Stress and pressure are unavoidable parts of life. Stress and pressure have increased in the world we’re living in today. As we watch and experience the effects of coronavirus on the world, Many struggle to handle it all. What’s the best way to cope with the stress and pressure?
As we progress through quarantine, it’s easy to give up on valuable habits and fall into old routines. Falling back into bad habits can be a difficult cycle to break. In this episode of the On Purpose podcast, Jay Shetty talks about six life-changing habits that will help you keep the stress and pressure you feel at a minimum.
These six habits are easy to practice in everyday life, and most are probably quite familiar. Jay Shetty’s advice gives deep insight on practicing these habits so you can work through the stress and pressure at your own pace.
Habit One: Breathing
The first habit to start using when you’re under pressure or feeling stressed is breathing. Controlling your breathing is an amazing skill that allows for mental clarity, leading to clearer direction and presence in the moment.
It’s easy to fall into worrying about the future and about the change that’s happening right now. When we start worrying about the future or regretting things of the past, we lose touch with the present moment. It can become a vicious cycle, which only results in more stress and more pressure. Breathing helps break the cycle.
“Breathing brings us back into the present moment,” Jay Shetty said, “because your breath is right here, right now.”
Another cause of the stress and pressure we’re all feeling is a misalignment in our body and our mind. What does that mean? Jay Shetty explains the misalignment of mind and body like this:
“In the morning when you wake up, you lay in bed thinking about all the things you need to do that day,” he said. “Your mind is racing while your body is just waking up. Alternately, sometimes you’re racing around the house doing things, but mentally you’re still in bed.”
Misalignment of the body and mind causes friction and tension, leading to more stress and pressure on us. Breathing brings back our awareness and brings back into sync.
Breathwork is also super powerful for athletes. Many times athletes, including Shetty’s friend, tennis player Novak Djokovic, use breathing when they’re in intense athletic situations to help their performance. Breathing brings them back in the moment and helps them find a balance.
So where do we start? Jay Shetty shares three breathing techniques that are easy to put into practice.
Three Breathing Techniques
For the first breathing technique, put your left palm on your stomach. When you breathe in, feel your stomach expand. When you exhale, feel your stomach come in. This simple, yet effective technique helps you monitor your breathing and return to calm.
The second breathing technique is called 4-7-8 Breathing. In this technique, you’ll breathe in for four seconds, hold the breath for seven seconds, then exhale for a count of eight. If that’s too intense to start off with, Jay Shetty recommends a 4-2-4 breathing pattern. Breathe in for four, hold for two, and exhale for four seconds. This technique is great for when you’re waking up and going to bed. It’s also helpful throughout the day when you’re feeling stressed or tense.
The final breathing technique Jay Shetty mentioned was the 5-4-3-2-1 grounding method. This breathing technique will keep you present and connected when your mind is wandering, and practicing it is simple. All you do is look around you and find five things you can see, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste.
Habit Two: Journaling
The second habit Jay Shetty shared is journaling. Journaling can be difficult if you have no direction on what to write about. In this episode, Shetty provided some structure by suggesting three questions we should answer when journaling.
“How do I feel?”
There’s no right or wrong answers to this question. Sometimes you’ll feel happy and energized, and other times you’ll feel stressed and tired. Both of those answers are okay! Just be honest with yourself and how you are feeling. Don’t hide away your feelings or you’ll just end up more stressed in the long run. Writing down and understanding how we are feeling helps us better understand where we’re at and how we are doing.
“Why do I feel this way?”
Once you know how you’re feeling, it’s important to know why you’re feeling the way you are. If you aren’t feeling great and you’re stressed and tired, answering this question will get you to the source of the problem. Maybe you’re feeling stressed because you’re spending a lot of time on social media, or, as Jay Shetty was experiencing, maybe you’re not feeling creative because you’re spending a lot of time playing video games.
“How do I want to feel?” and “What do I need to do to feel that way?”
“Maybe you want to be more energized, so how can you feel more energized?” said Jay Shetty. “Or maybe you’re wanting to be less rushed, so how do you slow down? There are endless possibilities on how these questions can go, and it’s so important to know what your answers to them are.”
Journaling can help you understand how you feel. Once you know how you feel, you can gain clarity on where to go and what to do in order to get to where you want to be. As you progress, you’ll be able to see how far you’ve come, which can help keep you focused.
Habit Three: Get Advice From Others
The third habit Jay Shetty suggests is getting advice from others – the RIGHT others. When you need advice, ask someone who will understand your situation and know what you need to do to fix it. Getting advice from someone who has no experience with what you’re going through isn’t helpful.
“It's so important that we look to the right places and the right sources,” he said. “Speak to someone who's been through it before speaking to someone who's going through it.”
Getting advice from someone who understands you can be so powerful.
“I think this is one of the biggest reasons why coaches are so powerful and important because they don't only help you understand where you are but where you want to go and have the advice and guidance to actually help you move forward,” said Shetty.
Shetty also shared that getting advice doesn’t mean you’re required to follow it. Sometimes just understanding that there is a solution to your problem and there is a way out is enough to relieve the stress and pressure.
Habit Four: Strengthen Your Mind
Jay Shetty’s fourth habit for eliminating stress is to strengthen your mind. In order to strengthen your mind, he suggests following the 3 Ps, three guidelines that teach you how to learn from and study the lives of influential people.
The first P is Person. Understand the person and understand what they went through. Think about what the person experienced and how they reacted and responded to their experiences.
The second P is Principle. You need to figure out what principle, or moral, you can take away from their story. What can you learn from this person’s story?
The third P is Practical. Find what the person’s practical step was. What did the person DO in order to end up where they are? Maybe the person had help from others, or maybe they kept pushing forward. Whatever it was they did, that is their practical step.
These three steps will help you analyze the stories of people you find interesting so you can take their success story and use it to help you create your own success story.
Habit Five: Exercise
Habit five is exercise, and as Jay Shetty says, “There is no substitute for it”. Exercise and movement are so important for the mind and body. Exercise helps reduce stress and pressure in your life and provides an escape for you to get out of your head.
There are tons of different ways to stay moving and incorporate exercise into your life. Because of quarantine, there has been an increase in virtual workouts. Find one that you enjoy that you can do in the safety of your home.
Exercising consistently can be difficult at the start, especially if you hate the gym. At the start, you just have to show up and keep going. As you keep pushing yourself, it will get easier. In time you will notice a difference in how you’re feeling mentally and physically. The benefits are going to be worth it.
Habit Six: Laughter
“Number six is something that I think is underrated and people don't often think about it,” said Jay Shetty about the sixth habit, laughter. Laughing is a great way to release and express emotion, lightening the pressure and stress you’re under.
There’s so much content out right now that’s good for laughter. Shetty recommends Amazon Prime’s collection of content featuring comedians. Telling jokes, making funny videos, watching comedy – the options are endless. The important thing is to make sure you’re laughing.
“Laughter is such powerful medicine,” said Shetty.
A final tip that Jay Shetty has for helping with stress and pressure is to set a routine and organize your schedule in a calendar. He also mentions the importance of including both your personal life and professional life in your calendar so that you’re keeping your priorities balanced.
More From Jay Shetty
Listen to the entire On Purpose with Jay Shetty podcast episode on “6 Habits Successful People Use Under Extreme Pressure & Remaining Calm When You’re Stressed” now in the iTunes store or on Spotify. For more inspirational stories and messages like this, check out Jay’s website at jayshetty.me.