Waiting. It’s so easy to let the stress monster scare us when we have to wait. Waiting in hospitals. Waiting for word about a new job. Waiting for that special someone. Waiting in line to purchase Christmas presents. When we wait, we sometimes live in a kind of limbo – the land of “what-if”. What if the surgery doesn’t go well? What if I don’t get the job. What if I don’t get ANY job? What if I never have a loving relationship? What if they hate the presents I’m getting for them? What if, what if, what if.
I am learning that the stress monster and the land of “what-if” – it’s all make-believe. Looking at past regrets? That’s what-if talking. Careening towards future fear? What-if again. All make-believe – it is not happening right now. Reality lies in “what-is” right this moment. So how do we get out of that “what-if” cycle?
The next time you catch yourself living in the past or worrying about the future, hold up an imaginary stop sign and be in the land of “what-is” (another word for that is “mindfulness.” Anyone can be mindful for a moment or two, but developing that mindfulness muscle takes a little practice. Luckily, these steps make the practice easy.
1) Remember 3 things you are blessed with in the present moment. Gratitude seems to flip a switch in our brains. It’s impossible to be truly grateful, focused on the positive, and totally stressed out at the same time.
2) Smile at the next person you see. Giving to someone else, even just a smile, takes us out of our own heads (and the land of “what-if”) and right into “what-is.”
3) Jump up and down. Physical movement is a proven stress-reliever, and concentrating on not falling over makes you live in the present moment. Or maybe that’s just me
4) Breathe. The #1 way to immediately reduce stress is to breathe on purpose. My favorite breathing technique is 4-7-8. Breathe in to the count of 4, hold your breath for the count of 7, and breathe out to the count of 8. Tension melts…
5) And savor “what-is.” The word “savor” means “enjoy completely.” I am focusing on really savoring what I’m doing, rather than racing on to the next thing.
So here’s to living right now – mindful, real, grateful, happy, balanced, relaxed, and enjoying completely. And if you need any help finding and staying in your “what is,” I’m here for you at greatlifebalance.