How to Recover from Stressful Situations: Take 10 for Movement and Meditation

Green Means Go!

Have you ever found yourself sitting at a traffic light, 2nd in line, and when the light turns green, the jerk in front of you just sits there? On his phone, no doubt. Keep your head out of your apps, buddy! you think. Then, the light turns yellow, and this bozo is still just sitting there. You honk. Nothing. The light turns red. Son of a…

Well, this morning, that jerk, that bozo, was me. And, my head wasn’t in my apps. Truth is, I was in another world, thinking about the helluva morning I had just had trying to get my kid off to school. And, while I did look up to see the yellow light before the person honked–wondering “where” I had been to miss an entire green light–I had no idea if the light had just turned yellow, or if it was a split second away from turning red. Being cautious, I stayed put. And, based on the repeated horn honking, definitely “made” someone’s day.

I’ll spare you the details of my morning with my dude, except to say that at one point, he responded to my frustration with, “We’re supposed to thrive! Aren’t you a speaker?” Oh boy… 

For the record, dude got out of the car at exactly 7:30 (the time school starts), so technically, not late, but not a success, either.

Ever had a day like that? 

Of course you have. 

Cookie Monster Teaches Mindfulness

There is no amount of personal growth and development that will allow us to escape the reality of humanity.

Stuff happens.

Kids don’t cooperate.

People sit through green lights.

There are skills and strategies we can learn for what to do in those moments, but sometimes the best thing you can do is just keep breathing. 

“This moment” will pass. Everything is temporary. It is what it is… while it is.

Then, what will you do after that moment?

Even when you’re facing difficult circumstances that are ongoing (see: pandemic; financial crisis; unhealthy relationship; illness; difficult boss; etc.) it’s most likely not non-stop 24 hours a day. Meaning, there are windows of reprieve. 

Breathe and be kind to yourself “while the fire is burning.” And then as soon as you can, find your way back to center. Don’t let a bad moment turn into a bad day.

Here are the two best ways I’ve found to do that:

1. Movement. 

When you feel yourself being agitated, frustrated, angry, impatient, or other such depleting emotions, that’s your body’s chemical reaction to what’s going on in your environment (filtered through thoughts in your head – that you may not even be conscious of). Often, the thought is some form of, This not how it’s supposed to be. 

That energy is looking for a way out of your body, and if you don’t let it out intentionally, it’s going to find a way out that you – and others – may not like. Have you ever “blown up” at someone when what they did really didn’t warrant such a reaction? Unbeknownst to them, they just happened to give you the opportunity to “let off some steam.” You needed to let off some steam, that just wasn’t the healthy way to do it.

Rather than walking around like a ticking time bomb, go for a walk, turn on some music and dance, do some pushups – do something to allow your body to process that energy. (I was actually on my way to a nearby nature trail while I was sitting at that traffic light.)

2. Meditation. 

I first discovered meditation in 2011. I was one of those people who thought meditation was some weirdo new age thing… until I tried it. Then I realized, it’s just breathing and directing your attention with intention. Meditation changed my life, and I’m still learning more and more about how powerful it is every day. Meditation is a healthy response to the previous moment, and it’s a powerful tool to show up optimally for the next one. The benefits are tremendous, such as:

  • Relieves anxiety
  • Promotes emotional health
  • Enhances self-awareness
  • Improves attention span
  • Improves memory
  • Enhances creativity

The list goes on and on, with benefits for now and for life

If you’ve never tried meditation, I want to invite you to try it right now – yes, now – with a new guided meditation I’ve created called 10 Minutes of Stillness. Or if you already love meditation, then here’s another one to add to your mix:​

10 Minutes of Stillness

Just hit play on the video on that page and I’ll take care of the rest. And if you like it, you can download the MP3 so you can take it with you wherever you go (I’ve already embedded a discount code so you get it for just $5 just because you’re reading this blog!).

If you’re thinking, “10 minutes? I don’t have 10 minutes!” let me ask:

What would you say if a friend asked, “Can I have just 10 minutes of your time?”

What would you say if your boss said, “I need you for 10 minutes”?

What would you say if your kiddo said, “Mom/Dad, can you help me for 10 minutes?”

I’m betting it would be a fast and easy “yes” in all those cases. Here’s an opportunity for you to make a decision to take care of yourself as well as you take care of others… because a better you is better for everyone.

If you’re feeling some stress, if you’re feeling some anxiety, if you’re feeling some unease, if you’re feeling exhausted, give yourself the gift of 10 minutes and just see how you feel. You’re worth it. 🙂

Stay well, my friend. One moment at a time.

Photo by Eliobed Suarez on Unsplash

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