Having worked with thousands of people when teaching meditation and stress-free living, I know how crippling stress can be, especially when the stress is not helping the situation at all. You know stress and all of its annoying side effects, especially from negatively charged stress. You’re probably aware that most of our emotions are the results of our thoughts and directly affect our hearts and physical sensations to sometimes make us feel trapped and disempowered.
Before we go into this powerful 8-Step ‘Benefit & Action’ system, I just want to show you the type of stress that IS useful. It’s important, of course, to discern between the ‘beneficial’ stress that DOES serve you and the ‘detrimental’ stress that DOES NOT serve you in your life.
The stress that serves you
Imagine yourself walking amidst some zebras, giraffes, elephants and baboons on the great planes of Kenya, when suddenly, out of the corner of your eye, you see a lion bounding towards you. The split second you detect this pending attack and potentiality of death, your body shuts down all non-essential processes, such as digestion, and a massive hit of adrenaline shoots into your bloodstream; immediately you literally start running for your life. Your lungs receive more oxygen and everything about you has one single focus – survival. This really is a life or death situation.
This is ‘beneficial’ stress, a good stress reaction in this situation; it is saving your life. This same stress reaction is equally useful if you were being attacked or chased by a gang in New York City or other genuinely life-threatening situation – where you need to escape, FAST!
Now, here’s the reality check.
We have this same reaction in many non life-threatening stress situations in our daily lives, such as work pressures, traffic jams, insufficient funds, etc. This type of stress DOES NOT warrant the ‘life or death’ stress reaction that is suited to being chased or attacked; it warrants a practical response – a response that leads to a real solution.
Yet, millions of people live most of their entire life AS IF they are constantly running away from a hungry lion! Your body reacts each day in that same manner, where you wake up, jump in the shower and then spend the rest of the day escaping viscous wild animals and attacks from gangs. But do you? How many genuinely life-threatening situations have you ever experienced in your whole life?
In the wild, the animals that act on their natural instinct to flee and escape will come back to their non-stress state in minutes, but that’s the way of the wild for them. Some of us modern-day humans, on the other hand, experience this same type of stress reaction all day long – without a real need to experience stress to that extreme – and often without even knowing it. Can you see how crippling this is to your state of mind as well as your overall health and well-being? We are not being chased by hungry lions – so we can afford to relax. Seriously. Remaining relaxed may even save our lives.
If you are ready to overcome stress for good, make this pledge to yourself today:
“I pledge, I will only welcome stress when I am in a genuinely life-threatening situation. Other than that, I will learn, develop and use other ways of handling life and the world that are both effective and pleasurable to me. From now on, I welcome peace, clarity and harmony into my life, thank you.”
With that said, let’s move on to a new way of being! Get a pen and paper, and sit yourself down in a comfy chair for about 10-15 minutes – and let it work for you.
Disconnect from stress and reconnect with your natural state of peace and harmony.
Here is a proven and practical 8-Step ‘Benefit & Action’ approach that I use and have taught thousands of others to use to overcome their stress and worry, creating a new path to actually make a real difference in their lives – and live a balanced, peaceful life. The ‘Benefits’ in these steps explain what the advantages are to you and the ‘Actions’ are what you can put into practice.
These steps can be done either in sequential order to really get a holistic stress-free response, or, once you have learned it, you can any of them on their own to drain the stress from your life when it appears. Additionally, you can use it as a preventative measure to do periodic checkups on yourself to see if you are under stress, thus avoiding it all together.
My aim is for you to own these practices and master them. As you learn them, you will no longer live your life as if you are being chased by a lion, but rather, your life will become an enjoyable walk in the park and the only felines will be tabby cats.
Let us begin.
Step 1: Deep Breaths
Benefit: This deep breathing action will not only minimize muscle tension all over your body, but it will also promote weight loss from fatty tissue. It allows you to connect to your natural state of peace and brings control back into your hands. Deep breathing has been used for centuries in various spiritual traditions as a means of attaining higher levels of consciousness and increasing personal peace, power and focus.
Action: Drop your shoulders, drop your jaw muscles and breathe slowly and deeply into your lungs and belly, as much as you can, and then breathe out the same way, as much as you can. As you breathe out you can yawn or say ‘aaaaaaaaa’ or ‘mmmmmmmm’ like you might when you are having a massage or just finding relief from a tough task. Now, repeat this action 9 more times and maintain deep (rather than shallow) breaths as you read on.
Step 2: Smile
Benefit: Smiling releases serotonin and dopamine into your bloodstream, which literally makes you feel good. You can do it any time, it doesn’t cost any money and other people will likely smile back at you, too!
Action: Put a nice big smile on your face. If you’re not feeling blissfully happy right now, fake it; concentrate on raising the corners of your mouth as high as you can and hold that position; soon you might start giggling, because it feels so good inside – keep smiling as you read on.
Step 3: Take Stock & Be Thankful
Keep smiling, breathe deeply and really take stock of your assets – no matter how small or insignificant you deem them – there is magic in that. FEEL the gratitude of what you have and ENJOY it.
Benefit: You will get in touch with what it’s like to FEEL good right now, as your worry will be replaced by the feeling of attainment, which is good for your allover health. Being in this state allows your body to relax resulting in increased energy flow to enhance your physical, mental and emotional health.
Action: Focus your attention on what you DO HAVE good in your life right now. What do you have to be grateful for at this moment? It might be good food, a comfortable home, a loving family, trusted friendships, any sum of money you do have, your health, choice of career, creative talent, love of music, etc. Write a few things down and ENJOY them by thanking yourself for each one. Notice how you feel when you ENJOY those things – a scrumptious meal, a luxuriating bath or a heart-to-heart with a friend?
Step 4: Activate Your Magical Google
Now that you have a list of things in your life that you already feel good about, let’s use what the famous Dr. Maxwell Maltz called your ‘Automatic Success Mechanism’. Did you know that your mind is a goal-seeking mechanism? Whatever question you ask yourself, your mind will find the answer – just like Google gives you answers when you do a search. The clearer and more precise the question, the faster and more relevant the solution will come to you.
For example: When you are trying to realize a goal, if you keep asking yourself questions about why you are so stressed and worried, you will get answers for that. If you look for all the reasons why you are stuck, your will find reasons to convince you of that. On the other hand, if you ask yourself how to get to that goal in the quickest and best way possible, you will get solutions instead.
Benefit: Your worrisome wiles will be massively reduced and your time, mind and energy will be in problem-solving mode.
Action: Ask yourself this question now: “How can I do this thing I want as gracefully and swiftly as possible?” Write down whatever words, ideas or impressions come up for you. The more you practice this method, the more readily your mind will go to work on the answer – even when you are sleeping or busy doing other things. Look out for a mind blast of answers in the shower or a stroke of genius driving to work. I have endless powerful ideas emerge in the shower, or when I’m swimming in the ocean, here in Hawaii.
5: Focus on the Outcome
This may sound obvious, but you will get what you focus on most. So if you focus on the problem, you will worry and feel stressed. If you focus on the goal you would love to experience, your energy will go towards that experience and solutions will appear.
Benefit: You will stop living in fear of what you don’t want to happen and start living in anticipation of what you DO want to happen. One of the biggest reasons for stress and worry is your mind focusing on what you DON’T want. Often, the dreaded event hasn’t happened and it may never happen, but you keep living as if it is – or looming – when in truth it is neither.
Action: Focus on the desired result as if the goal has already been met, i.e., my bills are now paid, my project is now finished, my health is now good again, etc. For added effectiveness declare that ‘it is done’ and breathe a sigh of relief and say words like ‘finally’, ‘at last’.
6: Ask For Help!
When we are stressed and worried, our mind is sometimes so obsessed we see very limited or zero possibilities to get help. When you do the above Steps 1-5, you will have a clear view of the bountiful resources and people at your disposal.
Benefit: You can utilize the assets of various people, organizations and tools/systems as catalysts to speed up the process in overcoming obstacles and attaining your goals – without ‘using’ them or feeling incompetent.
Action: Ask yourself who or what can help you attain your goal? What help is available to you right now? What assets do you have that you can use? Write them down. Make note of all of the people, ascots, systems, organizations that you can call, email, text right now to help move you forward.
7: Kill Stress Fast
Stress can also be the result of trying to do TOO MANY THINGS at once. Let’s get real. You can’t cram 10 days worth of work into 1 day – no matter how organized you are. You can’t, and no one else can either – it goes against the laws of physics.
Benefit: By simply being realistic about your time you can eliminate the stress of overwork.
Action: Quick de-stress exercise.
- Write down every task you THINK you need to do today or in the near future
- Circle ONLY 20% of the tasks that are really, really important
- Make a note next to each of how long it will realistically take to do those tasks
- ACT on only those things that matter most. The rest can either be done later, or by someone else. If you can think of someone to delegate a task to, make a note and contact them after you’ve finished reading.
8: ACT on your ideas
Benefit: With this new energy and activating success mechanism, you will have ideas AND energy to ACT on your ideas and change the situation. When you get an idea make sure you ACT on it, because the sooner you get used to acting on an idea, the more ideas will come – the stream from the idea pool tends to dry up if you do not ACT on them in a timely manner.
Action: Keep smiling, keep breathing. Now you are re-energized and ready to ACT on your ideas with clarity and deliberation towards your goals. As you ACT on your ideas magic happens, your worry and stress are greatly reduced or eliminated. Don’t spend another minute worrying. Either ACT on an idea or focus on the goal and be grateful for what you have until you have an idea you can ACT on.
If you follow this process every day, integrating it into your way of being, you will feel infinitely more empowered and have very grounded practical steps to move into the situation you want. Your dreams will become realities. And, you will have a nice smile, peace in your heart and the realization of just how truly blessed you are.
I wish you a happy and fulfilling life.
May 2011 be YOUR Best Year Ever