Or perhaps garden. Or read a good book. Or try a new recipe. What did you do today for your mind? What did you choose to do today that would allow your mind to become focused, non-judgmental, calm?
There are two ways to reduce your stress level. The first is the most obvious but probably the least utilized: reduce the number of stressors in your life. Now, that’s not easily done. After all, you can’t put your teenaged child up for adoption! And you probably can’t quit your job or your post in the Home and School Association or tell your sister-in-law to never speak again. But if you can eliminate a stressor or two, do it.
The other way to reduce the stress in your life is to reduce the stress in your body. For me, it’s take a good, long run. Or schedule an afternoon or evening alone, brew a good cup of Earl Grey or Green tea, curl up with a good book and enjoy the quiet. Or work in the yard. Or paint a room (yes, I find painting to be VERY relaxing). What each of these activities have in common is that each is conducive to mindfulness. Being present, not judging, staying focused. Hit the meditation cushion, immerse yourself in prayerful silence, whatever it takes to get outside of your self and allow your mind to get into flow.
So, when I’m getting a bit kerfuffled I have to ask myself this question: Did I run today? And if I didn’t, or get mindful in some other way, then I will have to pay a stress-based consequence, and wait until tomorrow to hit the trail. But let today’s stress be a wake up call, or even a warning: get mindful again!