Thoughts lead feelings, feelings lead thoughts
We all tell ourselves a story about ourselves and the world around us. The most terrifying, monstrous things that appear in our future never come to pass or are much more easily handled when they arrive than they seemed at a distance. What is certain is that worrying about things never made them any better or easier. The primitive part of your mind will try to tell you that worrying helps because it is developed for a world where dangers were immediate and life threatening. Today’s world poses potential threats that appear on the distance horizon, giving you plenty of time to work yourself into a dire panic before they even come into clear focus. After something is past, it immediately seems much less a thing than when we first spied it. Try to remember this when next something scary appears on the horizon: things approaching from the future are often less scary than they appear.
Click Read more below for our top tips on countering stress and getting more out of life.
The trick then is to let your thoughts go once a day and let your mind very gently come to a near halt then let it realise how much better life seems. Breathe gently, sink into your senses of what you are touching, tasting, feeling right now. Visualise something that makes you happy and serene. The methods of mindfulness are many but they all seek the same end: to be here in the present moment and not spirited away to a place of endless worrying possibilities, none of which are real outside your mind. As soon as you let go of the worrying thoughts, you will start to feel better.
Stop worrying and start working
Tackle problems head on. Procrastination and avoiding conflict when things are wrong only leads to anxiety and resentment. Starting something makes it feel much more achievable. Asking politely and assertively for something to be done makes life more achievable.
Your mind and body operate as one
A relaxed mind needs a relaxed body. Drink plenty of water – we supply it for free on both ground and second floors of the Library, eat well, and stretch gently each morning and evening. As you do so, breathe deeply to release tension (this is a recurrent theme – breathing is a healthy habit possessed of all those who continue to live).
If you want some tips on stretching, including where to start if you have forgotten the basics, ask one of our friends at Spinnaker Sports Centre across the road from the Library or in St Paul’s Gym for advice. We also have some books on stretching and flexibility here online and in Area 1A shelved at 612.76.
Smile, even if you feel miserable. Keep smiling. Make believe that you feel contented, happy even. For some reason this will eventually actually make you feel better.
Stress less with Library relaxation sessions
Learn to stress less and find your inner calm wherever you are with stress less mindful meditation sessions run by Stephanie Slack from Sports & Recreation on Thursdays during term-time in Library Seminar Room 2. Full details are available on the Library website. If you cannot come in and learn to stress less with us in person, Steph also offers podcasts and downloadable mindful meditations for you to enjoy where you live or while you are on the go; check out her blog, Grounded in Stillness.
Photo by Karol Franks