We’re entering the hottest time of the year. The physical heat can accentuate the emotional heat we’re feeling. That is commonly known. The murder rate always explodes in the summer months. What can we meaningfully do to help ourselves?

For one, we can become conscious of the thoughts we’re thinking about ourselves and others. The importance of this one process cannot be stressed enough. Our whole worldview turns on what we think of ourselves and others. Do we see ourselves as friend or enemy? How we answer that determines how we see others. How we see ourselves determines whether we live from a pinched-up, hair-trigger over-responsiveness or a much more welcoming and engaging peacefulness. The difference in the physiological impact on our body is enormous. We literally create heart "dis-ease" by what we think. Likewise, we also create heart health by what we think. Imagine that pattern over a lifetime.

What else can we do to de-stress? First on my list is maintaining a conscious realization of my oneness with the divine within me and all around me. I believe we are all spiritual beings having a human experience. We are creations of the divine. We are the divine in expression. I see the divine as the animating principle of the universe…the spirit of love in expression.

Innately good

I see prayer as my alignment with this principle. I understand this principle to be innately good. Therefore, I am innately good. We are all innately good. This principle is divine love in action. By aligning with this principle, I align myself with the expression of infinite goodness in the world. I realize that fear is simply my disconnect from this constantly present principle of goodness. I can reconnect with this goodness at any moment through my conscious realization of its everpresence. All of these realizations help me live from a confident, centered peacefulness.

I believe the animating principle of the universe is an inherent love, wisdom and order. This animating principle is spiritual law in action. Spiritual laws work the same way for everyone, every time! This is important. There’s no capriciousness. No judgment. No difference from one person to the next. These spiritual laws express what God is to me. I see God as the changeless, animating principle of life and love within everyone and everything. God is Love. As a creation of the divine, which is love, I understand that I am precious. I am powerful. I understand we are all precious. We are all powerful.

What does this have to do with stress relief? Living from this perspective promotes peace and love. It allows us to handle every experience with grace, confidence, love and peace. I share these values wherever I go, because they bring me great peace. If others have different values, I allow them space to live their values. An integral factor in living a de-stressed life is to allow space for difference. Allow space for the six billion different worldviews represented by the six billion people presently living on planet Earth.

On my list for living a de-stressed life is simply to slow down. Consciously spend time realizing how precious we are. Consciously spend time realizing how precious being alive truly is. We’re not meant to be rats on a treadmill running frantically through life. That’s not life. That’s not a conscious experience of our true purpose. Our true purpose is being love in action!

On my list of living a de-stressed, peace-filled life is developing a conscious relationship with my body. I realize I can heal and energize my body through meditation and exercise. I eat organically grown food. I get enough sleep. During sleep, our body’s cells repair themselves. We are a nation of massively sleep-deprived people!

A conscious relationship

Also on my list of living a de-stressed life is maintaining a conscious relationship with joy. There are so many simple joys in life that are so profoundly transformative. I enjoy seeing sunrises and sunsets. I’ve never seen one that wasn’t awesomely beautiful. Take a walk in a beautiful park. Be creative. Add some beauty to our life, our home, our surroundings. Go to a museum. Appreciate the beauty of all the cultures of the world. Go somewhere we’ve never been before. Help someone. Schedule short breaks each hour to consciously breathe and relax. Remember happy moments. Create beautiful memories by being joyful in each moment! Slow down. Smell the flowers! Celebrate life. Celebrate ourselves. Being happy releases endorphins into our system. Endorphins are the natural "feel good" hormones. Exercise and meditation promote the release of endorphins, too. Go swimming. Being in the water is very relaxing and healing. Some scientists say water is 98 percent of who we are! Drinking enough water hydrates our cells and helps us feel less tired and less stressed.

Spend time with friends. If you don’t have any friends, realize you need to make some changes in your life. Research undeniably shows the positive impact of having a large social network of friends. If you recognize you always have a negative attitude, know you can change it. Know that you deserve the best in life. Take some free self-help classes to learn how to change your attitude. Pay attention when you hear yourself saying you don’t want to change your life! Get professional help if you need it. Mental health centers exist in every major city, offering therapy on a sliding-scale basis. Empower yourself to make a difference in your world. You don’t have to live in misery! You weren’t born for that. You were born to be a powerful, loving blessing. That’s our true nature, our true purpose. The world needs us to be the best we can be.

Remember that the body-mind continuum is a connected feedback loop. What we think impacts how we feel. How we feel impacts what and how we think. It can become a vicious downward spiral if we’re not conscious of what we’re doing to ourselves and others.

Becoming conscious changes all that immediately! We can create a new life. We can create a life full of love, joy and peace. We can create a relationship with generosity. We are the very expression of generosity. There is no more generous quality than divine love in expression. We are the change we wish to see in our world. We can invoke the change in any moment.

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Cathy Combs is a freelance writer and workshop architect specializing in personal empowerment and spiritual community leadership development. She lives in Kansas City, MO.

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