Many of us can juggle a lot of balls at the same time, between family, kids, work, and fitness there isn’t a lot of spare time in the day. While many of us handle these choices and commitments expertly and seamlessly transition between the functions of our day, there is often a constant pressure to perform underlying all of it. Many of us don’t feel this pressure on a regular basis as it’s familiar; we’re used to it and it’s all good most of the time.
Until one day, or one moment it’s not fine. We find ourselves tense, frustrated at seemingly simple or mundane things. Perhaps being short or downright rude to those around us. This tension we often don’t even feel, is a form of stress we carry with us and like all manners of stress it manifests itself in a myriad of ways. So how do we know when this stress is building, or when other stressors will affect us? More importantly even, how can we quickly and effectively deal with this when it enters our consciousness?
One reason we experience these moments of higher stress is because there is a reason for the heightened levels. For instance a major meeting with a customer, a job interview, a fitness competition, unexpected bills, trouble in relationships. We may feel we are handling the added stress loads just fine and in many cases we are, until suddenly we aren’t. We snap at a co-worker or loved one, we get a migraine headache, we get sick and have to shut it down for a day or two.
I’ve found a solution for dealing with this stress on a macro level which is immediate and helps to calm things back down and put things back into perspective. I use this tool to simplify my perception, often these periods of heightened stress elevate our ability to deal with things so we add more, and all of a sudden our lives are more complicated, or at least seem this way. Meditation is always a great option, though I’ve found meditation to be best used on a regular basis and not very helpful “in the moment”.
When I need to simplify things in my life immediately and in a heated moment I quickly think back to who I am. Not in the philosophical way, the meaning of life way, (this we’ll get into another time). I look at the world around me and how I experience it. I focus on my family, my company, my house, car, bills, employees, vendors, customers, training program, grocery shopping list etc…
I think of these things, and I imagine all of them gone. Who am I without any of these things? If my life as I experienced it went away in a flash, who am I then? If I didn’t have to think about paying a mortgage, servicing a customer, ensuring food and shelter are provided for my family, hitting the next PR at the gym…
This may be scary to contemplate, and if it is scary or too uncomfortable to imagine then I invite you to consider just how attached you are to what you “can’t” live without. The truth of the matter is, if everything went away, you will still wake up in the morning, the sun will rise as you will. The sun will set as you will ultimately go back to sleep to repeat the process. What does your life look like without anything in it? Who cares. It doesn’t matter. For this tool we don’t have to spent a second trying to contemplate the “other” side of how we experience life.
I invite you to imagine everything is gone, you have no fear or worries about anything, family, friends, the house, business, job, money you owe the mob for bad horse betting… Simply imagine being you, carefree and released from the weight of what we perceive to be important in our life. Imagine having no thoughts about yesterday or tomorrow, just be in this moment right now, as light as an angel with no strings attached, no commitments, promises or deadlines. Close your eyes and be in this space, you may imagine yourself in a field breathing in the fresh breeze as you stand tall with your shoulders and back straight, like you may just begin to float off the soft grass.
As you practice this it becomes easier and helps to realize something very important. What we think matters a lot, at the end of the day really doesn’t. As Tyler Durden in Fight Club so aptly stated: “You’re not your job. You’re not how much money you have in the bank. You’re not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You’re not your f***ing khakis. “
What are you if not all these things? For this article and purpose it’s not important. What is important for now is to understand this tool which is available to you anytime you feel the stress building in and around your life. Use this tool to calm yourself and reset your emotions when you feel like things are heating up. What this does is allows us to see our world from a different perspective. A calm, clean, de-cluttered perspective and even without all these “important” things we are still “us”. Simplified.
In this moment of simplicity as you stand weightless, what else do you need in order to feel fulfilled? (Normally I don’t give the answer, I’ve yet to hear somebody say something other than…) Nothing.
As we simplify our perspective, we already have all we need within us at this precise moment in time. Breathe in this knowledge as you allow the stress to fall away from this moment as you realize whatever is the cause, it’s likely not the end of your world.
We all have the tools within us to make miracles happen, this simple, effective and immediate tool is simply one of the plentiful options we have.
Give it a try the next time your feeling the pressure and let me know how it goes, I’m always interested in hearing how others apply these tools within their own lives.