Take 5!

I don't know about you, but I try to begin each and every day in the most stress-free state as I possibly can. However, at times, some underlying stress may be lingering. It happens to all of us—unsettled business creeps its way in, perhaps leaving our shoulder muscles extra tense or having us take more deep breaths than usual. I have found myself, more times than not, failing to stop and recognize these instances, which is a crucial component in reaching my goals.

When was the last time that you stopped and checked in to see what was going on? Similar to being on the set of a big movie production, sometimes we need to call “CUT!” in order to recoup and check in on all of our equipment. After all, your life is probably the most important production of all.

There are many approaches you can take in understanding yourself better and preventing stress. Below are a couple practices that I have recently used to keep myself in check!

Fasting
While there are many different types of fasting, I've found that keeping it simple is always the most efficient route. I recently fasted for a full 24 hours, only consuming water and tea. This experience provided me with a whole lot of clarity. I was able to more clearly differentiate between real hunger and momentary cravings. Hunger, I found, is my stomach calmly informing me that I should probably start preparing a meal. Cravings, on the other hand, are when my brain shoots sudden and intense urges that must be met right away...and usually with the least nutritional food item possible (perhaps a Chimichanga?!). The latter is always going to be short-lived while the former will be more long-lasting.

Take 5
You may have noticed by now that I am a huge advocate of recording and collecting personal data. Partaking in a 5-minute mind and body scan is a great way to notice what may be bothering you. Simply dedicate 5 minutes to sitting in complete silence. During this time, name the different things that are happening from the top of your head down to the bottom of your feet. Pay attention to both the mental and physical cues. What are you thinking about? Are you unconsciously tapping your foot? Are your shoulders higher and tighter than they should be? This practice will also remove the fluff and force you to become more aware of any small signs of stress. 

It is very easy for these signs to fly under the radar, making it difficult to mitigate them. Take your own “movie” by the reigns, yell “CUUUT!!”, and Take 5!