10 September 2013

How to Cope In Unexpectedly Stressful Situations

Have you been surprised to feel that you are completely stressed out when you are supposed to be having fun? Sometimes we lose ourselves even though we think we are having a great time.

I've been traveling in the past 4 months. Yes, that's quite a vacation, and fabulous at that. Apart from meeting lots of friends and relatives and going to places I haven't been for ages, breathing in the air of distant countries and touching the trees and the sand of my childhood I have been doing a lot of thinking.

Actually I thought so much that I got lost and could barely write a post on the Kanelstrand blog. My mind was swamped with so many brilliant ideas, I felt so inspired by all the new attitudes to life I witnessed and yet I couldn't type a decent post. To be more precise, I couldn't come up with a single sentence.

Illustration: Khalid Albaih

Until I saw that book.

Throughout my life I've always resorted to books in times of stress. You see, I grew up on books and it is understandable to look for their soothing comfort when I feel under pressure. But it's not for floating off to a distant land. What I do is open the book arbitrarily and read. It is a quick and simple fixture to a bad mood, or when I feel lost.

I always find the advice I need for that moment.

What are your first thoughts when you open up your eyes to greet the morning?, Dr. Diana Joy Ostroff was asking me from the pages of her book, The Wisdom of Well-Being: Your Health is in Your Hands.

I didn't really want to answer this question because I had already guiltily admitted to myself that although I was having the time of my life and I was trying to live in the moment and to be grateful I wasn't doing it wholeheartedly. I was letting fear of the unknown future capture my heart and subsequently block my happiness.

I kept on reading, Are you grateful for the opportunity to spend another joyful day contributing your best self to the world? Yes, I am grateful but I don't always have the time to think about that.

Starting your day slowly in quiet thought, gratitude and with love in your heart, not for any one in particular, just for your life, might be a gentler way of being that just springing out of bed... [B]efore you take on the business of the day's tasks, reflect on your "being". Think about how you want to "be" rather than what you need to do. When you come from a place of Being, everything you do is a reflection of who you are.

My being at the moment was miserable despite of the fact that I was spending the happiest summer of my life. What a waste!

But those sentences reminded me that there was a way to find my center and to get myself out of stress.

Happiness is my own responsibility and I have to nurture it consciously. What it takes is a slow start of the day and gratitude.

How do you cope in unexpectedly stressful situations?

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