Do you, like me, get derailed by stress?
One thing I have not done well in my life is manage stress. Don’t get me wrong it is not for lack of trying, rather, I hadn’t found anything that truly worked for me when I was really stressed. Meditation is a common antidote to stress, but when I am stressed I don’t really get to the place that allows me to experience its benefit. One thing that has helped me, however, is having a serenity trigger.
Essentially, a serenity trigger (which could be a place, object, memory, et al) helps you change your response to stress by moving your thought(s) away from outer chaos to an inner calm. I imagine it would be akin to the calm some people might be able to reach through meditation.
My serenity trigger is a Sequoia grove. When I close my eyes and think of my favorite Sequoia grove I can literally start to smell the giant trees. I can breathe in the fresh air. I can imagine myself sitting against a giant Sequoia, as I lean my back into her trunk I can feel her energy. I feel warm, embraced, protected, cared for. These trees are my heaven on earth!
Any time I need a reminder of my heaven on earth I just turn my thoughts inward and go to the Sequoia grove. I cannot even tell you how beneficial this has been for me. While it does not always zap me free from stress, it can take the level of stress I am feeling down several notches. That is a huge benefit, especially for someone like me who is highly sensitive.
Funny thing is, nearly every time my mom (aka: extraordinarily gifted massage therapist) gives me a massage she leads me through a visualization to a place in nature where I feel connected, safe, comfortable and nourished. By doing so, my body relaxes and reaps greater rewards from the massage. Ironically, I never tried doing this outside of a massage until I learned about serenity triggers. Go figure.
An integral part of my healing journey has been acquiring the tools that actually work when I feel stressed, as I have poorly managed stress throughout my life.
Here are a few tools straight from my own healing toolbox that are most helpful when stress and or life is getting to me:
…or when all else fails, pop some bubble wrap!
What tools do you use to manage stress?