How is Stress affecting you?
Stress is experienced through various channels such as mental, emotional, personal, and relational. Whether it be a thought or experience out of your control, the stressor that has triggered an emotion becomes a part of you as energy.
Stress can turn into physical tension, emotional baggage, mental health issues or problematic behavior in the relationships in your life. There are certain stressors that are simply apart of life however, their impact on your wellbeing should not be as easily accepted.
The way you perceive the world plays a pivotal role in how you are reacting to the stress that occurs. Your perception of others is a mirror of what is happening within you. Therefore the gateway to responding consciously to stressful situations in your life is to raise your level of self-awareness.
After years of studying mindful awareness and stress reduction, I’ve come up with a simple practice that reminds you of how to remain calm and come back to the present moment.
Learn to Check Your G.E.E.K.
Gratitude, ego, expectation, and kindness are the 4 prompts that help ground you when experiencing strong negative emotions. This practice can be used when you are frustrated with yourself, angry with another person, or with a circumstance that happened outside of your control.
Below you’ll learn the power G.E.E.K and how to practice it.
Gratitude: Set an intention of APPRECIATION
Gratitude is the answer to living a happy life. The best way to practice gratitude is to find the good in what frustrates you and what you view as a problem. Everything is an opportunity to practice patience and growth. If you can begin to shift your perspective to thinking this way you are making progress.
Ego: Set an intention of EMPATHY
The ego is always living in the past or the future. It is threatened when you experience a negative emotion and will encourage any thinking that involves staying angry or retaliation. Often times it feels natural to lead with egoic thinking as a default. Practicing pause to ask the following questions is an interruption to emotionally driven thinking, giving you the chance to reframe your thoughts to problem-solving not problem sulking.
Expectation: Set an intention of PATIENCE
Expectations are always attached to particular outcomes you assume will unfold, often without awareness. Therefore both disappointment and happiness can be tied into the expectations you set for yourself and others. When overcome with intense emotion work to find the root of the issue by understanding what expectations allowed you to feel this way.
Kindness: Set an intention of COMPASSION
Practice a kind and generous way of thinking, being, and living. The way you treat yourself will reflect on the relationships you form in your life. Bring attention to negative self-talk and practice a compassionate inner language.
Practices and Journal Prompts
for Finding Calm
The following questions are meant to interrupt your emotional mind from wanting to react and encourage you to shift your perception to one of compassion. Before you more on to the next intention and set of questions be sure to pause and take 3-5 deep breaths.
While you are in the midst of a pause your breath is the tool that will navigate you through what your autopilot would normally take care of. When focusing on your breath you are bringing the mind into the present moment to truly process and comprehend what’s happening and what follows.
The more you practice pausing the more you will continuously interrupt an unpleasant habit of thinking, which would most likely lead to unpleasant behavior. This is the way to control your moods.
With the intention of appreciation in mind, ask yourself:
Finding 3 things to be grateful for in what is currently causing you to suffer. Finding appreciation in that which causes you unpleasantness is the ultimate shift from victim to wisdom.
Ask yourself, how can I find the goodness in those who test my patience?
Notice the power of gratitude and the positive shifts you’re making with your thoughts before moving onto exploring ego.
Take 5 deep breaths and with each exhale invite a smile of appreciation for doing the inner work to shift your perspective of yourself and others.
With the intention of empathy in mind, ask yourself:
Am I comparing myself with someone else rather than expressing compassion for them? If so, how healthy is it to be comparing myself to others right now?
That which frustrates you can often be a mirror for areas of improvement in your life. Ask yourself, can I honestly see my own mistakes/shortcomings mirrored back to me?
What ways can I practice letting go?
How can I practice empathy to better understand this circumstance? Or the perspective of the other person?
Take 5 deep breaths and with each exhale extend understanding to yourself and others who may be experiencing suffering in any way. Clear your mind and welcome a clean slate for a fresh perspective.
With the intention of patience in mind, ask yourself:
Whenever we feel disappointed, frustrated or upset it is due to an expectation we set for ourselves or for another. With that in mind ask yourself:
What expectations have I set that allowed me to experience this emotion?
Understanding your control lies within the response, not the circumstance is a powerful realization. Ask yourself
What is a positive way to respond to this situation?
Take 5 deep breaths and with each exhale release your grip on this situation. Clear your mind and welcome a clean slate for a fresh perspective.
With the intention of compassion in mind, ask yourself:
After analyzing this situation with an open-minded perspective it is important that you end your thoughts on a note of kindness. Ask yourself:
Am I being kind to myself in this circumstance?
Consider the voice that’s been answering these questions for you. How was the tone of that voice? Were you gentle with your responses or did they surface as harsh?
If you noticed judgment in your self-talk try replacing it with a response you would say to a friend in your situation. Be understanding, kind and positive.
Am I being kind to those around me?
Take 5 deep breaths and with each exhale invite kind circumstances to yourself and others. Clear your mind and welcome a clean slate for a fresh perspective.
If you’re feeling better about the situation move forward with compassion and inner trust that all is unfolding as it needs to. If not, go back to the top and spend a little longer on whichever section is speaking to you. Use this practice as much as you need to. Take note of the questions that caused you to pause a bit longer or challenged your thinking.
Checking your G.E.E.K. can be a short in the moment practice or a longer one for deeper reflection. However, you use it be sure to embody the intentions you set before asking yourself questions that raise your self-awareness.
Download the Free SOS to Stress Guide Here.
Remember that change begins with awareness of self, and it starts with you.