How to Release Stress and Frustration Instantly!

    Last week, we explored the fact that personal change is simply recognizing your current habits, acknowledging that they are just habits which can be changed and not character traits fixed in stone, and then practicing what you would rather be doing instead.

    As Thomas Sterner says in The Practicing Mind:

    “With deliberate and repeated effort progress is inevitable.” (p. 94)

    Today, let’s talk about the state of mind or quality of attention that will shift your perspective immediately—present-moment engagement in what you are doing.

    We are trained from an early age to be focused on results and rewards that are “out there” somewhere in the future. We think that when we get “there” or “achieve that,” then we’ll be happy. Unfortunately, this isn’t true. If and when we get “there,” we simply project some other idea out in front of us and chase after that. That’s a habit we’re trained to follow.

    Obsessive focus on future results also takes us out of present enjoyment and hampers the progress of actually getting what we desire because we hold onto an ideal of what “should” be happening. We get frustrated and stressed because we hold onto an imaginary idea of what we should be, do, or have and/or how fast and perfectly we should be progressing. This is a recipe for self-criticism and poor results.

    Instead, the mindset that will reduce your stress and frustration while actually improving your enjoyment and results is being consciously engaged in what you are doing at the moment.

    What does that mean?

    It means “being present” in what you are doing. You do this by slowing things down, simplifying what you are doing down to one thing, and intently focusing exclusively on that one thing at a time.

    That doesn’t mean that you forget about results. Results are in the background, on your mental horizon, invisibly guiding the process. Yet paying attention to the details of what you are doing right now is how you get “there” most enjoyably and effectively. You focus on the quality of what you are actually doing instead of on some idea of how it should be going. This instantly relieves stress and frustration.

    Periodically step back and observe if what you are doing is headed in the right direction, make adjustments, and then get back to paying attention to exactly what you are doing in the moment. Enjoy it. Appreciate it. Be very present in it. Then, observe what works and what doesn’t, as objectively as possible, without self-criticism. Adjust your present actions accordingly. And return to engaging in what you are doing with full present-moment attention.

    Enjoy your practice!


    Kevin Schoeninger

    P.S. The Power of Practice Program guides you in how to engage in present-moment daily practices in every area of your life. Click here to learn more.

      2 Responses to “How to Release Stress and Frustration Instantly!”

      1. Kandu says:

        Kevin, in my case, to my negative self-talk/”inner bully” (whatever you want to call it) it’s never enough although you’ve had success. Then, what can I do?

        1. Hi Kandu,
          A simple thing you can practice immediately is to observe your inner self-talk without reacting to it. Adopt the perspective of an outside observer and witness what you are doing without identifying with it. This gives you some detachment and distance from your negative self-talk. Then, you can more easily choose a different perspective.


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