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Renee Trudeau's picture

Last week I had a brush with someone I’ve known a long time who acted uncharacteristically rude and unkind. While their behavior was immature and irrational, rather than rise up to counter him, I just walked away and let it be. This was not only wise, it was good self-care.

Lately, I have observed how many friends, clients and colleagues are struggling. Whether it’s challenges brought on by a recent career struggle, health crisis, relationship/parenting difficulty or recovering from a financial blow–many are living hour to hour and having a hard time seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. So I’m making a concerted effort to give them extra space, compassion and room to vent.  We’re navigating a time of tremendous change and uncertainty and for many this heightened level of transition can be a breeding ground for fear.

So, what to do?  Some of the most potent, effective ways to lower stress and anxiety and find inner peace are just a thought—or arm’s length—away. Give these a try.

Six nurturing practices to help you “self-comfort” in uncertain times:

Get grateful.  Voicing what we’re grateful for lifts our mood, floods our body with endorphins, shifts and broadens how we see the world and supports us in remembering what really matters. It’s a gift that can be accessed anytime, anywhere and it’s free. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude if you want to feel good, no matter how tough things seem to appear: what are you grateful for?

Go outside.  Immersing ourselves in the natural worlds is often referred to as the ultimate antidepressant because it affects us physically, mentally and emotionally. A date with Mother Nature reduces stress, enhances our mood/overall mental health, helps us to “reset,” promotes cognitive abilities, fosters problem solving and creativity, supports work/life balance, stimulates social interactions and enhances family connection and intimacy. Read Nature: The Ultimate Anti-depressant.

Move your body …breathe.  I really believe, “The issues are in the tissues.” Most of us need all the help we can get to move out of our heads and into our bodies. Go to a yoga, Nia or Qi Gong class, take a hike, walk around the block or in your parking lot at work-just move and breathe! One of my favorite breathing exercises is called equal parts breathing (so detoxifying and calming for our systems!). Breathe in for three-hold for three-exhale for three. Try doing this through your nose, with your mouth closed for maximum effect and repeat 6-10 times.

Ask for help. People who are comfortable asking for and receiving help—whether it’s from a coach, therapist, mentor, professional organization, business partner, neighbor, friend or colleague—experience greater success and feel more connected and confident in all areas of their lives. Learning to ask for and receive help can be one of the most important skills you can cultivate AND it can open you up to all kinds of shifts. Try picking up the phone this week and reaching out to one friend or mentor to ask for their prayers or support (you’ll find this act alone is powerful!). Read more.

Do less.  I don’t know about you but I get very cranky when I’m over scheduled. Everyone I know is craving more time to just be — so we can actually integrate into our hearts and souls what’s happening moment to moment. The more choices and decision we have, the less happy we are. Over-doing keeps us from experiencing life in the moment and is taxing to our well-being. Read Do less …and experience more.

Feel to heal. The more we’re able to just be with what we’re feeling, the more we’re able to heal from old wounds. When we “feel our feelings,” we become more open and accessible to our loved ones, we’re more connected to our passions and desires, we become comfortable voicing our needs and drawing clear boundaries, we begin to harvest the gifts that come from living with the light and the dark and contrary to what we might think—we actually begin to feel more alive and less fearful. Read Feeling=Healing: 4 Ways to Begin.

When you observe someone acting irritable or unkind, remember—we  don’t know what battles our brothers and sisters in the grocery store lines, on the playground and in the cube next to us are waging. This is a time to move a little slower, be more forgiving and remember to be kind. Always be kind.

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