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Step One: Shrink the Bundle, Expand Like the Sky (3 minutes)
Why do it: The Buddha advises you to "make your mind vast like the sky," because when you lose perspective, your mind contracts into tight patterns of worry and fear. When you open your perspective, calm returns.
How to do it: Picture or imagine putting all your problems in a big package, a huge bundle all wrapped up. Take your time. Let it be as big as it needs to be. Now, picture or imagine that you can slowly shrink the bundle smaller and smaller, until it can fit in the palm of your hand. Place the bundle in the hands of your higher power or whoever is your spiritual support so he/she can help you care for it. Now, with your worries being held, relax. Imagine your mind can open to be vast like the sky. Thoughts and feelings move through the sky like clouds, but you are the sky, open and calm. Even if storms come, the sky remains open and lets them come and go. Rest.
Step Two: Reconnect with Your Best Intention (3 minutes)
Why do it: Your best intention is just another way of describing your heart's wisest and most compassionate motivation. You cannot always control the outcome of events, but you can act with your best intention no matter what. Stress usually evaporates when you know you've done what your best self believes in; there is no reason to regret your choices.
How to do it: Whatever the difficult circumstances, take a minute to stop and reconnect with your best intention. Stop in the middle of that tough conversation, frustrating conflict or troubling email—and pause. Turn away for a moment. Take three breaths. Ask yourself, "What is my best intention?" When your heart gives you the answer, then turn back and respond.
Next: How to relax your body to calm your nerves