From Stress to Peace

Updated: Dec 17, 2021

by Ami Ji Schmid


Stress lives on the surface, rising + receding like an ocean tide. Peace lives in your core, like the underlying landmass that holds the ocean. When feeling stress waves wash over you - even when the waves feel relentless - there are wellness tools that can guide you back to your peaceful core.

Peace is inside you right now, and it can be accessed. In this post, we'll go through 10 basic #wellnesstools that will help release the pressure of stress so you can access peace. If a tool works for you, add it to your #wellnesstoolbox.


A Likert measurement scale will help you assess if a tool works for you. The following is a very inclusive #wellnessscale. You can adapt it to a simple one-question Likert measurement scale to suit how you're feeling in any given moment. For now, try all 14 questions.


On a piece of blank paper, list the numbers 1-14 vertically down the left side. Read each of the questions + write your rating (#1-5) to the right of each number. Don't think too much about your answer - write the first thing that comes to your mind.

Set your paper aside and try this first wellness tool. Remember: you won't know if the tool works for you until you do it.

1. Acknowledge

We don't always realize we're carrying stress. Just realizing you're carrying stress can lower your stress level.


Try this Psychosynthesis-based tool for accessing conscious awareness through the 6 'Psychological Functions'. Meditate on +/or write about the following. Ask yourself:

  1. Am I feeling stressed? + explore the emotion(s) that come up.

  2. Where is stress in my body? What are the sensations I'm feeling?

  3. What are the impulses + desires I have because of stress?

  4. What's my intuitive sense about stress?

  5. Have I had dreams that indicate that I'm stressed?

  6. When I think:"I'm stressed" what critical reactions come up?

  7. What do I imagine would happen if I said out loud: "I'm feeling stressed"?

Retrieve your Wellness Scale paper (from before doing this exercise). Fold the paper so that your first answers are covered up. Read each of the following questions + write your rating (#1-5) with the first number that comes to mind. (The statements + ratings have been re-worded to the present tense).

Uncover the first answers + compare the before + after ratings. If any of the ratings went up, this tool helped.


Use a before + after Wellness Scale with each wellness tool. When a tool works for you, add it to your Wellness Toolbox.


Try all these tools, one-at-a-time. There's no rush to get through them. Give yourself 6-12 months if you'd like. Fill your wellness toolbox with the tools that work for you. Then use them. again. and again. and again. Remember: tools only work when you use them. Use these tools to build the peaceful life you desire.

2. Be honest

It's difficult to admit we're stressed. We live in a competitive world + don't want to seem weak. The problem is, if people don't know we're close to or over our capacity to handle situations well, they'll keep piling more on and the stress will eventually break us. As counter-intuitive as it may seem, it's healthier to be honest.


Before you can be honest, you'll want to assess if you've developed a habit of 'lying' or 'hiding'. If you have, know that this is a common phenomenon. To know if you're in the habit of 'hiding', consider this:

  • When someone asks "how are you", do you have an automatic response? When they ask "are you OK", do you feel annoyed? If you are good at honestly answering the questions "how are you" + "are you OK", skip to the next tool. If you have an automatic response +/or feel annoyed by the question, please read on.

Much of the time "how are you" means hello or it's good to see you. Sometimes, though, the person asking really does have a general concern about you and wants to know how you are. Sometimes, the person asking wants a quick response; sometimes they want to hear your answer over a cup of tea. If you are intuitively sensitive, you'll know how to answer their "how are you?" If you can't decipher their intent, you can always ask: "do you really want to know?" People generally respond truthfully to this question.


The question "are you OK" is more direct + easy to decipher. It either means "I really am curious" or there's something questionable about your behavior or look. Either way, they're showing genuine concern.


Many people respond with an automatic "OK". After my daughter Michelle died, Elizabeth Pittman (then the director of the #Hospice #Bereavement Program in our area) told me: "Don't tell people you're OK when you're not, because they'll treat you like you're OK - and expect you to act that way - when you can't."


When someone asks, consider their query an opportunity to tap into your emotional state. Take a moment to ask yourself 'how am I feeling - really?" Explore under the surface - beyond the automatic first response - toward your true #emotionalstate. Stating: "I'm stressed" is enough to get you in touch with what you're feeling. If you can have a longer conversation, #talkinghonestly through your feelings can help you identify the source of distress, and jump start the process of addressing it.


Right now, explore your answer to "How are you?" Talk it out with someone you trust, think it out, or write it out. Any way you do it, be honest.

3. Connect

Relating honestly with others relieves the stress brought on by carrying our burdens alone + fills our need for #connection.


Responding honestly with: "I'm feeling (exhausted, overwhelmed, off-center, upset, etc.)" allows for real + rich connections. People are hungry - starving, really - for real + rich connections. Having a real + rich connection is a relief from the mundane. It really is "in the giving that we receive" (St. Francis of Assisi).


Responding honestly to "how are you" creates a win-win situation. Both people are giving; both people are receiving. The maxims "a friend in need is a friend indeed" (Edgar Bergen) + "the only way to have a friend is to be one" (Ralph Waldo Emerson) speak to the richness of connecting. When you connect - even for a moment - loneliness is banished, love enters, + healing begins.


Try connecting with someone you trust. Can you do that by the end of this week? Remember to test your emotional + mental state before + after.

4. Breathe

Paying attention to this breath brings us into this moment. When we're in this moment, we're not in the past, not in the future - we're in the present. Being present in this moment is enlivening + peace-creating. Being present, moment-to-moment, creates a full + peaceful future.


There are many focusing, #breathingtechniques. Here's a guided #Mindfulness breathing technique you can try now:

Focus on the Inhale

  • Focus on the air as it first enters your body - a tickle at the end of the nostrils.

  • Notice the temperature + sensations inside the nose + mouth as you breath in.

  • Notice the breath in the back of the throat (between the nose + mouth).

  • Follow the breath into the lungs.

  • Notice how, when you inhale, the chest expands (because the ribs separate + move outward, to make room for the expansion of the lungs).

  • Notice how, when you inhale, the belly expands (because the diaphragm pushes down, to make room for the expansion of the lungs).

Focus on the Exhale

  • Notice how when you exhale, the belly contracts (as the diaphragm tucks back up under the ribs).

  • Notice how when you exhale, the chest contracts (as the ribs knit back together).

  • Follow the breath out of the lungs, up to the throat, into the nose + mouth.

  • Notice the temperature + sensations of the breath just before it's exhaled out.

Here are more breathing techniques:

  • Focus on the rise + fall of breathing in + out, like the tide - like a wave.

  • Count your inhales from 1 to 10. Then count your exhales from 1 to 10.

  • Focus on the 'PAUSE' between the inhale + exhale, and between the exhale + inhale. Notice each moment before the breath changes direction.

  • #SquareBreathing: breathe in for a count of 3; hold the pause for a count of 3; breathe out for a count of 3; hold the pause for a count of 3.

  • Slow down your breathing by inhaling for a longer count, + exhaling for a longer count.

  • Even-out your breaths by making the inhale + exhale the same count.

Try each one of these breathing techniques (and any others you come across) one-at-a-time, to test which work well for you. Use a simplified Likert measurement scale to test each one. You might try asking yourself:

  • "Do I feel at-peace?", using a scale of 1-10, 1 being 'not at all' + 10 being 'I'm in a state of bliss'

  • "Do I feel stressed?", using a scale of 1-10, 1 being 'not at all' + 10 being 'I will not survive this'

When a technique increases your level of peace or decreases your level of stress, add it to your toolbox + use it often.

5. Move

There's an adage: move your body, move your emotions, move your mind. There's more + more research about #somatic awareness + healing that you can explore if you'd like. Even more powerful, though, is your personal experience. Test different ways of being in + moving your body to know what moves you away from stress + toward peace.


Your physical body will tell you how it wants to move. Listen to your body sensations + allow their expression. Each time you do this, test your mental + emotional states before + after moving. By using a simple Likert measurement scale to see the difference you feel, you'll learn to trust your body's ability to guide you toward whole health.


Start with your physical body. Untangling knots in the physical body can loosen + untangle knots + blocks in the mental, emotional, energetic + spiritual bodies. Try any of the following (or your own) ways of moving:

  • Vigorously shake to release trauma

  • Move aerobically to increase your heart rate, oxygen flow, + energy level

  • Take a long walk to get away from a stressful situation, process, + figure out a healthy solution to a problem

  • Combine conscious breathing with exercise (with yoga, Tai Chi + Qigong, for examples) to find your peace

  • Give your body permission to 'let go' + unwind itself (with subtle tools such as: Alexander Technique + restorative yoga)

  • Move alone or with others (such as with solo or partner dancing)

  • Do a daily 'Energy Medicine' routine for one-month (try using Donna Eden's routine. Find it online, for free)

  • Check in with your body. Ask it: "What do you want right now?"

6. Rest

Your physical, mental, emotional, energetic, + spiritual bodies will tell you when it's time for rest, sleep + stillness. Listen to + trust your #bodywisdom above all else. Test your emotional + mental state before + after you give yourself permission + time to rest.

7. Allow creativity

When you have a (healthy) creative impulse, follow it! Following a new, exciting or fun idea will help break through + change old stress-patterns, + lead you to your core self. Remember: your core self is naturally healthy, and that's your goal. Test your emotional + mental state before + after following through on a creative impulse.

8. Practice flexible thinking

We all get stuck in thinking patterns. Rigid, black-and-white thinking, though, creates stress. If you find yourself thinking narrow thoughts, widen your thinking. To start, try these simple language re-framing tips:

  • replace the word but with and

  • eliminate should and have to

  • answer with: I'd like to know more

  • when you disagree, think or say: I hadn't thought of it that way

  • while listening, think: they will find their own solution

  • ask: what do (I) / (you) want or need?

Test your stress +/or peace levels before you start re-framing, then test those levels again after a day, a week, a month...

9. Nourish yourself

Nourish yourself with whatever creates a sense of inner peace. Fill your mind + body with the ideas + things that you most want to be filled with. Eat foods that make you feel balanced + whole. Eat in a manner that makes you feel balanced + whole. Take time to think inspiring + positive thoughts. Listen to inspiring + peace-creating podcasts. Read inspiring + peace-creating books. Watch inspiring + peace-creating movies + shows. Listen to peace-creating music. Take time to look at the sky, feel the air on your skin, connect with the earth beneath your feet, breathe with the trees, listen to the sounds of life, drink fresh water. Consider that you share the Energetic Field with others, animals, elements, the past-present+future, things we know about, things we don't know about, + Source.


Make a commitment to only put nourishing things into yourself for a specified period of time. Test before + after to know if this tool works to move you from stress to peace.

10. Embrace Imperfection + adopt Radical Self-Acceptance

Find mantras that help move you toward embracing your imperfectly perfect Self. The following examples may be helpful to get you started:

  • I don’t understand that which I don’t yet understand - ‘more shall be revealed’.

  • ‘Unfolding’ is a natural process.

  • There’s no rushing the process (of becoming more wholly my self).

  • It is kind to accept, like, and love my self while unfolding.

  • Healing & evolving stuck places is worthwhile because doing so helps me feel expanded, whole and free.

  • It’s most effective to pay attention to my own stuck-to-movement processes and growth - even while being helpful to others.

  • Sharing stuck-to-movement processes can be helpful to others - so, I'll share.

  • Sharing one’s processes may not be helpful to others - so, I have no expectations of effecting change in others.

  • Your process is perfect - even if I don’t understand it - even if you don’t understand it.

  • My process is perfect - even if you don’t understand it - even if I don’t understand it.

Create your mantra. Test your emotional + mental state before you start using your mantra. Give yourself a designated period of time when you'll repeat this mantra to yourself - whether it's during a 20-minute meditation, for a day, or longer. Then, repeat the test. Did your state-of-mind change? How's your 'soul connection'? Are you more connected with your inner peace?


If this mantra worked well for you, try using different mantras as they come to mind.

Looking for personal support? Contact Ami Ji Schmid at TLC Coaching and Consulting Services.


#decreasestress

#findingpeace

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