Seven Ways to Transform Your Relationship to Stress and Anxiety
Copyright 2006 Tom Russell
Stress is amazingly persistent, even seductive. We get used to feeling tight and tense. Though positive thinking has its place, unless it’s backed up by practical wisdom, it tends to get overwhelmed and fade away.
Here are seven proven tips for a whole new relationship with stress and anxiety:
1. Control your REACTION with these seven simple words.
The first step is to remain alert when people try to weigh you down with their nervous comments and attitudes.
The next step is to reply to the attempted attack: “I have nothing to say to that.” This cuts off the contagious effect of the stressful assault. It blocks the tendency to accept and imitate depressing words from others. Your nature does not fall down to the level of the anxious remark, but remains high above it.
Negative people WANT to get you involved with their defeat, and this is a major method they use to do it. Your reply (“I have nothing to say to that”) prevents them from drawing you in as their victim.
Inner life author Vernon Howard writes, “An attitude of defeat in another person cannot touch you unless you carelessly accept it as yours. And there is no need at all for you to accept it. A quiet refusal to enter the battlefield is the perfect reply.”
2. Let go of painful grudges by living in the present moment.
Hating someone is like drinking poison yourself and hoping the offender will die from it. We shut the door on our own development when we fail to grant others the same opportunity for change. Therefore, it is our responsibility to release to the providence of a higher power those who have caused harm, while simultaneously realizing they will be held accountable for their actions.
The secret to success without stress is to realize your newness in the present moment many times each day. NOW is so alive and energetic, so tangible and real, that painful grudges cannot “live” here. Grudges can only stay around when fueled by unaware and unproductive mental visits to the past.
3. Observe negative thoughts with the aim of understanding them instead of trying to suppress them.
Self-Observation is a master key to stress-free living. Instead of claiming stressful thoughts and feelings as our own, we can observe and understand them. This understanding sets us free!
Self-observation is practical spirituality at its best. Marcus Aurelius, the ancient Roman Emperor said, “Those who do not observe the movement of their own minds must of necessity be unhappy.”
4. Pause often and enjoy a deep breath.
People are often so tense with stressful thinking they barely breathe!
We can do something highly beneficial and intelligent. We can take brief breaks many times a day, even if for only 30 seconds! We can pause, take a deep breath, look around and relax.
Suppose you feel tempted to give in to someone when you know you should not. Instantly fall into internal relaxation. Breathe away your tensions. Your habitually anxious and resentful attitudes will fall away like leaves from a tree. They will be replaced by a clear mind that reveals what is best for you.
5. Realize you have far better things to think about!
The old way of thinking has its favorite grooves, like negative mental film clips that pull you away from the present moment. When you detect yourself involved in one of these internal movies, pause and say to yourself, “There are better things to think about.” This instantly snaps the spell and moves you to higher ground.
You’ll feel much less stress and an abundance of new vitality as you reclaim the energy once consumed by these negative mental film clips. Suddenly wake up and come home to yourself by enthusiastically declaring, “There are better things to think about!”
6. Stay clear of negative zones of influence.
Our society is rampant with negative influences. They come from so many places, like frantic people, advertising and untruthful politics. Never forget: Unaware people want you to vibrate on their stressful level. It is your duty, your noble mission in life, to live in harmony with your Heart – YOUR AUTHENTIC AND INTELLIGENT SELF. Though physically you may be in a stressful place, once you connect with your Heart, you have the spiritual power to stay free inwardly. No law says you must fall under stressful zones of influence.
7. Refuse to make stressful or angry comments.
Stress spills out into the world. It is like a snowball rolling down a hill that starts small then gathers size and momentum. Therefore, we must stop stress in its infancy, and the best place to do so is BEFORE it leaves the mouth.
Here’s a wonderful way to dissolve stress in your life:
This insight exercise is called SELF-SURPRISE. Here’s how it works. You are about to say something angry or hurtful to another person. The statement has left the dock – it is traveling at the speed of light toward the mouth. Your AWARENESS steps in and a higher choice is made; a switch is thrown and you do not say what you were about to say. You say something helpful and cheerful instead!
You’ll instantly feel the trueness of practicing this exercise. Anger or stress did not succeed in dictating your speech. Your power of choice lifted you above its arrows. This is not the practice of phony niceness. It is the __expression of true strength and authentic self-command. It can only occur when your awareness is active, like the presence of a lighted lodge in the dark forest.
The one supreme power that guarantees personal happiness is personal right thinking. This “right thinking” is based on practical wisdom. Try these seven methods, and you’ll see a huge difference in your life. You’ll have LOTS of energy!