Do you ever wonder why when most of us no longer have to worry on a daily basis about where we’re going to find shelter for the night, whether we’ll die of hypothermia, succumb to disease, be clubbed over the head by marauding tribesmen, or become dinosaur droppings—our stress levels are soaring? As relatively recently as the 1900’s, there was a very real chance you or a member of your family would die prematurely from pneumonia or tuberculosis for that matter.
Now its stress related ill health we worry about. Anyone spot the irony?
As life has become safer and more comfortable our stress levels are increasing. And the thing is it’s not that we don’t know what causes stress. It’s not that we don’t have explanations, interventions and solutions to most things these days. We have a multitude of them. And that’s the problem.
We are overwhelmed by too much choice! It paralyzes us into inaction and indecision. We pick things up, try them once and discard them for the latest technique. How soon will I see results? What’s the best solution? What’s the most popular strategy; what’s trending? Which one of these stress fixes should I adopt? How often do I have to do it?
It’s impossible to cover all the bases simultaneously, so we change mental channels like a crack addict with a TV remote—searching for The Ultimate Stress Solution.
Inevitably we discover that there isn’t ONE—but countless methods to choose from, and one size doesn’t fit all. Sometimes we get overwhelmed and give up, or get bogged down researching, and don’t actually implement them. Well, certainly not consistently.
The thing is we’re so easily captivated by the latest bright shiny object, that we dismiss anything that seems too old, simple or repetitive – even when it’s proven over and over again that it works!
Sure, when you’re already under pressure, relying on complex, time consuming practices or having to consciously think about what to do is not an appealing option.
But do you take a vitamin supplement once in a while when you remember or only when you’re taking strain, and expect it to work? Do you put brushing your teeth, shaving or taking a shower on your To Do list each day?
Of course not!
Because through repetition they’ve become such automatic rituals that you don’t have to think about them. You just do them at the same time every day on autopilot. And you have evidence of the positive cumulative effects of doing this.
And ‘mental vitamins’ are no different. That’s why rituals are so important. What stress immunizing rituals do you have in place to maximize your ability to handle the daily pressures of an increasingly demanding, uncertain world?
Since there is such a mind-boggling choice of stress-less living solutions why not adopt what works for you (which is not necessarily what works for someone else) and customize them to fit into your life? Then repeat, repeat, repeat, until these practices have become automatic, so you can’t forget, or put them on the back burner, or slip back into unproductive default habits when the pressure’s on.
This is why rituals work.
Here are just a few state enhancing, stress immunizing practices that don’t have to be time consuming that you can choose from:
1. deep breathing and relaxation
3. self hypnosis
4. inspirational audios/videos
5. motivational audios/videos
7. customized self care rituals
8. self celebration
9. repeating mantras and affirmations
If your rituals set the stage for a stress free, successful day, full of insights, co-operation, opportunity and synchronicity—that is how it will unfold.
And if your evening rituals allow you to unwind, unplug from sensory stimuli, review and endorse yourself for all you achieved and got right, you will sleep well and wake up refreshed and ready to make the most of a new day.
The more you integrate these rituals into your daily life, the more you will find that stressful situations, concerns and people are more like Teflon than Velcro.
They’ve become non-stick, so they no longer have the power to throw you off balance.
The most effective stress solutions are often brief and simple. It’s repeating them until they become an automatic ritual that changes the quality of your day. Does this appeal to you? Then I can help you achieve it.