Beating stress with peaceful ways

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  • Friday, 12 Jun 2015

Keeping calm: The writer suggests meditating, even for just 10 minutes, to pull oneself together.

Tried and tested tips to help you handle life’s pressure

Like everyone else, I go through times when I’m under pressure.

The stress may be caused by work or come from challenging circumstances in my personal life.

Sometimes, it’s because I find the art of balancing life and work a struggle – and end up feeling overwhelmed from the various responsibilities and tasks I have to carry out.

Other times, it’s financial – when there are so many bills to pay, and more expenses come flooding in. I’m sure this is something most people can identify with.

When I’m stressed, I find that giving into the feelings of anxiety and fear of failure can be quite disastrous. I lose focus and I get all over the place.

In moments like these, I have to take a deep calming breath and try to find a centre of peace, from which I can then make sense of the chaos around me and put some order into my life.

When I was much younger, I wasn’t particularly good at dealing with stress. It was only as I got older, and slightly wiser, that I came up with various means to overcome it.

The first thing I realised was that I had to learn to prioritise. Which were the most important things I had to do – the ones I had no choice about or the ones that could be put on the back burner till I had more time on my plate?

Prioritising has saved me time when I had my back against the wall, encumbered by time constraints with too many things to do.

I learnt to let go of the less important things. To leave it till a better time presented itself when I could deal with them.

I also learnt about not paying attention to other people’s ideas of what ought to be your priorities.

We are surrounded by people who, with the best of intentions, inform us on what we should do.

But many times, while we may agree, we just don’t have the time to take the action suggested.

In circumstances like these, I have learnt to just take it all in, and then reflect by myself whether or not it’s crucial for me to do as they suggest.

I have stopped arguing with people on what they feel is important for my life because I realise it comes from a generosity of spirit.

The other thing I do when under pressure is to find just a little bit of time for myself, which I surround with barbed wire.

It may be late at night or very early in the morning, but I will find a window of time to do something for myself which has nothing to do with duties, obligations, roles and responsibilities.

This is my “me time” – it may be in the form of listening to music, reading a book or catching up on a TV programme.

Meditating is another way I take a step back from stress. When I am pushed for time, I spend just 10 minutes on meditation.

It doesn’t take long, but after those 10 minutes, a sense of calmness and serenity descend upon me.

I am able to put things in perspective. I realise that there will be a period of time when I have a multitude of things to do, but if I just keep one foot in front of the other and plod on, I will get through it all.

I have a bunch of phrases which I have picked up over the years and adapted to suit my needs which I repeat to myself like a mantra when I feel overwhelmed.

“This too will pass” – meaning hard/bad/challenging times won’t continue forever. “Nothing stays forever” – things will change, it’s an inevitability of life.

There’s one more thing I do – ask someone I love for a hug.

It gives me a sense of affirmation of the love in my life which overshadows all the stress in the world that I have to deal with.

If you find yourself overcome by the various pressure points in your life, remember, that only you have the power to overcome it.

Give yourself some tools and help when you need it most.

Sheila Stanley is a writer, TV producer and PR/media consultant based in Kuala Lumpur. You can get in touch with her on Twitter @sheila_stanley or via e-mail at

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