Sure, I know, there’s work, and working out, and eating right, and the economy, and relationship struggles, and, and, and, … and then if you have kids, there’s even more. What a balancing act! Sometimes it’s a wonder we have any energy left for sex at all. To make sure it doesn’t get that way for you, learn to become better at managing your stress. Here are some tips:
1. Turn off your phone. The likelihood that there’s going to be an emergency in the next hour is miniscule. If you can’t hear it ringing, you’ll be less likely to get involved in something that this is not the right time for.
2. Cut down the amount of caffeine in your life. If you’re really brave, do away with it all together.
3. Relaxed breathing is full and deep. Stressed out breathing is short and shallow. Practice slowing your breathing and letting it fall all the way below your belly button, down to your genitals. There, doesn’t that feel good? If smokers get to take smoke breaks, the rest of us are due “breathing breaks.”
4. Use the Rule of Fifteen: Get up fifteen minutes earlier in the morning. The inevitable morning mishaps will be less irritating, and you’ll get a good start to your day. Allow fifteen minutes of extra time to get to appointments. You’ll feel in control and everyone else will be impressed with your efficiency.
5. Don’t try to rely on your memory. Get a planner and write everything down. This will help you get organized, always a good prevention method for fighting stress.
6. Eliminate destructive self-talk such as “I’m too fat…” or “I’m too old…” Either argue with these nonsensical thoughts or get help from a therapist to eradicate them from your life. No one ever improved from being criticized to death.
7. Allow time everyday for yourself, for privacy, quiet, and introspection. If the only time for this is in the car, take full advantage of it. Even if it’s only five minutes, if it’s full and present and in the moment, your life will be enriched.
8. Stretch periodically during the day. When you’re at your job, especially if you sit for long periods of time, get up and walk once an hour. Stretch out your neck, your shoulders, and feel how good it is to be in your body.
9. Talk it out. Discussing your situation with a trusted friend or with your lover can help clear your mind of confusion so you can concentrate on real problem solving.
10. Learn to live one day at a time. If you live fully in the present moment, you’ll find there’s very little that needs to be changed.
© 2014 Catherine Auman This article is an excerpt from Catherine’s book Shortcuts to Mindfulness: 100 Ways to Personal and Spiritual Growth