I just got home from a tennis lesson and my 25 yr old instructor told me that two days ago he had a panic attack and ended up in the ER. Thankfully, he seems to be on the road to recovery, but it got me thinking, where along the way do we grow up and loose that childhood ability to let go of stress and let things roll off our back? Here are 6 strategies to use when it seems like the going is getting too tough.
1. Turn up the Music.
Music has a way of speaking directly to the heart while bypassing the mind, and having that connection to the soul is vital when things start to stress us out. Music resonates with us at a very deep level. My 3 yr old will stop whatever he is doing and immediately start a dance party whenever he hears music. Music calms his mind and brings him joy. As adults, make time to reconnect to the music you love whenever you can.
2. Take a short Nap.
The effects of napping on cognitive function are profound. Sleep experts have found that daytime naps can improve many things: increase alertness, boost creativity, reduce stress, improve perception, stamina, motor skills and accuracy, enhance your sex life, aid in weight loss, reduce the risk of heart attack, brighten your mood and boost memory. If you’re feeling really stressed out try and fit in a short nap as many days of the week as you can.
3. Interact with Nature.
There is something very grounding about being in touch with nature. My kids want to be outside any opportunity they get and it doesn’t matter if it’s raining, or snowing, or 25 degrees out. They are always ready to play in the yard, climb a tree, or go for a walk. As adults, we get so busy that we forget to make this vital connection with nature. So, next time you pull into the garage instead of going inside take a 5 minute walk around the block (and leave your cell phone in the car).
4. Spend Time with Those Who Inspire You, and Make You laugh.
You are a combination of the five people you hang around with most. It may sound like a cliché, but it’s true. Spend time with people who support you and believe in you, who inspire you and help guide you, who make you laugh and help lighten your soul, and the rest tends to magically work itself out.
5. Practice a Little Yoga.
I started practicing yoga and my life changed dramatically. Children practice yoga naturally. Babies move from upward dog, to downward dog, to childs pose and back again all day long. When I’m in a seated twist I feel like I am literally diking the air that is filling my lungs and it instantly makes my brain feel alive. You don’t have to practice hard, or practice long, a few minutes of yoga whenever you find the time is all that you need to bring your mental state back to calmness and your body back to life.
6. Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously.
Trying new things and mastering new skills isn’t always easy. You’re likely to take some knocks and may even get a few emotional bruises along the way, but through it all you have to be able to laugh at yourself. Life is about constant change and being wound too tight isn’t good for you or the people around you. It stops the flow of inspiration and creativity in its tracks. In order to enjoy life you have to be fully open, whether that is to successes or failures on the path.