, has been shown to create a calming from the inside. Another herb that makes a delicious tea is Kava Root which also is known to traditionally reduce stress and anxiety.
2) Take Herbs - Chamomile, Passion Flower, Valerian Root, Lavender, Catnip and others are great herbs for calming the nervous system. It’s pretty easy to find most of these as pre-packaged teas or go out in your garden and pick your own! Steep for 4 minutes in boiling water and drink up!
3) Sleep - Getting enough sleep is crucial for maintaining a sense of calm. Sleep deprivation interrupts our body’s ability to vent stress which then can cause emotional burnout. Take naps, go to bed earlier, give yourself a consistent ritual of going to bed every night at the same time, and drink things like my “Sleep Well” tea to support a good night's rest.
4) You are not your thoughts - Thoughts come and go and only have power over us if we engage them. One way to regulate your thoughts is to look at them like cars on the road and simply let them drive on by. There goes a yellow car, there goes a red car. Most often, we have a thought (worry, judgment, fear) that beckons us to jump inside. When we jump into these thoughts they take us over. Be with them and invite them to drive away so that they can no longer hijack you.
5) Pause – Practice listening and shutting your mouth (sorry if that was harsh). Only speak after the rush to speak has passed. When you are ready to speak from a place of stillness then your words will be more powerful.
6) Meditate – Just sit and notice your breath, the birds singing outside your window, the waves crashing on the shore, or even the varied sounds of life around you. As you sit there, continue to bring your attention from one awareness to another and back to your breath. Voila! You just meditated!
7) Breathe - Take a series of five deep breathes. This will clear your mind and reduce the chemicals that were released inside you when you stressed out. Take five slow and deep breathes. Exhale completely then inhale and stretch your ribs wide. Watch your body shift from stressed to centered.
8) Talk to your stress (fear, worry, etc.) - One of the primary tools for regulating emotions, and an important part of the “Convergence Healing” process, is to connect with the stress directly. Stop and be present with the stress. Give it a shape and a name and actually ask it what it needs in order to feel better. As you develop a relationship with it, the stress will reveal what lies beneath it and you'll have an easier time working with it and healing.
9) Practice Loving Kindness - When we stress out, we often increase our stress levels and beat ourselves up for being stressed. It's a form of spiritual flagellation. We make a mistake and then beat ourselves up for the mistake. Take a moment to send love to the part that’s hurting and notice what happens. I envision love as a shimmering golden light. When I make a mistake I send that light to the person affected by my mistake AND to myself. I allow myself to feel that light deep within me as a color, temperature, and texture. In this way, the love flows into me deeply and my brain/body can understand it with all of my senses.
10) Forgive - Practicing forgiveness is something you first do for yourself. When we forgive we stop the abusive inner dialogue of pain that was poisoning our thoughts. We all know that what we think we feel so when we stop those fearful thoughts our body literally has the opportunity to feel better. Forgive first for yourself and stop drinking the poison that was intended for someone else.