It seems strange that stressful sensations come about during days when I’m not pressured by deadlines, difficult situations, or negative emotions. There are times I notice my shoulder or neck muscles feel tightness. I suppose just the process of living causes tension.
When the tension becomes noticeable, I massage the areas by hand, or apply some soothing heat. If the tension has spread lower, I lean backwards onto the edge of a doorway then allow the edge to press into the parts of the back that feel most tense.
I utilize the stress monitor of my smartwatch to help manage the emotional tension at the core of the physical symptoms of stress. If the indicator displays medium or high levels, I know that I should take a time out. The device has an optional breathing exercise that is programmed to guide the user to breathe mindfully. However, I usually utilize my own tried and true mindfulness technique instead of the rudimentary exercise on the watch.
The stress monitor keeps track of stress levels for each day of the week. I aim to have low levels and maintain them all seven days. There is also a scale that compares the present week with the prior week. These features are quite helpful for longterm stress management.
I only wear the smartwatch before bedtime or when taking or doing exercise. So when the device is not on my wrist, mindfulness works as my built-in stress monitor. When tension becomes noticeable, I close my eyes and visualize a stress indicator and mentally try to bring the arrow lower on the scale. It’s surprising how well this technique works.
The best solution for stress is to slow down to optimize one’s efforts. We live daily life as if there aren’t enough hours to spare. The fact is, that when we do each task with care and calmness, the chore will be completed more quickly than if we rush it and try to multi-task. Not only will the task be finished, it will be done more satisfactorily. In other words, it helps greatly that when I’m doing something, I try to focus only on that one task. I don’t always get this right because my monkey mind likes to distract me. So it’s necessary to refocus.
There will always be some amount of stress in life. The process of working causes stress. Adopting a positive attitude while engaged in work, converts unpleasant stress into more upbeat, productive energy. This focused effort brings about constructive momentum. The main takeaway is to remember to stay cool, calm, and focused.
Right now, writing about stress and stress relief made me aware of some tension build-up at the base of the neck. Some gentle neck massage and the application of heat melted the sensations away. The remedy has allowed me to complete my task.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes professor emeritus of medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Jon Kabat-Zinn. “All the suffering, stress, and addiction comes from not realizing you already are what you are looking for.”