Stress Management and Coping with “What Is”​

Resilience expert Kenneth Ginsburg has a thoughtful 10-point stress management plan that you and your family should check out. The first three points address how we tackle problems,

  1. Identify and address the problem
  2. Avoid stress when possible
  3. Let some things go

Approaching these three with a balance helps you choose what is important and what needs to move to the background of your experience. 

My favorite mindful way to identify and address problems is The Five Problem Solving Questions. Introduced to me by Jonathan Foust, it invites the meditator to bring to mind a problem and then ask some key questions,

  • What’s great about this problem?
  • What’s not perfect yet?
  • What am I will to do about this problem?
  • What am I no longer willing to do about this problem?
  • How can I work on this problem and have a great time doing it?

You might try this practice with your eyes closed and something to write on nearby should insight arise. Knowing that you are unlikely to “solve” the problem, what advice do you have for yourself that might help reframe and soften your experience?

To support you, you might try out this short guided meditation which will walk you through each question.

We can’t eliminate fear and anxiety. And if we try, it tends to grow. When we approach difficult emotions with vulnerability and care, we learn to sit with our experience and let them unfold.

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