While explaining stress management to an audience, the lecturer raised a glass of water and asked ‘How heavy is this glass of water?’ Answers called out ranged from 20g to 500g.
The lecturer replied, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long you try to hold it. If I hold it for a minute, that’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it for a day, you’ll have to call an ambulance. In each case, it’s the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.”
He continued, “And that’s the way it is with stress management. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won’t be able to carry on.”
“As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When we’re refreshed, we can carry on with the burden.”
“So, before you return home tonight, put the burden of work down. Don’t carry it home. You can pick it up tomorrow. Whatever burdens you’re carrying now, let them down for a moment if you can.”
Here are 5 simple ways to increase your peace of mind:
1. Do your most daunting task first thing in the morning
It’s tempting to start your day with easy tasks. Don’t. Pushing a daunting task back is like holding a glass of water in an outstretched arm. At first nothing happens, but if you do it for hours or even days, you will soon feel the stress. Do the most annoying task first thing in the morning, and enjoy increased productivity and peace of mind for the rest of the day.
2. Let go of things you don’t control
You make plans to go outside with friends. But at the last minute, it starts raining. What’s your reaction?
Some people upset and angry, and find the nearest person and start complaining to them. “It’s not FAIR that it’s raining. This _always_ happens to me!…”
That’s not going to accomplish anything – the rain won’t stop just because you throw a tantrum. *The rain doesn’t care.* So make the best of the situation. What I do in such situation is go for a quick walk in the park (because rain has its own awesomeness), or just lie in bed reading a good Terry Pratchett book, listening to the rain beating on my window.
Make the most of what you do control, and don’t worry about what you don’t.
3. Don’t worry about what others are thinking
I used to be very self-conscious about my dancing. I would rarely go out with my friends, and even if I did, I wouldn’t dance, instead just standing awkwardly by the side, because I was worried of what others would think.
Then, one day in high school, I decided that enough was enough. So the next time I went out with my friends, I just went to the dance floor, and danced like nobody was watching. And the funny thing was – nobody cared. In fact, people only liked me MORE, because I was having fun.
Don’t worry about what others are thinking of you – most likely they’re too busy wondering what others are thinking of them.
4. List 3 things you love about your situation right now
I first shared this technique with the Positivity Blog readers in my post The Plague of Happiness Ever After (it’s got a dragon and everything in it, read it!)
Just list 3 simple things about any part of your life that you love. Like “3 simple things I love about the room I’m in right now”, or “3 simple things I love about this week”, or anything else.
This is a great technique if you’re ever bored while stuck in traffic, or waiting in the grocery store checkout lane. You can immediately transform boredom into happiness and peace of mind!
5. Walk to a window, look outside, and take a single deep breath
I got this technique from the Zen master Mary Jaksch. Just walk to a window, look outside, and then take a single deep breath, focusing only on that breath and nothing else in the whole world. This technique sounds extremely simple, but you won’t believe how much it can instantaneously increase your peace of mind.
And because this is the last tip, you can try it immediately when you finish reading this blog post. Just walk to a window, look outside, and take a single deep breath, focusing on the air going in and out of your lungs, and nothing else.
Check out Vlad’s blog to get even more happiness in the now! It’s got psychology, personal growth, and a crapton of attitude!