To your health and happiness!
Stress. Anxiety. There is so much of it happening for so many today. How do we manage?
One of the most important things is to realize how much freedom to choose we really have. We can choose what we "tune in" to, what we actually see and hear and are conscious of.
I sat out on our front steps as the sun was coming up. My mind was busy. There was so much going on in life...so much to do. But I had choice. I had freedom. I heard traffic in the distance, a loud lawn mower somewhere on the other side of the houses across the street, someone banging on something periodically a few houses down. I saw a car drive past, swirls of pollen skitting across along the road. What did I want to tune into? What did I want to see? To hear? To be conscious of? As I started my day and set the tone?
What are my options? I listened. Not too far away one bird was singing a repeating song: tweeet..tweeet...chirp-chirp-chirp. Another of the same kind would answer from a distance. Bouts of short, crisp chirps from high above as rounds of swallows would drift across my spot. Crow caws in the distance would punctuate the soundscape, first from one direction and then another. I found myself relaxed, smiling.
What did I see? Let's look. Beautiful blue sky. Sunshine filtering through the trees, casting my shadow onto the wall along the steps. There were buds about to burst on some kind of bulb-based plant. I guessed they were going to be blue, but looked forward to seeing them bloom in coming days.
I was in charge of my "tuner". I could "tune in" to what I chose to. I was seeing and hearing things that refreshed me, anchored me, built my resilience. Things that I was oblivious to moments before. It felt good to be in control at such a deep and fundamental level.
The science shows that our sense of control or lack thereof is a big part of our stress experience. Time enjoying and connecting with nature is serious "recharge".
How can we manage stress, especially in difficult times?