paying attention

Reducing stress

Today's post is about noticing what stress feels like and looks like for you, and finding little yet important ways to reduce stress and nurture positive energy.

'You are the world's leadingauthority on yourself. You know best what stresses you, and what reduces the stress. This inner wisdom is based on a lifetime of living your life from the inside out. It is available to you anytime you care to consult it'.
-Matthew McKay + Patrick Fanning

Tending to self

To start, I encourage you to make a habit this week of noticing when you're becoming stressed. Simply paying attention to your own signals of tension can be a terrific first step in feeling less stress by naming it. Oh, there it is.  Is there tension in your head + neck ... your tummy or gut ... your back ... ?   Do you become less patient with unexpected issues ... Do you feel rushed and irritated?

Giving ourselves permission to pause and notice what we're feeling is an act of kindness that can go a long way in befriending our own experience.

Next, try doing something for 5 minutes that feels uplifting, such as walking quickly, singing to yourself, petting your cat, or taking pictures outside. Now, what do you feel in the areas of your body that were previously tense?

Getting curious about your moments of stress and their manifestations can be the first step in making them less weighty. They may not loom as large when they are seen + felt in the moment, tended to.

The Daily Relaxer book, as quoted above


Paying attention

"Instructions for living a life. Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it."
-Mary Oliver

I first encountered Mary's writing while on personal retreat in a peaceful setting. I was touched by her honest, lusciously descriptive and achingly human way of putting words together. Tender tenacity comes to mind.

I have been tuning into my own capacity to notice the world around me- little details that strike me as beautiful.  The fading of a wild flower that gives way to seed; how much I enjoy the first juicy bite of watermelon; the moments of twilight when softness falls across the landscape; the sound of my laughter when I realize I am being ridiculous about something. Noticing is where I am invited into a more regular flow of awareness, a stream of consciousness that moves with and responds to my day.

What is making you feel astonished these days? 

 Will you soften just a little bit in order to welcome surprise in your days?  

 - KD