A Stress Management Activity That Helped Me in Dealing With Emotional Stress

A few days ago, I really needed a stress management activity.

I was thinking of bad things that were going to happen, all the time!

Feeling frustrated

I was going to meet some people I didn’t want to meet but was “obligated to”, in the weeks to come. Would I “have to” meet them?

I had not worked on the website since such a long time….Would I ever achieve my dream of quitting my job and only writing here?

Mr X had just requested me to do a favour for him – he wanted me to write an article I wasn’t interested in, that would help with his job. I had to find time for that too!

And to top it all – my boss had announced that instead of an expected raise in the coming months, there was actually the possibility of a pay cut!

My head was buzzing with the ‘stress’. Yes I know all the problems above are not that serious but then I was muddled. If you saw my face at any time of the day, it would be dull, boring and a little sad. I wanted to just RELAX and forget about all this!

The Saviour

During all this irritation and confusion, I suddenly discovered a fascinating stress management activity mentioned in the book – The Power of Now.

And that stress management activity actually helped me eliminate most of my stress in minutes!

The weird but interesting stress management activity that suddenly turned my life from “muddled” “stressed out” and “wanting to get out” to “quite cheerful” was:

Getting back to the NOW.

What does that mean? And how did that help?

Be here now - be present

Simple. In the moment that I was too stressed out with work and expectations – I did something very ordinary: I focused my attention on the Now. I looked around and observed the colour of the walls. I saw the interesting designs on my clothes. I heard the sound of the fan that I had never noticed! I tried to notice the colours of the clothes people around me were wearing. I tried to FEEL my bum touching the chair and my elbows resting on the handles of the chair….I sort of came back from my stressful world to “here and now.” And suddenly – I felt calmer, and so much more relaxed!

Of course the causes of my stress were still there and I did remember them again. But focusing on the Now gave me a very nice insight: everything was absolutely fine right NOW. Whatever problems I was expecting were in the future. The meeting I was obliged to attend was in the future. My salary would change in the future. Mr X wanted me to write something related to his area of interest later. I would eventually deal with all those issues. In this moment, however- there was really NOTHING worrying me. All was well right now. 🙂

After doing this “coming back to now” activity once, I started practicing it again and again and every time I did it, I felt a pleasant, beautiful feeling sweep through me.

Yesterday morning for example, when I woke up – I thought “I have to do this, this and this for my website. I am lagging behind at work and might not be able to finish my presentation on time. I have to reply to that tricky email.” And my face was tense. But then I suddenly realized that I was dwelling too much in the future. I came back to the now – and saw how amazing my room was looking in the morning sunlight! The bed sheet with orange and yellow suns painted on it was fabulous! And the way the morning shadows were dancing on the wall was fascinating. 🙂 I felt relaxed.

Yes – I did eventually reply to that email or do what I had planned for the day. But with much lesser stress.

What Eckhart Tolle Says About the ‘Now’

There are these relevant lines in the book – the Power of Now that say:

“Narrow your life down to this moment. Your life situation may be full of problems – most life situations are – but find out if you have a problem in this moment. Not tomorrow or in ten minutes, but now. Do you have a problem now?”

These lines really affected me – and let’s admit it: aren’t they true? Aren’t we generally thinking about problems that “may happen” and forgetting this moment?

No wonder I was successful in dealing with emotional stress in a much better way after I read portions of the book. 🙂

The Magic of ‘Now’

So that’s the magic mantra I’ve been learning in the past few days – “be right here and Now.”

Of course – what I’ve written makes it seem like I am some God who is always blissful and happy in the present moment! Far from it. 🙂 There are still so many moments when I am completely stressed out and lost in ‘future thoughts’ despite knowing all this. But yes – I can vouch for the fact that coming back to the now – being here – smelling a flower, touching a leaf, noticing the greenery around- actually helped me feel so much better in the last few days.

So why not try this stress management activity the next time you feel stressed out? The future will anyway come – but why not just be here and now and smell the air, feel the breeze on your face or the touch of your fingers on the bed sheet? Or see the fascinating colours of different objects in your room? 🙂 I am sure you’ll immediately feel lighter.

Have an “easy” day!