The best thing to do when you’re too busy is also the simplest and quickest: take a breath and return to your body. Maintaining your focus on your breath brings you back into the present moment, grounding you in reality.
Often we seek relief from our stress and anxiety through escapism: entertainment, distraction and aversion. However, these only address the symptoms and set us up for a harder fall next time. Dealing with stress and anxiety is a skill best practiced now. Here’s how:
Generating a healthy body is fast
One of the greatest benefits of returning to your body is that you feel results immediately. If you are low on energy from the processed snack bars you’ve been substituting for meals, make the next thing you eat a banana. What can you eat now that will nourish your body? If you don’t like bananas, find something else that you enjoy. A healthy body is created from the inside-out.
A rule I’ve used lately to choose foods good for me is: if it’s advertised on TV, I’m not eating it. As a result of industrialization, our supermarkets are abundant with edible substances but, sadly, not food. Many food manufacturers (of which is a suspicious label to begin with) highlight their content of nutrients. Although it’s obvious that we all need nutrients and some foods are more desirable than others, consider that many of these “nutrients” are derived artificially. If no two things in this world are different, then consider the difference between an apple with another apple and an apple with an apple product (not the computers). When you eat a real apple you get these “nutrients” and vitamins in a specific process. Your body breaks down the apple in a certain way because the apple’s chemical structure is designed in a way that releases at certain times within your digestive tract. When you eat an apple oatmeal bar, you only get an extracted (often miniscule) portion of apple and a lot of filler.
Of course not everything advertised on TV is bad for your health, but enough is for the rule to function. Be conscious and mindful with your food choices. If you can’t afford to buy organic produce, grow your own or buy the healthiest you can.
Get some sleep
Feeling tired after a long day at work? Catch up with a nap. Sleep is the master key to a healthy life. An adequate sleep allows you to live through each day with more alertness and higher awareness which leads to a better memory due to your higher level of attention. You will put yourself in an optimal position to delegate tasks with efficiency and depth leaving you satisfied and energized.
Would you be more productive if you got the extra 15 minutes of sleep or not? Learn how your body reacts to different amounts of sleep and go with what works for you. Wake up when you’re alert and go to bed when you’re tired.
Write a Journal
If you are feeling emotionally drained or taxed from the demands of day-to-day correspondence, make writing in your journal one of the first things on your list to do when you get home. Feel free to give yourself a limit if you’re strapped for time, also. Set a timer for 20 minutes if that’s all you have. Often all I need is less than 15 minutes anyway. Spew out the messy details of the day if you have to. Like with an essay, the first step – drafting – is meant for mistakes and confused communication anyway – that’s how you know you’re thinking! Once it is outside of you then can you focus on sections for clarity.
Make a private blog on WordPress or Blogspot. Just because your blog is online does not mean it has to be public. From my experience, I can type a lot faster than I can handwrite – which is paramount for keeping track of fast, streaming thoughts.
Also, sometimes feelings and thoughts take time to clarify. Have you lost a job or experienced a break-up and felt many conflicting feelings at once? Feelings come and go, and thoughts are forgotten. It’s good to have somewhere to keep track of them. Personally I use The Journal. It lets me search up old entries and keywords and is password-locked so I know I can be totally private. It’s a huge relief to know you can be private with the most important person in the world: yourself!
To help you must first be in a position to help. This means that if someone is in a burning building and cannot walk out, you must have the ability to go in there and get them out – otherwise you risk unnecessary danger to yourself. Sometimes life feels like a burning building. That is okay. First you must get into a position of helping yourself (by realizing you are in a burning building), then find a way out. Then you can use the way you got out to help others get out.
Need answers? Look within you.