We’ve all been there – so much going on and not enough time to do anything except swim as fast as you can, hoping no new wave comes to push you under. Believe me, I GET that! I can’t tell you how many times people have told me that they don’t even have time to breathe, much less get ahead (of course, they are still breathing – good thing we have those automatic processes!)
Every time someone mentions “you need to reduce your stress”, you instantly feel MORE stressed – don’t they get it?!? If you had the time, you’d give them the endless list of why that doesn’t work…but, duh, no time for that!
Here’s the fix you’ve been waiting for. You can have a measurable change in your stress level in less than 2 minutes. Honest. It’s not going to fix everything (that would be a ridiculous claim, and my commitment is to making an actual difference – otherwise it’s not worth my time or yours!)
1. Take in one deep breath, pulling air up from your belly all the way up, so that your chest actually rises (do this to a count of 3 or 4).
2. Sit up as tall as you can before exhaling.
3. As you exhale (to a count of 3 or 4), consciously bring your shoulders down and back, to that you are squeezing your shoulder blades together (this will feel like you are sticking your chest out).
4. Repeat 2 more times.
Congratulations! You’ve given your brain more oxygen, so you can focus better. You’ve used your body to signal to your brain that you are a) more alert and b) ready to release tension in your shoulders (super popular place to hold stress). You’ve done a quick tense-release which has started the relaxation process in your neck and upper back.
Truthfully, it probably took you longer to read this than it did to do the exercise, right? So maybe this should be called the “1 minute or less” stress-reduction hack. It seems like such a small thing, and yet there is strong evidence (think Harvard-based research study) that even 2 minutes of meditation a day can significantly increase (and maintain) levels of happiness. I find that amazing, and really hopeful. Because committing an hour or more a day can seem so unattainable. And if you’re like me, you want results FAST, so you can figure out if it’s “worth the time”.
Of course, I would say that you are absolutely always worth your own time!
If you are fed up with feeling like you take one step forward and two steps back; if you are ready to stop the ongoing cycle of stress; if you are committed to having a life that is HAPPY, PRODUCTIVE and FUN, then set up a call with me to start living with a smile!
And if you KNOW you want to get off the stress train, then fill out the application here: https://drhallett.wufoo.com/forms/z27s0v9073anw1/
Have an awesome day!
How to be the Luckiest Person You Know
I am the luckiest person I know. Not because I win at the lottery (I never win at scratch tickets!) I have arthritis, colitis and bad knees. I would prefer to be thinner and more in shape (that’s really on me), and I would love to have a home at the beach (not happening in the foreseeable future). Sometimes things go really badly – I get frustrated, disappointed and want to scream, cry, or do both. But I am still the luckiest person. Why?
I am my own best friend. I love myself and my life. I am happy to be alive. It is a fabulous feeling especially since this wasn’t always true. I have fantastic friends and family, a job I absolutely adore and four dogs who keep me busy and love to cuddle. Most importantly I love me. Exactly who I am. I have come to understand and believe that I am perfectly imperfect – and so are you.
I will often ask people to make a list of all of their good qualities, or all the things they are grateful for in their life. Typically, this is a pretty short list. (Alternatively, I may ask someone to develop a list of 10 good things about themselves. It’s often a real struggle for people to come up with 5 or 6 items). But when I ask people to make a list of all that is difficult, challenging or just not “right” in their life – the list is enormous!!
We tend to get caught up in the drama of the moment (NOT the same as “living in the moment”). Instead of celebrating our life and the joy of being able to experience living, we create mental lists of everything that isn’t going well. And at times, that list can be pretty overwhelming.
This doesn’t mean that the list is incorrect – but it does mean that our focus is off. We are in charge of our own perspective. For every item on the “crappy” list, we actually have at least twice as many positives, but we have learned to take those for granted and skip right over them. We have developed a perspective of seeing the good only when it’s out of the ordinary, and lost sight of the ordinary good throughout our day and throughout our lives.
The cool breeze that wafts over you just when you think you will turn into a puddle from the heat. The rain that nourishes the flowers. Eating a bagel (or better, a gluten-free bagel!) Seeing the stars. Paying a bill. The thousands of little actions that make up each day are all opportunities for gratitude, and opportunities for awareness.
When we start to pay attention to what is “right”, to moments of appreciation, we are able to move closer to loving and living in the moment, instead of reacting to the moment. And when we start to live our lives in the moment, we begin to notice how very lucky we are.
We start to smile more, notice the world around us, and begin to give precedence (perspective) to all those little moments of success. We don’t lose our knowledge of what’s difficult, but we don’t give it so much weight. We start to see each moment, rather than the quick, negative overview. And that’s when we come to the most important realization of all – we are perfect in our imperfection. We step fully into seeing ourselves as the luckiest person we know – because we have the opportunity and the privilege of truly living our lives. How awesome is that!?!