It’s Monday morning again…. I bet the following is all too familiar….
You forgot to set the alarm clock and you over slept, you wake up in a panic. You’re running late, the kids are more annoying than usual and you cannot locate your car keys, so frustrating. Once you’re finally on your way you get stuck in traffic and realise you left your mobile phone at home, you’re becoming angry. You finally arrive at your office and realise someone has taken your reserved parking spot, you’re annoyed. Once you’re finally settled in your office you are told that you have 3 urgent messages from a client and an email marked as ‘urgent’ from the tax office, now you’re becoming anxious. By now you’re late for a board meeting and when you finally arrive at the boardroom the only vacant chair is next to the annoying CFO who you cannot stand, now you’re irritated.
And it’s barely 9:30 in the morning and we’ve already gone through panic, prostration, anger, annoyance, anxiety and irritation. Not much left to look forward to, is there?
Even though many of us brave or ignore these ‘little stresses’ and how they emotionally affect us thinking c'est la vie, our bodies don’t necessarily follow suit: adrenaline soars, cortisol (the stress hormone) is overflowing, heart is racing, muscles tense up and we might start to perspire. With time, our bodies adapt and this becomes our new baseline and eventually our body forgets how to rest and reset. It’s the reason why we don’t sleep as well as we used to, we’re on edge more often than not and when we finally get that week-long vacation in sun, we require three days just to readjust.
But there will always be traffic, urgent messages and staff meetings and everything else that gets up our nose. But we can change how we respond to these every day nuisances and in the process, reduce wear and tear on our bodies that slows us down and shortens our lives.
Most importantly, don’t ignore how you feel throughout the day. Connect with your emotions. Every time that you feel angry, irritated, anxious or any other negative emotion, bring your system back to balance, quickly, controlled, just by remembering to stop and breathe deeply several times. Center yourself, focus on what is important to you. Touch your feelings.
It is also important to set aside a 10-15 minutes, two or three times a week, to recharge your batteries by meditation. Over time you can retrain your system how to rest. Just like stress accumulates in our bodies, so does emotional resilience. If you keep your resilience levels charged your baseline will be reset , and you will find out that the little stuff doesn’t bother you as much as it used to. Keep it up and you’ll have more energy to handle the big things when they come along.