Whatever the scenario, whether at work or home, Ruby reveals how to use mindfulness to deal with stress in the moment.
In today’s Mindfulness for Modern Life video, Ruby talks to our creative director Dagmar Brusse about how to live a soulful, happy life whilst reducing anxiety and stress on the brain.
TODAY’S READ: Mindfulness tricks for tackling stressful situations
The world is becoming a more stressful place to be in: we don’t think there are many people that would disagree with that statement. Offices and workplaces are becoming such a hotbed of anxiety and worry that in 2019 the World Health Organisation identified workplace burnout as a global occupational phenomenon.
And it’s not just work environments that are breeding a culture of seemingly never-ending stress, it’s in every aspect of our lives from having children and our relationships with friends and family to the insatiable need we all have to keep up with whoever and whatever we look at on our phones. We know, from our previous mindfulness masterclass days, that some stress is important, but it’s when it stays in a chronic and constant level that things get serious and that’s where mindfulness comes in. “I know, when faced with a situation that is going to make me angry my shoulders go up, I’m not breathing and I have about two seconds to change the dynamic by using mindfulness,” explains Ruby. With this in mind, today we asked Ruby to share her mindfulness techniques that can help in four different stressful scenarios, so you can cool down and deal with the situation you're faced with as calmly as possible.
Stress buster #1: Dealing with obnoxious strangers
“Dealing with a confrontational stranger can be daunting but instead of getting angry, focus on the person’s left eyebrow or nostril (choose anywhere that's near their eyes so it looks like you're looking at them), and study it in detail: the hairs, the pores, the colour etc. They won’t know you're not listening because you’re looking at them. They’ll want to put all their anger on you so that you return it back, but if you're grounded their anger will ricochet off you.”
Stress buster #2: Dealing with your partner when they’re wrong (and you’re not)
“When you notice that you’re heading towards an argument, keep your tone even and low and say you need to go to the loo; you’ll be right back. Go and sit in an enclosed space and try to focus on a few breaths (you can do this by listening to today’s guided audio from Ruby below). Even if you don’t manage it, at least you took a pause, and a pause will give you both time to dump the adrenaline and rethink."
Stress buster #3: Dealing with your children
“If you play verbal volleyball with your children - ‘It’s your fault.’ ‘No, it isn’t, it’s your fault’, etc. try this exercise. As the parent, now’s the time to shut up. Tell your child they have one minute (set a timer on your phone) to give their side of the story without you interrupting. As they rant, see if you can focus on the sounds they're making, listening to their shouts as if they’re just noise rather than getting caught up in the drama. Next, focus on what they’re saying and see if they’ve changed in any way…hopefully, they’ll be calmer. The benefits of this exercise are they’ve probably exhausted themselves from the hissy fit and you’ll have brought down your cortisol levels by anchoring onto the sound of your child rather than getting riled up by what they are saying.”
Stress buster #4: Dealing with a friend who’s upset you
“It can be hard to understand why someone close to you would want to upset you but when it happens, notice your reactions and, whatever they are, that’s ok. Hold back your instinct to express your reactions straight away - they won’t be the most helpful. If you can sit and focus on raw feelings, your mind will settle and eventually, you will come up with a more level-headed strategy in order to find out what’s at the root of the problem without old triggers blurring the picture. You have to talk to your friend otherwise, nothing gets resolved. If they don’t give you an answer, they weren’t worth it anyway, but if they do tell you the truth, they're worth holding on to, because very few people do.”
TODAY’S TASK: An audio guide for when stress strikes
Today, Ruby takes you through a guided meditation that you can use daily to work your mindfulness muscle. It is also a great go-to in an emergency when unexpected stress strikes.
From dealing with envy and uncertainty to loneliness and even death, day 5 of our mindfulness masterclass reveals how mindfulness can help you navigate and deal with the hardest of times.