Find An Anchor
The reason why people routinely pray, meditate, or have a contemplative discipline is to learn a way to always find a calm space. When something triggers them and they need to know the way back to serenity, they can tap into it at any time. You have to train your mind and body to know when stress is becoming overwhelming. I like to use the exercise of bringing my two fingers together – fingertip to fingertip. As soon as they touch, a memory that I have put into my psyche of being happy, joyful, and positive is released to combat my stress. This is called anchoring. The next time you feel very happy – such as that sunny day at the beach eating ice cream – quiet yourself for a minute, and then do something physical such as touching your fingers together. When you feel stressed, you can anchor back to the happy memory by repeating the physical action you have chosen.
Take Control of Your Feelings
We can create our own future by looking at the foundation that our beliefs are built on. How you handle life’s stresses is a reflection of your programming. If you believe that you are a victim, you will continue to suffer. We’re not targets of anyone or anything. We only become victims when we allow somebody to do that to us. You must begin to look at everything in a holistic way, rather than fixating on things you cannot change. You are in charge of your own feelings. The demands of a relative or friend, or a jam-packed schedule of tasks, or the high demands of a job, are outside of you. Your reactions are within your power to shape.
When you step back from your stress and the emotions that come with it, you are practicing positive detachment. If there are changes we can make, such as learning to say “no,” or not over-scheduling ourselves, or looking for help with a task that has us extended beyond our ability, we can lower our stress. Yet no matter how much or how little the shape of our external life can be rearranged, the internal shift is the most important. The same events and situations that cause you stress can be emotionally detached from in a healthy way. Detaching doesn’t mean you no longer care, or that you are just going through the motions. It means that you don’t allow the external world to trigger you. When stepping back from negative emotions becomes a new habit, you begin to clearly see that you have a choice in how stress affects you.
Derek O’Neill, fondly referred to as the Celtic Sage, inspires and uplifts people from all walks of life, offering guidance to influential world leaders, businesses, celebrities, athletes and everyday people alike. Distilled from his life work in psychotherapy, a martial arts career and study with wise yogis and Indian and Tibetan masters, Derek translates ancient wisdom into modern day teachings to address the biggest challenges facing humanity today. For additional insights listen to his free radio archives or order his books on Mindfulness, Anxiety, Stress and Depression.