Isn’t crazy how much our mind wanders and is constantly thinking? I was pondering this earlier today when I kept catching myself lost in thought about finals, making a gym plan, making sure I print out my flyers for meditation, and hundred other tasks my mind is always reminding me of. I told myself “this is why you stress kid because your mechanically thinking about what’s next.” I had a serious self-talk with myself and committed to becoming more mindful and present in the moment. This is a lot easier typed then practiced, its been a few months and I still find myself in these thought loops. As finals approach I find a lot of my friends are stressing about finals and feeling overwhelmed with the workload. I asked myself, “Am I stressed about finals?” to my surprise I am currently not as stressed as I usually would be, as a matter a fact I am in a state of contentment and peace even as they approach. Now as I asked myself “why is this?” I realized it is not that I do not have stress or worry about finals, graduation, and life in general it is just the way I am dealing with it and the approach I am taking. Now take for granted I am no full on Guru (yet) and still have days that I do find myself a little more overwhelmed then others but even so the majority of the time when I follow this Stress Relief method I can come back to the present and be at peace once again.
Before we talk about how to manage stress lets talk about what stress is and why it occurs.
Stress by definition is a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse and very demanding circumstances. Usually occurring when we feel overwhelmed, have anxiety, or feel confused and upset. Now stress can occur for a variety of reasons by it is usually linked to an imbalance in one(or more)of these five areas of life; Relationships, money, spirituality, career, health. When you are imbalanced things seems to feel more high-risk and is linked to a chain of events. My usual stress would be having an argument with my girlfriend then coming home and not having food then remembering I have to do a five page essay and staying up all night trying to finish it and waking up tired and cranky the next day. This become a vicious cycle for if we are reacting emotionally to situations and focusing our thoughts on the negative then we will attract that type of energy into our lives. It is crucial that you become aware of how you are thinking, feeling, and handling the stress or anxiety that you are feeling.
What are effects of stress?
Stress is the silent killer and more and more people are being overwhelmed by stress then ever before. Your body has a hard time telling the difference between emotional and physical threats that can put your body in a stress mode. Things like being stressed over an argument with a friend, worrying about bills, or trying to meet a deadline for finals can put you in as much stress as a life or death situation! Crazy right this shook me for a while because I never realized how easily your body can stress. Chronic stress can cause:
- Digestive issues
- Lower test scores
- Heart disease
- Weight issues
- Reproductive problems
- SO MUCH MORE
Stress can literally make or break you so it is really important that you know when you are stressing and how to manage it which I will go over with you.
So how do you manage stress? Lets first address what you should NOT do.
When you feel stress DO NOT do any of the following or you will explode like that airheads commercial I used to watch as a kid. (I avoided eating those damn candies because of it so I hope you avoid these actions)
- Avoid Reacting emotionally; This can look like taking our your frustration on other people, partaking in arguments, physical fighting, self-projecting.
- Avoid keeping thoughts and feelings inside; This can mean taking on a mentality that “no one can understand” or “I’ll just deal with it on my own.” This can lead you down a dark road as it did me.
- Avoid the abuse of drugs, alcohol, and medications; this can lead to serious addiction and increase your stress levels and Definitely make your head blow up.
- Avoid segregation/isolation; Sort of like we mentioned earlier avoid pushing others away and isolating yourself. You are not alone avoid making yourself to be.
- Avoid overthinking or talking about your stress in an unhealthy way; Although I advocate expression there is a difference between complaining and releasing emotion.
What TO DO to help reduce stress and live a more fulfilling life!
- MEDITATION; The number one best tool you can use to live a more peaceful and conscious life. Mediation is for everyone and all you have to do is relax, close your eyes, and breath.
- BREATHING; your breath is so powerful and it is always with you. Learn to master the breath by taking in deep breaths and focusing on the airflow coming in and out. This will focus your attention on breathing and not your thoughts
- JOURNALING; Keeping track of your thoughts and releasing emotions through pen and pad can truly help you not only understand your emotions but help you let them go.
- AFFIRMATIONS; Are powerful words that can help require your subconscious mind. Examples are like, “I am love, I am peace, I am present” or “I will let go of worry”
- WORKING OUT; Can help you not only release stress but get in better shape! It also released endorphins while you work out so you naturally feel better!
- COMMUNICATE; Share your pain and spread your love is always what I aspire to do. Don’t be afraid to talk to someone or reach out to people to talk about your feelings. Find the right people or attend a meditation event where you can share!
- PRIORITIZE; Make a list of the most important things you need to get down and do those first. This can help you gain clarity
- BE HERE NOW; Be in the present moment as much as you can be. If you are here now, then when now becomes then you will know exactly what to do.
RIZEN 5 STEP PLAN TO INSTANTLY RELEASE STRESS
Here is how I relieve stress and why I am not worried about finals
- Breathe. I spend about 5 min breathing and repeating an AFFIRMATION. “everything is good, life is beautiful, I am here now.” This usually calms me down a little and helps me come back to the present.
- Meditate. I take about 5-15 minutes to meditate specifically on what is stressing me out. Recently it was finals so I focused on why I was stressed and what I could do about it.
- Journal. I write down my thoughts from the meditation and have a self-talk with myself. When it came to finals I found I stress because I feel unprepared and overwhelmed with family, personal, and school life.
- Communicate and accept. At this point I usually accept that I cannot control the events that happen in my life but I can control how I react to them. Whatever grade I get on my finals is what it is and as long as I do my best that is all that matters. I take extra steps to study and prepare while priotizing what is important. I usually also either blog about my emotions, talk to a teacher, or my friends/family about how I am feeling in a healthy way to let out those thoughts.
- Work out and practice mindfulness. At this point I have a pretty good sense of clarity and to finish it off I go on a run or to the gym to focus on keeping my body healthy and I am mindful of my thoughts letting them pass and coming back to the present. Listening to music helps too and personally for me freestyling allows me to release a lot and stay in the present.
The key here is to BE HERE NOW as Ram Dass would say and to remain in the present moment. I have had a lot of stress in my life as I am sure most of us had and I found my stress was usually triggered through anxiety. What is anxiety? Basically it is a habit of worrying about the future or the past. I found myself always worrying If I was going to do good on a test, about having to do a presentation, confrontation with people, and all these other issues that in theory wouldn’t have even happened yet. I found the best cure to all my stress and anxiety was simply breathing, coming back to the present, smiling, and repeating “all is good, everything is great, and I love myself.” Below I attached a really powerful meditation you guys can do and a yoga practice you can follow. Plus a lecture from Alan Watts. Hope it helps. Much love to all you guys! As always STAY RIZEN. Peace and love!