A few years ago I found myself often feeling stressed out and short on time. Constantly panicked and rushed, I was not happy with how I was interacting with my kids. I was irritated and yelling “hurry up!” nearly every time we were headed out the door. I didn’t want to be that kind of mom and I also didn’t want my kids to experience our life as stressful and unpleasant. I knew I had to make a change. So I created a little trick for myself: every time I feel that panicked, rushed feeling, I take a deep breath and think “I have all the time I need.” It doesn’t work 100% of the time (sometimes I am late!) but it works most of the time. In fact, I discovered that I was often rushing for NO GOOD REASON. I’d just gotten in the habit of always hurrying, even when I didn’t need to. In fact I had started to associate all stressful feelings as being about a lack of time when they often aren’t. This habit, in turn, made me feel more time starved, leading to more stress. Breaking that habit required a conscious focus, but it’s made me much calmer and happier.
If you could use some tricks to help beat your stress, I highly recommend you pick up Kate Hanley’s new book, Stress Less. This charming paperback has 100 different ways to, well, stress less. What I love is she includes ideas to suit every personality and every situation. There are exercises focused on breathing. Others are focused on moving, including some simple yoga moves that you can do almost anywhere. And, in a nod to our automobile-centered lives, she even has an idea of how to be calmer in the car. Pick the book up and flip to almost any page and you’ll find an idea that will help you get more relaxed and centered.
Most of the exercises take just a few minutes, though there are some longer ones. My personal favorite is #87: Focus on People’s Goodness. For an entire day you are meant to look for the good in everyone you encounter, to focus on our similarities and common humanity. Just thinking about doing it set my mind to rest and made me feel a little more peaceful.
If you could use more peace and calm in your life pick up a copy of Stress Less. After just a few pages you should be breathing a little deeper. Ah!