Stress is a daily trepidation for many of us. From the very start of our day to the moment we lay our heads on our pillows, we’re constantly rushing: from one place to another, fighting with traffic, struggling to meet deadlines, or attempting to finish everything on the (sticky note) to-do list.
Stress has been said to contribute to patients with insomnia, heart disease, anxiety, weight gain or loss, and can even be a risk factor for heart attacks. Getting to the root of our stress seems difficult, but the thing is, our thoughts create our own stress and reality.
As a teacher at Fusion, I’ve had a few students struggle with trying to juggle responsibilities, emotions, social situations, self-esteem, and coping skills. In fact, the amounts of stress that we deal with every day can outdo Santa’s Naughty or Nice list.
I teach my students to create a toolbox full of coping skills they can reach into so they can learn to overcome tough obstacles and the fear triggers that bring them back to a fight or flight mode.
When we’re out of balance, energy in the root chakra may manifest as fear. The root chakra represents our foundation – our feeling of being grounded.
Fear, in the root chakra, is best faced head on.
This is a typical starting place that I take with students in order to overcome fear or to help them cope with stress and depression. Allowing this fear to manifest has to do with the types of thoughts we tend to think.
When we believe that we’re not good enough or that we can’t overcome something, we start to believe it, act on it, and allow it to have an enormous influence on our individual destinies. The way we think conditions our behavior and helps us decide whether we’ll achieve emotional resilience, career success, educational success, and happiness in relationships.
Oftentimes, meditation is misunderstood as something used to free ourselves of our thoughts and to have a clear, empty mind. But mindfulness is not about getting rid of our thoughts – it’s about learning to see clearly into the nature of our thoughts, and to begin to relate to our thinking from a different perspective.
Learning to listen is a huge part of yoga. It’s not always about trying to solve problems. Most times we need to be open and available to ourselves and to others so we can all feel validated without needing to be “fixed.”
A few other things to put in your toolbox could be:
• Focusing your attention on your breath, especially while exercising.
• When possible, surround yourself with a scent like coffee, sage, or lavender, that makes you feel good.
• While going to yoga poses or meditation, squeeze and then release tense or numb parts of your body.
• In addition to creating a sense of calm through scent, tune into those other senses, like sound, by adding music that calms you or lifts you up and visualize in detail a scene that makes you feel peaceful.
• Lastly, and most importantly, be ok with silence. Sometimes just being with another human is enough.