People often assume that because I teach meditation and mindfulness for a living, I don’t ever get stressed. They’ll say to me, “Your life must be so zen,” and I get a kick out of it every time!

I have the same stresses as everyone else. I have kids that play sports and need to be carpooled like crazy, work deadlines, a house to run, aging parents, and everything else in between. Life feels anything but zen most days! The difference is, I have tools that help me to deal with, and recover from stress really quickly, so that stress takes the back seat in my life, and joy has the steering wheel.

These tools make up my personal Trigger Plan, and I encourage everyone to have one too. A Trigger Plan consists of a few things that you know bring you back to center and balance quickly, and without fail. The goal is to refocus and shift your energy, and bring yourself back to the present moment. Since it can be difficult to manage this in stressful situations, a Trigger Plan helps you know exactly what to do to achieve this goal. The more you use your Trigger Plan, the more habitual it becomes, and the better it works.

My personal Trigger Plan consists of:

  • one minute meditations
  • snuggling with my dog
  • making a cup of tea
  • taking a quick walk

Your breath is the most portable self-care and self-help tool you have, so I recommend everyone have one minute mediations on there. (Click here for tips on how to do these)

Some other ideas are:

  • a nice hot bath
  • journaling
  • connecting with a friend
  • exercise
  • reading
  • a steamy shower
  • cooking
  • stretching or a few light yoga poses
  • singing
  • a quick dance break
  • spiritual reading

What works for you is very personal, but I hope this list gets your creative juices going. A few items on your Trigger Plan can take longer, like a bath, but a few should be short and sweet, and extremely portable, like using your breath or stretching.

When creating your Trigger Plan, I’d go with the “you can date it before you marry it” approach. If you try something and it doesn’t feel right, switch it up! Date your ideas and then solidify your plan.

The more you practice these tools, the more they will help you in moments of stress and overwhelm. I work my plan all day long. If my kids are driving me crazy, someone cuts me off on the freeway, or I am having thoughts that don’t feel good or productive, I use my Trigger Plan. This tool has helped to transform my days, and I know it will do the same for you.

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