By Karen Best Wright - www.RaisingYourGrandchildren.com
In my last post I wrote that Negativity Blocks Creativity and how reminding myself of that fact helps me. As a grandmother who is raising grandchildren and one who communicates with other such grandparents from all across our country and even around the world, I know how much negative energy can affect us. Older persons raising children can experience some heavy-duty stress. Of course, grandparents raising grandchildren are not the only ones who are stressed. We are not the only ones who need to learn ways to reduce the effects of stress in our lives. Out of control stress can wreck havoc on us physically, emotionally, and spiritually. The energy that we often expend when experiencing negative emotions can be redirected and used as fuel to overcome challenges in our lives and pursue positive endeavors.
The techniques that I use, to help me release stress or clear away negative emotions, vary depending on what I am experiencing. Notice that I did not use the term "manage stress." Even the word "manage" feels stressful to me. When I feel on overload, I do not want one more thing to "manage." So I prefer to imagine myself releasing the stress rather than managing it. I do not have one particular method of "releasing stress." I do different things depending on what I need at the time. Some people, who know me, might view me as a "high wired" type of person. So I often need to release stress, and I really do mean often.
Here are a few things that I have learned about myself and about clearing away negative emotions and releasing unnecessary stress for me.
1. Realizing that I am picking up and feeling everyone else's feelings and emotions and telling myself to simply "stop it." Sometimes I might have to actually remove myself from a situation or put up a mental barrier between myself and something or someone else. The purpose is to make sure I do not take on someone else's negative emotions. I have learned that I can do that quite easily. I wish I had learned that earlier in life.
2. Breathe, Breathe, Breathe. I have noticed that when I am feeling anxiety, I tend to hold my breath or breathe sporadically. I obviously don't intend to do this, so I have to consciously practice my deep abdominal breathing. I tell myself, "Karen, do your yoga breathing."
3. Sometimes I need to get physical. I hook my pedometer to myself and I start moving. I like to see just how far I have walked during the entire day.
4. There are times I need to NOT be moving quickly. I put on my Qi Gong DVD (pronounced chi kung). I slowly move, stretch, and breath deeply to the music. Even if I can't put on my DVD, I can breathe deeply, stretch, gently move, and relax.
5. Sometimes I have to simply make myself complete a project that needs to be finished or at least make some good progress on it. This is especially helpful when it is a project that can actually get done for good and doesn't have to keep getting done over and over again, such as laundry and dishes.
6. I remind myself that there is a good reason for what I am experiencing, even if I think it stinks. Believing that I am a better person and will continue to become a better person by emerging from whatever the situation may be is a fundamental belief of mine.
7. I ask myself, in the scope of my entire life, does this really matter? Some things, especially obnoxious people or annoying situations, simply are not important enough to give away my energy, energy I need for other things.
8. I call a friend, my sister, my mom, or one of my kids. (If you are a grandparent raising a grandchild and you feel no one cares, e-mail me. I care.)
9. I dance with my dog. Yes, that is what I said. I put on some music and start dancing. Polly, my pug, starts jumping up and down with me. I hold her paws and we dance.
10. When I am feeling really stressed, finding something to laugh about is very helpful. I notice that when I am on overload, nothing seems funny. I am not laughing. So it is really important to me to find funny yet moral things to laugh about. I love being around people who know how to laugh. I love to laugh. I just don't do it often enough.
I hope to hear back from my readers. Share with me things that help you release stress and clear away negative emotions.