I've posted before that one of my sacred practices is that whenever something infuriating, stressful or mildly annoying happens in my life, I try to remind myself "They can't have my peace." It looks like this in reality:
Scene: at work, been long week in the busy season, 45 things on my to-do list
Someone: sends an email with all kinds of snarkiness, attitude or otherwise rudeness
Me left to my own devices: Immediately - "OMG are they effing kidding?!"
Me, aware, trying to maintain a shift: *feels response rising* *deep breath* *6 more deep breaths* "Well, that was stupid but I'm not going to give up my peace over it."
This practice has been so critical in managing my stress level and sense of wellbeing. I won't lie, it took me a LONG time to let that be my response to stress. For my entire life, my tendency had been a super fast reaction to annoyance, stress and anger. One day long after I started practicing yoga, something happened. The usual work or life annoyances. And suddenly, I heard myself say "treat it like a yoga pose." And instead of fighting and tensing up, I softened into it. Like trikonasana, it's only comfortable when you stop the tension and accept the pose for what it is. That day was a game changer.
It takes a long time before that little voice creeps in during a moment of stress to convince you to stop reacting and instead, respond. One of the best ways I've found to do it: keep coming to the mat. When you're too busy for yoga, that's when you need it the most.
When you practice, find the steadiness and focus that makes you feel calm. Cultivate the energy it fills you with. Practice to really earn that peace. Notice how good that feeling right then really is. To not be overwhelmed or busy. Watch closely and see it change and shift your cells. Build a focus so strong you can hold it for hours. Protect your peace at all costs. Don’t let the stress and BS of daily living take it from you. Don’t let anything be so important that you’ll give up your peace for it. Your peace is the currency of a happy life. Save it, hoard it, invest it, pay it forward.
But don’t exchange it for just anything. You will always be the one to lose if you do. You'll always be the one who has the most to lose from your reactions and your stress.