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Training to Be Relaxed in Stressful Situations


Many of us face things every day that stress us out: overwhelming number of tasks, a big meeting, a project that feels really tough, behind on paying bills, someone is upset at us, there’s a family crisis, the world feels chaotic.

Can we find a way to be relaxed in almost any stressful situation?

Absolutely. It just takes some training. And lots of practice.

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Let’s imagine you’re feeling stressed right now, about whatever you need to do, about an interpersonal conflict, about something coming up in the near future …

What is it that’s stressing you out about this? You might start telling me all the details of the situation, or all the things the other person has done wrong … but that’s your narrative about it. The thing that’s stressing you out is the narrative, or how you view the situation or person.

What if you could let go of that view, and just be in this present moment, without the narrative? There can be a feeling of peace and openness. Try it right now.

This is the training. Relax the narrative, loosen your view, and drop into the openness of the present moment. Breathe deeply, and relax your body. Relax the jaw, relax the muscles in your torso. Feel the openness in this moment.

With training, you can do this as you go into a stressful meeting, or enter a chaotic scene, or have a difficult conversation. But start with the easier situations: when you’re on your laptop, or washing a dish. When you’re out for a walk, or talking with a friend.

Breathe, relax, let go of the view and narrative, and find the peaceful openness of the present moment.