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When Life Gives You Lemons, Just Breathe

Let's acknowledge that life is not fair and never will be. We have to keep cruising, but not at the cost of our well being. All we need to do is equip ourselves with some tools and make some wise and conscious choices to lead more peaceful and joyful lives.
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We all have our share of trying times in our lives. Life has distributed lemons to everyone and some of us don't know how to make lemonade. In the process of dealing with demanding jobs, kids, household chores, social obligations and endless to do list, stress has become inevitable. When stress becomes chronic, it sends our bodies into fight or flight mode and we end up with a compromised immune system and myriads of health issues. Let's acknowledge that life is not fair and never will be. We have to keep cruising, but not at the cost of our well being. All we need to do is equip ourselves with some tools and make some wise and conscious choices to lead more peaceful and joyful lives. Here is my recipe for making lemonade.

Apply Brakes

We would not think twice to apply brakes when heading for an accident or collision while driving then why applying brakes in our life is so hard? Try to slow down when things get overwhelming. There is nothing to prove to anyone. Its always good to know your threshold and stop when the plate is full. Trying to keep pushing yourself beyond your capacity is like trying to run a device on low battery. It will eventually run out. Don't let your bodies run out of batteries. Plug in to your sources of energy and rejuvenation.

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Be Kind to Yourself

When your hand, leg or toe is hurting, you would avoid putting any strain on it or it would hurt more. When under stress your mind is asking for the same care and compassion. Pay extra attention to your thoughts and feelings. Acknowledge them, be gentle towards them and don't try to suppress them. Let them bubble up to the surface.

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Share

When something is bothering me, I try to take it out of my system by talking to my mom or dad. Its not that parents are always right but they have more experience of being wrong. If you don't share that equation with your mom or dad, it could be your partner, best friend, sibling, anyone
whom you can trust and pour your heart out to. Go on a lunch date with your partner or a coffee date with your best friend. Having a good support system always helps in coping with stressful situations.

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Have Some Ginger Tea

Start your day with ginger or some herbal tea. And don't rush your morning cup of tea. Drink it mindfully no matter how busy your day is going to be. It prepares you to deal with that busy-ness.

Break the Monotony

We don't need to plan a big vacation to break the monotony in our lives. Read a good book, try a new recipe, watch a funny movie or TV show, take an afternoon nap, go for a massage, play with your kids, go for a walk or a bike ride, listen to your favorite songs, etc. When we seek pleasure in the little things we feel less consumed by the daily stressors.

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Take Baby Steps

We have this habit of always looking at the big picture. This is OK when designing a software, deciding to move to a different city, choosing a career, changing jobs etc but its not a good strategy when you are under stress. Over analyzing the situation and thinking about all the WHAT IFs leads to imagining catastrophic events making everything worse. Take one day at a time and put all your efforts into making today better than yesterday. There are two voices in our heads. One which keeps telling us that everything is falling apart and another which says that everything will be alright. When you look at the big picture, the first voice gets stronger and louder but when you take baby steps you are choosing to give more power to the second voice.

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Meditate

Practice some mindfulness by focusing on your breath for 5 to 20 minutes a day. Setting aside some quiet time everyday stabilizes the mind, increases your focus, makes you more proactive, non judgmental and resilient. When you run antivirus on your computer it performs much better. Meditation has same effect on our minds. You gain better insights into your problems and you start looking at them in a different light. You learn to let go of thoughts that don't serve you anymore. When you start approaching life with an increased level of awareness, you bring more harmony to your inner and outer world. If mind is not nourished with positive thoughts, the body will echo those feelings in the form of sickness. Meditation is mind's medicine with no side effects. Mind is like a mirror which gets clouded by worries, fears and insecurities. Meditation is a tool to help the conditioned mind return to its natural state so that it can reflect the light of universe.

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