In times of immediate stress I need a strategy and system to cope with the situation and turn it into something positive. Over the years I’ve come up with this 5 Minutes to Mindfulness system that works for me. This approach is for light to moderate times of stress and conflict.
- First, I take myself physically out of the situation that caused the stress. This is a key point. When I began to feel my fight or flight response kick in, I do not stay in a stress situation or conflict.
- Secondly, I focus on my breath for 10 counts of 4 in and 4 out. That slows down my heart rate and lowers the production of my stress hormones. If my body is in a state of panic, it is difficult to get any perspective on the situation. I let my thoughts come and go without judgement
- Thirdly, I observe those thoughts. I need to know what’s going on in my head and heart. Usually the cause of the stress or conflict is fear. Fear creates chaos in my head and heart. I’m not trying to come up with solutions, I’m trying to understand what I am thinking and feeling.
- Fourthly, I practice compassion. Now that I have some sense that everything is okay, I need to open up instead of closing down. First I practice compassion for myself – I’m just a human with issues like every other human. Then I practice compassion for whoever or whatever I feel wronged me. I try to find the humor in it all.
- Fifth, I gain perspective. Things are going to happen. There is no point in holding on to this particular stress event or conflict. It simply is not worth the time or energy. I breathe in for 4 counts and visualize my heart and mind being replenished with good energy, and breathe the bad energy out for 4 counts. I let go of any anger toward myself or toward someone or something else. I let go of the fear that caused my reaction. I affirm my intention to let my consciousness and subconsciousness work on the issues.
I repeat as needed when I feel that same fight and flight response come creeping back.
After a 5 Minutes to Mindfulness practice, I find that it’s usually best to do some light activities other then what stressed me out. I let my subconscious work for me as I do physical work. Taking a 20 minute walk works wonders. I find that if I take a longer walk at this point, I end up obsessing about the issue instead of opening up my senses and getting perspective.
Next time you find yourself swearing under your breathe try these 5 steps and see if they help. For simple daily ways to get more mindfulness in your life check out this post. What are some ways that you have dealt with stress in our life?
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