There’s a lot of advice about what to do when you are stressed and that’s a good thing.
But a lot of stress is a response to perceived threats or problems – that is, things that might happen in the future. It can also be a response to things that have happened in the past.
So one of the ways to help you to find a bit of peace and calm is to begin to learn how not to do something and that something is, to NOT let your mind linger in the past (all gone) or the worrisome future that you (or someone else) are predicted or projecting.
The flaw in my advice is of course, how to not do something which in itself is a contradiction. So I’ll tell you what my method is and it’s a method that has got me through some pretty challenging stretches.
I listen to my thoughts as often as I can. And if I notice that they are in the past or the future, I have add a few extra thoughts to them, so they are not rushing around unguarded, like a pack of hysterical chihuahuas.
“Well, there I go, thinking about the past again and no wonder, it has some great memories/lessons for me. Maybe there is something I need to notice but even so I don’t want to get stuck there – let me notice something right now that brings me to the present (then I breathe deeply, or focus on the colour of something, or go and get myself a cup of tea).
If I find myself focussing on bad stuff from the past, I say to myself. “Debs, you didn’t like it at the time. Don’t bother going back for another taste – it sucked then, it sucks now. Find something else to focus on”.
For dreary thoughts of the future, I say “Really, is this the best I can predict for myself? I am sure, with a bit of effort, I can do better than that”.
These are just snippets of my internal dialogue and if it sounds odd to you, (and that’s OK) just remember, when you can notice your thoughts, you can also notice that they are JUST thoughts, not truths, not facts, not anything except some words you have decided to run in your mind. If you can notice your thoughts, then you are not your thoughts and your life need not be them either. Take heart, none of us has it all together, but together, we can overcome the challenges of a busy mind and life. Here are my words, but just so you know, they come straight from my heart and are offered in the sincere trust that even one person may read them and feel the chains of stress released. Wellness and stress relief are often just one thought away.