Being Over Doing: 3 Simple Steps to Manage Stress
I’ve been a practitioner of yoga and meditation for years. I consider it my religion – the way I connect with myself and with Spirit. It forces me to shut off my mind and be present. Because that’s all we have, right? The present.
The past is unchangeable and the future hasn’t happened yet so I try not to spend too much time in either of these places. My yoga teacher always encouraged us to feel each pose, not just to do it because doing is the state of moving towards the future, while feeling is the state of being in the moment.
In today’s frantic society, we have sadly been taught that doing is paramount. Even the youngest of our kids are shuttled from one activity to the next, pushing themselves through 12 and 14 hour days, being shown that they must somehow be entertained or doing something at all times, as opposed to just being. Unfortunately, all of this leads to the inevitable build up of stress - in both the body and mind - for ourselves and for our kids.
The truth is, we can't always control the pace of life. It often requires a fair amount of doing and problem solving, as things come up all the time - ceilings leak, people call out sick, a project gets delayed. But the good news is is that there are opportunities to interrupt the cascade of disconnection with self (that often comes with the go, go, go mentality) and the thinking that preludes it.
For me, this simple practice helps me realign and shift into a space of being when situations arise that feel overwhelming or when life comes at me a little too fast. It's simple enough that I can do it anywhere and at any moment.
- Take a moment. Everything doesn’t require an immediate response. Instead of rushing to respond or react, take a moment to sit with things. This will ensure that you are taking yourself out of the reactive loop and giving yourself the time and space to feel things out.
- Breathe. The simple act of consciously taking a deep breath shifts our awareness into our body and has an immediate effect on our nervous system
- Gain some perspective. When feeling stressed or overwhelmed take a moment to consider - how much will this matter in a month? In a year? In 5 years? What is it about this moment that is really upsetting me?
As we enter into Spring, I invite you to take some time to move out of doing and into feeling each day. Give yourself the gift of stillness and being - no phone nearby, no music, no television. Set a timer for 5 minutes and just sit there, focusing on your breathing and feeling what it’s like to just be. Do this daily for 10 days and notice if you feel any different! And share with us while you’re doing it - we’ll be doing it with you and would love to hear your experience!