How to Release Stressful Thoughts

    This week, we’re talking about ways to release stress in our lives. Yesterday, we talked about having a daily practice of active relaxation such as Qigong, T’ai Chi, Yoga, deep breathing, or meditation. Today, we’ll explore a practice to release stressful thoughts.

    One way to look at stressful thoughts is to see them as the result of making judgments about what “should be” in contrast to “what is.” When you judge “what is” by the way you think things “should be” that creates stress. To see if that is the case, when you feel stressed-out, you might try asking this question:

    “What do I think ‘should’ be happening right now?”

    See if you can put that into a “should” sentence. For example, “You should have been on time for our appointment,” “You should pick your clothes up off the floor,” “You should consider my feelings,” “Traffic should be moving faster,” “The government shouldn’t spend so much,” “The government should spend more to help the economy,” “I should stop smoking” or “I should exercise.”

    Becoming conscious of your “should” statement frees you from being subconsciously “gripped” by it. It frees you from reacting with the negative emotional charge contained in your “should.” This opens the way for you to look at how “things are” and accept them. It opens the way for you to see the reasons why things are the way they are, instead of fighting against them. It opens the way for you to consciously choose the best course of action, given what is actually happening.

    Who knows, maybe there’s even an unseen gift in the way things are that your “should” didn’t take into account. The fact that you are late could be what kept you from getting into that accident that happened just a couple minutes ahead of you. Who knows?

    The basic idea is to become aware of your “shoulds,” accept what is actually happening, and move forward in the best way possible, given the circumstances. As you can train your mind to consciously go through this process, you release yourself from the stress that results from “should.”


    Kevin Schoeninger

    P.S. Meditation is a great way to learn to observe your thoughts and accept what is happening. Learn more here: “Secrets of Meditation

      Leave a Reply