In a chaotic world where there never seems to be enough time to accomplish all that we feel needs to be done, what are some new behaviors that can help us meet our goals with clarity and reduced stress? Here are five important guidelines for experiencing presence instead of pressure.
1. Remember to breathe. Slow your breathing down just a little and imagine that your whole body is breathing. Picture every cell of your body in contact with the source of life, and each cell communicating in harmony with all the other cells. Do this for 5 to 10 breaths every half hour or whenever you feel like you have become anxious or hurried.
2. Remember to be grateful. Our minds can fill us with scary thoughts and images, but if this were your last moments of life, would you want those fears to dominate you? Wouldn’t it be time to say “Thank you?” Even when you are the most upset there is always something to be grateful for. Start with what your eyes can see, and thank all the images and colors. Thank the sounds; even the intrusive noises become less annoying when you say, “Thank you.” Thank all your sensations even if you aren’t feeling well. Being grateful and giving thanks can turn every “NO” into “YES!”
3. Remember to smile. Don’t hoard your smiles and save them for special people. Smile at the check-out clerks and sales assistants. Smile when you hear an angry horn blast in traffic. Smile when you catch your own thoughts being critical of yourself. Let the smile well-up from deep inside and connect you to a great cosmic laugh, like a big, laughing Buddha. Smile at any part of you that wants to tell you that there is no reason to be smiling.
4. The past has many rich memories, but only the present moment is where we are alive. So, pull your mind back to the present, to your breath, to what you can see and hear and give thanks for all of it. If you find yourself dwelling on a memory, especially one that brings sadness, thank the memory and ask it to step back and let you taste the newness of the present moment.
5. Don’t be on your way to your life, hurrying to the next appointment, rushing to check off all the items on your “to do” list. Pause and be in your body, right in the center of your life. You never have as much energy when your mind is running ahead of your body.