Last month, I wrote that the things and people we love can cause us both joy and stress. I wrote that both connecting and disconnecting—engaging and disengaging—are healthy responses. Here is a simple practice that will help you reduce stress and increase joy.
Think about an area of stress in your life. It could be your work, a specific project, volunteer activities, a relationship, your kids. Remember, the people and activities we love can still bring us stress.
Look deeply: What is something within that area of stress that you enjoy? What are you grateful for?
Practice being mindful when you are involved in that area of stress. Consciously deepen your connection to the thing you enjoy.
For example, one of the areas of joy in my work is small client meetings and groups. I love this work! When I have the opportunity to be in a client meeting, I can stop and think to myself, “This is wonderful. I am so grateful for this moment.” I connect with that part of my work.
Now think again of that same area that causes stress in your life.
What is something within that activity, project, or relationship that you could disconnect from? What could you delegate, take less seriously, or worry about less?
In areas of our life that are very important we can become very attached to every single thing that is occurring, how it is happening, and the possible outcome. This increases the amount of stress we experience.
You can let go! Loosen your grip and release that vision of the “perfect” result, the “right way” of accomplishing your goal. Say goodbye to a few less important tasks.
For instance, my home is not as clean as I would love it to be, especially when we have guests. But I can’t be totally attached to this part of my home life. Other things are more important to me, and I love having guests, so I say to myself, “A quick, imperfect clean-up is better than not having guests at all.”