So many people are stressed out, frightened, and angry. Brain biology teaches us that when the primitive brain, which controls the fight-flight-freeze reaction, is activated, it draws blood from the frontal lobes, which control the ability to think and act with the gifts of intuition, reason, and logic.
With that in mind, I’m offering a list of things you can do right now to reduce stress in your life.
1. Breathe. Stress and anxiety can lead to shallow breathing, which in turn increases these feelings. We need oxygen, and we need to relax the solar plexus muscles. When you feel yourself getting stressed and anxious, stop and take several long, deep breaths.
2. Drink water. This goes along with breathing. Fear and anxiety can create toxic emotions that turn into physical toxins.
3. Take flower essences. Dr. Edward Bach began his work following the horror of World War I and the influenza epidemic. As a world-wide economic depression deepened and fascism began to rise in Europe, he developed the Bach Flower Remedies, which helped countless people restore emotional balance.
They are as helpful today as they were then. I will provide a future post about this and for today will list a few that can help immediately.
Rescue Remedy is one of the world’s most popular Remedies. Combining 5 Bach Flower Remedies, it can help with shock, trauma, terror, numbness, and other emotions.
Sweet Chestnut is valuable for despair. Mustard helps with gloom. Star of Bethlehem helps with shock and trauma.
4. Tap. If you aren't familiar with EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) or other forms of tapping, this is a great time to learn. EFT Down Under is one of my favorite sites for learning.
5. Be cautious about social media. I see lots of inspiring posts on Facebook, for example, but there’s a lot of negativity, too. I’m not condemning the people who post negative articles, but I’m avoiding the self-destructive urge to click on those links.
6. Reach out to friends. For many of us, this is a time to connect to others for mutual support.
7. Be active. If you belong to groups working for social justice, increase your participation.
8. Practice mindfulness. This may mean meditation, yoga, chi kung, or any discipline that returns your focus to the Now.
9. Cherish the present moment. Mindfulness also means remembering that what we create in the present becomes our future. And fear of the future poisons the present moment.
10. Don’t hate. It’s so easy to do at present. I’m reminding myself that it takes two sides to make a divided country (or world). I may vigorously disagree with people, but to deny their humanity diminishes my own.
Finally, I’m sharing links to two poems that are guiding me through the present moment.
This links to St. Francis’s poem that begins, “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.”
The second is Thich Nhat Hanh’s “Please Call Me by my True Names.” This is a beautiful plea for compassion.