The things that you do every day to make yourself happy or bring yourself joy are part of the ways you care for yourself. They also keep your stress levels lower so that when events hit or your emotional triggers are pushed, you can deal with things in a more manageable way.
Even a morning cup of tea or coffee with some quiet time can be an important daily ritual that keeps your stress levels reduced. We often create these daily routines for ourselves without realizing why we have added them into our schedules or why they are so important to us. It's when we miss or skip them that we can really feel the effects of having our routine disrupted.
There are four things we can easily do to intentionally create greater patience, reduce anxiety, help balance our focus, and to create a life that isn’t running on autopilot.
1. Practice Gratitude. Start the day mentally listing 4 or 5 very specific things that you are grateful for and why you are grateful for them. The key is to be specific not general. For example, “health” is general; “being able to climb the stairs without being winded” is specific. Start your day focusing on the positive in your life.
2. Find 10-20 Minutes for Meditation. All of the events and stress causers happening in your life are like large rocks being tossed into the lake of your mind. As more rocks hit, the water just gets choppier and choppier and the waves can get out of hand. Meditation is about taking the time to calm those waters. Calmer waters mean that when new things hit they don't have near the effect they would have if they had landed in an already turbulent lake.
3. Do a Daily Review. At the end of your day, deliberately review the positive interactions and events that happened during your day. Many people do this before falling asleep. This is most helpful for people who tend to overly focus or only focus on the negative moments of their day. It helps shift and balance your mind's attention.
4. See the Silver Linings. When doing the daily review, you will still see the negative interactions and events that happened during your day. When these come up, take the time to find the positive things that may have (or will) come from those negative events or interactions. "What is the unseen benefit?" or "What can I learn from this?" are helpful questions to ask yourself. The answers can help you keep your focus balanced and better accept what is happening without adding an extra layer of worry.
Are there other things people can do? Absolutely. The list of things that can be added to help with stress, increase self-awareness, and to help maintain a balanced focus on both the positive and negative is a long one. These four things, though, are easy adds that can start making daily stress management an intentional practice.
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