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  • Writer's pictureLaura Greer

4 Steps to Reduce Urgency, Anxiety and Stress

Woman frustrated with sticky notes of roles and responsibilities

I forgot the muffins.

That was AFTER I had gotten a few minutes down the road before doing an about face to retrieve my purse from home.

Did I remember the muffins when I went back home to grab my purse?


It wasn't until I arrived at my friend's home, half an hour later, that the realization dawned on me.

The irony? I was heading out for an intentional pause - a morning to reduce stress and calm my anxiety. My friend and I had planned a brunch, with coffee to follow as we sat in rockers on her serene porch, overlooking a breathtaking view.

And I was supposed to bring the muffins.

I had even set an alarm for an hour before as a reminder. My mind just had too many tabs open, and I forgot.

Note to self: Schedule alarms closer to the time of departure and place a sticky note with my keys!

Keys and a sticky note reminder

My friend graciously provided brunch and asked me to not think on it any more after my profuse apologies.

Another irony - isn't it interesting how we often dwell on the things we want to forget, when we so easily forget the things we want to remember?

The morning after our time together, I read a post about taking a pause. Then my devotion for that morning hit upon the same message, reminding me that research shows those who take short breaks not only achieve more each day, but also make fewer mistakes and experience less stress.

When I receive repeated messaging from different sources in the span of a day, it gets my attention. There's something there I'm supposed to know and remember. Especially when one of the sources is a printed book in my hands that can't be affected by algorithms directing certain themes to my attention.

We are merely moving shadows, and all our busy rushing ends in nothing. Psalm 39:6 NLT

Anyone can experience forgetfulness under stress. Having ADHD, something I consider to be awesome in many ways, can also present additional challenges with forgetfulness. Forgetfulness is exacerbated when our minds are on overload. Even though I was heading out for an intentional time of pause, my mind was, as it often is, in many different places. That's the reason I have to be intentional about taking a pause.

Although it's wise to plan intentional times of pause to settle our souls, as time with my friend did so deeply, it's also wise to recognize the signs of needing to take a pause in the moment.

We need to pay attention to our feelings, and examine them in the pause. Am I stressed? Am I experiencing anxiety? Am I feeling an urgency that may be of my own making?

Here are 4 steps to guide you as you work intentionally to reduce urgency, anxiety and stress:

  1. Begin with a few deep breaths to calm your nervous system.

  2. Ask yourself if you've given your body and mind the hydration, nutrition and stretching it needs to function optimally. If not, grab a glass of water, a healthy snack, and do a few stretches. Our brains and bodies need this before we begin our day, and especially before we get on any devices.

  3. Give yourself at least a few minutes of quiet time, still being intentional with your breath. Read something inspirational, journal, pray, meditate and/or continue stretching.

  4. Now, examine your feelings and the thought process behind them. What is causing that sense of urgency, stress, and anxiety? As you continue to breathe deeply, ask what false narrative you may be playing in your mind that feeds these feelings.

For example, I can easily fall into the trap of checking my email and socials first thing in the morning. When I do so, the task list starts mounting, and my anxiety compounds. A sense of urgency kicks in as my brain falsely tells me I need to respond to all the needs as quickly as possible.

I'm working to be more intentional about not checking email first thing in the morning. That's the time when my brain needs more space to think and I naturally lean more into creative thinking. With these 4 steps, an intentional morning would look more like:

  1. I begin with deep breathing. It calms my nervous system and helps me think more clearly.

  2. I drink water as soon as I'm up, before coffee or breakfast. Our brains need hydration! Then I eat something that won't trigger an inflammatory response to derail my day. Usually a green protein smoothie, a gluten-free muffin, an omelet, or something similar.

healthy snacks, water, a salad, and weights to nourish a brain

3. Then, I do some inspirational reading and journaling. Here I can write creatively and maybe do some big dream visioning. And if you don't see yourself as a creative person, I encourage you to reconsider. We all have the ability to co-create, we just need to tap into that which has already been placed within. I once thought I didn't have a creative bone in my body, but it just took some exploration and dedication to try!

4. Once my brain has taken in some self-care and released some creativity, it's ready to think more logically. This is a good time to open my email or work on tasks. Rarely are any of them marked "urgent." The urgency is self-inflicted. I can recognize this now that my brain has had the time, nutrition and hydration that fuels it.

Ok, and maybe some caffeine...☕😁

Chime in on the comments below. Which step(s) do you struggle the most with? Why do you think that is?

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6월 25일
별점 5점 중 5점을 주었습니다.

Great advice, especially about not checking emails etc first thing. And the muffins 😀ended well!

Laura Greer
Laura Greer
6월 27일
답글 상대:

Thank you! I know how difficult it is. It's a struggle, but we can do it!

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