Optimize Balance and Perspective Throughout the Day
A low to medium level of occasional stress can be part of our motivation and creativity. Everyone has some level of stress occurring from time to time because of our brain structure that dates back to when it was very important to have immediate, strong reaction to danger. In today’s world, this isn’t needed in most daily lives, but many experience a reactive, continual low grade stress and anxiety that limits optimum performance and weakens their immune system. We can operate at a high level of functioning and be closer to a flow state of contentment if we stay in balance and in a state of resilience. As Viktor Frankl said “Between the stimulus and the response, there is a space. This is where our freedom lies.” There is a simple practice that we can use to switch from “life happens to me and is out of my control” to “how I respond is in my control” Easy to remember, it is called the STOP technique. It returns control to us in the face of stressors. We become less vulnerable to reacting in a habitual way. It improves our chances of responding skillfully rather than reacting mindlessly. S - Stop. Pause. T - Take a breath. In fact, take three. Easy, natural, a little deeper and longer. Bring your attention to the breath and relax with this natural state. O - Observe. Notice your thoughts, feelings, sensations. Appreciate that there is probably a story going on in your mind and the stories are not always facts. Here, you have a choice. You sense where you are in the moment. P - Proceed. Move forward in a way that comes from a larger, calmer view. Be easy on yourself. Let your deeper perspective inform the best way forward. Just like good nutrition and a regular fitness routine, daily meditation or mindfulness keep us in top shape. It gives a chance for a deep inner state of health and wellness to predominate. Remembering and tapping into glimpses of this inner state of balance will optimize our way of interacting throughout the day.