I haven’t met many people who aren’t interested in how to stress less in their lives.
Over the course of thousands and thousands of years our brains have become wired toward creating, fixing, solving, basically just doing. It’s been a great benefit; we have roofs over our heads, cars to drive, chairs to sit on and even this technology to connect around.
But when the brain tries to solve the equation for how to stress less, it mistakenly uses the same approach and unknowingly, it isn’t answering the question for how to stress less, but instead how to stress more, creating more suffering.
If you truly want to know how to stress less, you can begin right now to train our brain with a more effective approach.
This is what I call, the “BE” practice and it can be experienced in one minute.
Note: First, see if you can set any judgments aside of whether this practice will or will not teach you how to stress less. Engage this just with the goal of being aware of your experience.
- Breathe – Take a few deep breaths and as you breathe in, know that you’re breathing in, as you breathe out know that you breathing out. The instructions are very simple. You can even say to yourself, “In” as you’re breathing in and “Out” as you’re breathing out. This is meant to pop you out of auto-pilot and steady your mind.
- Expand – This is the process of expanding your attention throughout the body and just feeling the body as it is. You may feel warmth or coolness, achiness, itchiness, tension, tightness, heaviness, lightness or a whole host of sensations. Or perhaps you notice no sensation at all in other areas. When you’re here also be aware of how emotions are being expressed in the body. Stress may be tension in the chest or shoulders, calm may be looseness in the back or face. Whatever you notice, just practice allowing it to be as it is without needing “to do” anything about it. Remember, we’re not solving the equation of how to stress less in this moment, just focusing on what is right here, right now.
That’s it! It may sound too simple to be impactful, but again, set your judgments aside and let your experience be your teacher. Know that without any need to set an agenda, you’re subtly training your brain in the art of how to stress less.
Just practice being, Breathing and Expanding into the body in mini-moments throughout the day to experience The Now Effect, that space of awareness and choice that will lead you to a more balanced and mindful life.
To help you remember you might consider posting signs in your environment that say “Just Be” knowing that means to engage in the “Be” practice. Or perhaps just a sign that says “How to stress less, just be” can be a reminder to drop into practice. Or maybe putting a note in your digital calendar to pop up a couple times in the day as a reminder.
Another practice that has been helpful to many people in training their brain how to stress less is the STOP practice.
Let me lay it out for you:
- Stop what you are doing.
- Take a few deep breaths
- Observe your experience, including the positioning of your body, how your body is feeling, what emotions you are experiencing and if your mind seems busy or calm.
- Proceed by asking yourself the question, what is most important to me right now when considering how to stress less.
The benefits are enormous – it just takes intention and practice.
I always say if there’s two things in life we can count on besides death and taxes it’s stress and pain. This is not about eliminating stress, that is a exercise in continual frustration. It’s about learning how to relate to the moments we get activated and learning how to stress less.
Don’t take my word for it, allow your experience to be your teacher. I recommend this for any advice you ever hear from any expert out there.
The key to how to stress less is within you.
Remember, As always, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction creates a living wisdom that we can all benefit from
He is author of The Now Effect, co-author of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, Foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of the Mindful Solutions at Work App, the Mindful Solutions audio series, and the Mindfulness at Work™ program currently being adopted in multiple multinational corporations.
He hopes his work supports you in engaging a new way of life that helps you not only experience how to stress less, but be more open to the wonders that are all around.