If you follow me, you know I can get on a soapbox about the importance of reducing stress. It’s vital to keeping copper in balance. So some of the things I do regularly are meditation and downtime. I may watch a romantic movie or comedy and be present without using my mind. Stress creeps in when I multi-task or overthink. I find it useful to get out of my mind on occasion. Also, spending too much time in our heads can create non-existent scenarios. My mantra when this happens is: “Thoughts are not reality.” In a future post, I’ll share how through soul connecting methods, I learned to listen to my heart, which is a much better guide than the mind.
How I relax
Some of the other methods of relaxation I use are reading. As a self-help book junkie, my latest pleasure has been all things to raise spiritual awareness. Sometimes, to aid relaxation, I read while soaking in a warm salt bath. I also find sharing life experiences and laughing with a friend helps. I even find calmness in a simple shampoo and hair cut appointment.
Recently, I’ve seen others preach about the importance of limiting the intake of local and national news to reduce stress, and I agree. To protect my health, I approach keeping abreast of what is going on with a quick scroll through the headlines (not at bedtime) to minimize the media’s attack on my well-being. I know all too well, how not taking care of my emotional health can lead to physical health issues. I’m aware that sensationalism has always been the method of operation to get attention. Still, the current state of affairs bombards us with constant negativity that can lead anyone into a dark hole, feeling that life is hopeless.
We are in this together
Everyone is struggling with lifestyle changes and some more than others for various personal reasons. In my naive mind, because everyone is dealing with something, I believe it should make us all feel a little more compassionate and friendlier. Nope! What I’ve been noticing is quite the opposite.
During a recent shopping trip, I witnessed people impatiently honking horns and tossing arms in the air. This time of year, road construction is everywhere. I know it’s an inconvenience, but I’m thankful to see the work and jobs available. In stores, I saw people frustratingly spouting out displeasure at store clerks for not having their item in stock. The lack of tolerance for the new norm has caused people to lose sight that store clerks have no control over shipment delays. It is the perfect time to take a step back and find gratitude for little things. The fact that the store is still open with so many closing is something to embrace. The fact that you are healthy and out in a store is a beautiful thing.
On my shopping day, I also noticed carelessness for the cleanliness of our communities. Everywhere I drove, I saw disposable masks, gloves, and garbage littered on streets and sidewalks. I understand that the anger, rudeness, and impatience are coming from an inability to know how to deal with change. However, those behaviors and non-caring about the cosmetics of where we live are prolonging the pain.
After that day, the thought of becoming a hermit crossed my mind. Although it is a comforting thought to ignore and just take care of myself, it is not who I am. I think most people do care and want a better life for all. The first step is to know we have more control than we realize. It’s all about how we respond to situations. It is easier to place judgment on outside circumstances and react. All the more reason that the second step should be to take time to destress so we can respond rather than react. When I feel in balance, it is easier to be more patient and understanding and not cause additional stress on my mind or body. As I become more balanced and healed, I am more equipped to help others.
Change starts small
Helping others start a healing process begins with finding a positive way to touch their life. So many are hurting that even a small kind gesture can offer hope. I started with a little initiative of painting rocks in the evening for relaxation with the intent to spread joy. It was a very calming activity that benefited me as I generated a flow of creativity. I didn’t know if painted rocks would help angry people, but I felt, “It can’t hurt.”
I dropped one at each of my neighbors with a note that said, “A little something made especially for you to grace your garden or home. Spreading love, happiness, peace, joy, kindness, hope, and a smile through the neighborhood. Be well, stay safe, and be strong — A neighborhood friend.” It was a place to start, not because I’ve seen my neighbors display anger.
A simple act of unconditional kindness is the most profound
My goal was to deliver the rocks anonymously. Then I got caught by a neighbor I’ve never met. So I handed it to her. Her response warmed my heart. She told me her little dog just passed the day before, and she was feeling sad, and my kind gesture is something she would cherish because it uplifted her mood. What a gift she gave me in return with her appreciation. I also made one for my mailman and handed it to him because I wanted to thank him for his dedication to work during the pandemic. When I thanked him for all that he does, he gave me a side smile and said, “Thanks, I like it.”
A friend told me that I started a ripple of love in my neighborhood. I like to think that showing someone cares may have put a smile on the receivers face. I mostly hope that it may lead to others thinking about how they, too, can pass kindness forward even if it is only being patient with others on the road or being nice to a store clerk.
No one is escaping change
There is a famous Gandhi quote, “We must be the change we want to see in the world.” Coming full circle, reducing stress helps us be better and do better even if it is only offering a small kind gesture, a kind word, or being patient.