Here’s the scenario: You have your shopping list and you’re out the door, prepared to be an efficiency king or queen. Then, oops, you need gas. Long line number one. You get through the gas line, but now you need to merge on to the interstate on the other side of the street. Aggressive drivers do not slow down for you, but instead lay on their horns. You make it on to the interstate but you’re slightly annoyed and your heart is pounding. All the while your twelve year-old is in the back seat adding items to your to-do list “I need index cards for Spanish class….”
….You make it to your destination, one half-hour behind schedule with a hefty dose of adrenaline coursing through your system but you’re determined to make it through your list. First stop, the Apple Store to get your computer fixed, and oh you’ve got to be kidding me…. the apple geniuses are all busy and your number 15 in the cue…. and oh –@t! you forgot your 20 percent off coupon at home!
Perhaps your heart starting beating faster just reading the above paragraph.
Here’s today’s letting go exercise: Let go of expecting your life to be hassle-free. Here’s how to practice this.
1. Make fun of your sense of entitlement – Do you ever catch yourself experiencing annoyance at completely ridiculous things? For instance, “We’ve been sitting at this table for 3 minutes and nobody has waited on us yet.” “I can’t believe how slow the internet is today!” Counter your entitlement by practicing gratitude: “I’m so glad my car is running well and it doesn’t need any repairs this month.” “I’m so thankful that I can Skype with my daughter while she’s away at college.” Gratitude neutralizes small daily annoyances and lightens your mood.
Never underestimate the effects of cumulative stress -it drives bad habits, and disease – find small ways to discharge this stress several times a day. The mindful hub archives are full of short practices to help you discharge stress in healthy ways.
2. Think of your to-do list as an ever-evolving adventure– at the very least, it is faulty thinking to expect that all the lights will be green upon your demand, and a parking spot will magically appear right at the entrance of your destination. If you don’t get everything done on your list, ask yourself, “what is the worst thing that will happen?” It’s usually nothing life-threatening.
3. Put a new cognitive spin on waiting in line – What is waiting in line all about anyway? an annoyance, or a chance to be mindful and de-stress? Use time in cues to focus on your breath. When it’s your turn up at the counter, express compassion and respect for the person waiting on you. This will give you and the person serving you an instant sense of well-being.
4. Add mindful movement into your trip – At every stop, get out of your car and stretch your arms overhead. While waiting in line circle your neck. Never underestimate the effects of cumulative stress -it drives bad habits, and disease – find small ways to discharge this stress several times a day. Notice how you feel at the end of the day. Is you body sore? If you are too shy to do a full-out sun salutation or jumping jacks in a public place, promise yourself 10 minutes of gentle stretching every night this month.
We wish you twenty minutes of mindfulness everyday!