“Remember, it’s daily practice that rewires our brains to be more resilient and allows us to manage our stress and anxiety.”
― Dr. Leo Flanagan, The Center for Resiliency
Once you’ve completed the second class on stress management , you’re ready to begin incorporating the following techniques into your mindfulness practice. Add these six techniques into the daily practice you began after th e first session.
To start, try to find opportunities to practice the following three techniques three times each day:
Use the STOP technique.
Anytime you are feeling stressed, you can you use these four steps to pause, center and calm yourself, reflect, and determine how you want to proceed.
Stop what you are doing.
Take a mindful breath.
Observe what you are doing and what you are thinking.
Practice Loving Kindness.
From the Buddhist tradition, Loving Kindness has been found to have a strong positive impact and create a sense of peace. Practice empathy towards yourself and others using the following mantra:
May you be safe
May you be healthy
May you be happy
May you live with purpose
May you live with ease
As you repeat the phrase, think of someone who you perhaps are frustrated with, or perhaps have had a disagreement with recently. When you start to think that these are the wishes you have for that person, your empathy will grow and you will feel your anger and frustration fade away. You could also think this to yourself as you come into contact with essential workers to help project a calming energy.
Practice belly breathing for three minutes.
Follow these simple steps:
Close your eyes
Notice how you are breathing
Place one hand below your belly button
Place your other hand at the center of the upper chest
As you inhale, feel your belly expand out and your hand rise
As you exhale, feel your belly go flat, like a balloon deflating
Breathe through your nose.
Next, see if you can find time during your day to practice the following three techniques once each day:
Use the Ladder of Inference.
This is a proven technique that can help you work toward agreement in discussions with others.
In the age of digital deluge, all of the facts that are available to us are overwhelming. Each person will subconsciously create a smaller set of facts that informs conclusions and decisions. Often in conversation, we only present our conclusions and decisions. But if we shift the conversation to start by sharing the facts that each person uses to reach their conclusions, we are better able to understand each other. That conversation helps develop a shared perspective, and having someone share their reasoning may bring new information to light that you had not previously considered.
Use the BATHE* technique.
The BATHE technique is a grief intervention tool that physicians often use to develop an alliance with someone who is in crisis or stressed. Incorporating behaviors, emotion and action, it will help you to focus on the other person and connect in a meaningful way. As part of your conversation, ask these questions to help you more deeply understand the person with whom you are interacting.
Background: how are things? What is happening in your life?
Affect: how do you feel about it?
Troubles: what worries you the most? What wakes you up at night?
How are you handling the situation?
Empathy: convey understanding.
Use the Four Most Powerful Questions
Set the stage for moving forward in a positive way with the four most powerful questions. Answering these questions will help you to refocus and motivate—either yourself or the person you are speaking with—to adapt without triggering resistance, while neutralizing decision biases.
What do you want?
What are you doing to achieve it?
How is that working?
What is your plan?
Brie Williams notes that “Resilience is less about who you are and more about what you do.” Incorporating these techniques into your day can help you build resilience in the face of adversity, and even achieve personal growth.
As you work with the checklist on a daily basis, be mindful of your stress levels. Are they noticeably decreasing? Are you better able to remain calm throughout the day, or find a way back to calm when stress starts to creep in? Hopefully the answer will be yes.
When you’re ready for the third session in the series, you can find it here.
*BATHE: Stuart and Lieberman, The Fifteen Minute Hour
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