When we feel stressed, we can feel very uncomfortable…
…and there is often another secret struggle happening. The resisting or fighting of our experience. This is sometimes referred to as ‘the second arrow’.
BAM! The first arrow of suffering lands… something happens that triggers our feelings of stress.
BAM! The second arrow of suffering… we fight feeling this way.
So how can we work with this?
First comes awareness, we actually have to notice that we are feeling stressed. This means paying ourselves attention, with kindness. It can help to make a regular habit of checking in with ourselves and taking time to ask, “How am I feeling right now?”
How to form this habit? Try setting a timer on your phone, or using an app like Mindfulness Bell or Aura to ring randomly. We can also anchor check-ins to a daily activity, like ‘every time I take a drink of water’. Whatever works for you!
Second comes acceptance… telling ourselves it’s okay to feel like this, and breathing out, letting go of resistance and struggle.
We can use the breath to help trigger our relaxation response in this way… breathing in acceptance of our feelings, breathing out and letting go of struggle. Continuing at our own pace, in our own time, for several minutes.
Would love to hear how you go with this, or any other tips you have on befriending stress!