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Seven steps to tone down when life turns up

By Orion Jeter

Executive Director

In these times of what sometimes seems like unrelenting stress and stressors, our sanity and overall wellness requires us to pause and plan to put things into their proper perspective. Some stress is good. Stress can be a motivator to get things done. However, chronic, uncontrolled stress is unproductive, dangerous, even deadly. So how do you tone down when life turns up? Here are seven steps to consider following: 1. Since most stressors in our everyday life are not immediate, life-threatening situations, we must take a pause and remind ourselves that we are safe and secure in the current moment, so our body and mind can realize that it can calm down and stop the fight or flight reaction and return to your baseline, non-alarm state. Tell yourself: You are alright. You’re fine. You’re safe. You’re going to be okay. Focus on the details of something non-threatening in your surroundings. Put on your favorite calming music. Go for a peaceful walk. Take a bike ride. Go out in nature. Read or recall positive affirmations. Do some journaling. Draw or paint. Create music or some other form of art. Do whatever takes you to your peaceful place the most effectively. What will you do? 2. Take a few deep breaths. Breathe in. Then, breathe out. 3. Now identify the challenge/problem in its true, reasonable light. What specifically has stressed you? What made your body’s alarm sound off? Focus your attention on that challenge and don’t let your thoughts wander off into other things to cause panic. Just focus on the true challenge before you and why it specifically has caused you to feel stress. 4. What’s your challenge/problem? Why has it caused you to feel this stress? Decide what you are going to do about it. Devise a logical plan to meet the challenge or solve the problem. What’s your plan of action to meet your challenge/solve your problem? 5. Be realistic and don’t be too hard on yourself. Cancel any unreasonable expectations and realize your limitations. You may not get done everything you had planned for the day or by the time you thought you would have it done. Life happens, things happen. Remind yourself that you have overcome challenges and solved plenty problems before and that everything is temporary and will pass. You can do it and you will. What challenges have you overcome and what problems have you solved in the past that make you proud and feel resilient? 6. Act. Take action and execute your plan of action to meet your challenge or solve your problem. Realize that any challenge is going to require its certain length of time to get it done and get it done right. 7. Revise your plan of action or individual steps in the plan as necessary. Do you need to revise any part of your plan? If so, what part(s)? “A calm mind leads to clear eyes. Clear eyes are a reliable guide through the journey of life.” – Orion Jeter


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