“Stress acts as an accelerator: it will push you either forward or backward, but you choose which direction.” - Chelsea Erieau
It seems like nowadays there is more to be worried about than there is to be hopeful for. This daily onslaught of stress can make daily life hard to manage, but luckily there are steps to take to minimize the wave of stress. This quote from Chelsea Erieau, a sociologist who’s working in research and development in preventive mental health tech, resonated with us, particularly as we're living in a new era for mental health.
We asked our Reiki Master Maven Jean Bromage, to give her expert advice about managing stress. Reiki, as defined by the Cleveland Clinic, is an energy healing technique that promotes relaxation, reduces stress and anxiety through gentle touch. Reiki practitioners use their hands to deliver energy to your body, improving the flow and balance of your energy to support healing.
”Managing stress and a sense of overwhelm is one of the biggest challenges people experience in our modern-day lifestyles,” she says. “If you identify as someone who is empathic or highly sensitive, meaning you also pick up on other people’s energies, stress can be magnified tenfold.”
Being a highly experienced Reiki practitioner, Maven Jean has many tools she uses, as do other Reiki Masters, to minimize stress and manage energy and focus.
Here are some tools that Maven Jean uses herself in her Reiki self-care practice:
1. Check in with your needs. "Start each day by checking in with yourself and what your mind, body, and spirit need. Our needs change from day to day and taking a few minutes to ask yourself what you need helps to clarify how you manage your time and effort for the rest of the day. Even just a minute or two of focusing on yourself first will help your natural wiring to relax and be more present for the rest of the day. Journaling or meditation are two tools you can use to check in with yourself."
2. Celebrate the small stuff. "I realized years ago that I was unconsciously “should-ing” myself with a never-ending to-do list that kept me from living in the present. When I was at work, I worried about what I should be doing at home, and when I was at home, I was worried about what I should be doing for others. Instead, my to-do list now consists of no more than the 3 most important priorities for the day. I also stop to celebrate or give myself recognition for when I accomplish a task. Often, we just plow through to the next task. Taking a moment to celebrate informs the mind and body that life is good and you are making headway. This minimizes the fight or flight response when we think about what needs to get done."
3. Don’t underestimate the power of a few deep breaths. "One of the first things I teach in Reiki is a meditation that involves lower belly breaths. I use this breath all throughout my day and not just when I’m meditating or working with a client. Deep breaths help the mind and body to reconnect and in turn reboot your nervous system, just like when you reboot your computer. Simply take a nice deep breath through your nose, allowing your lower belly to expand and exhale through the mouth."
4. Connect with the earth. "Earthing is a concept in which your body physically connects to the natural earth. The electronic pulses from the earth will reboot your body’s own natural rhythms to reduce stress on both the mind and the physical body. Walking barefoot in the grass, sand, or mud or simply lying down on the ground will work. Bathing or showering with Epsom or sea salts also works. Finally, wearing crystals will have a similar effect, especially hematite, selenite, citrine, amethyst, or quartz (clear, rose, or smoky).”
It is powerful to know that stress can not only be managed but also be an accelerator that moves you forward. Give one of the above tips a try and we hope it empowers you.