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  • Resilient Practice

Lightening the Load

Updated: Jun 19, 2021

There may be days when you feel weighed down with worries and anxieties.

These can be crippling psychologically, and our posture can even become affected. We as if feel the weight of the world is on our shoulders.

The things that we worry about are very individual to us. There might be concerns about work, children, elderly parents, or others who are dependent on us, time constraints, or the quality of our performance. Some of us worry about the environment, politics and social problems.

Often, we worry about what others think of us. We ruminate about things that have happened in the past and whether we did the right thing. We worry about things that might happen in the future, picturing the worst-case scenario in order to prepare for it. Will things work out the way we want them to?

Worry and rumination generates fear. When we are fearful, our stress hormone levels rise. Persistently high levels of cortisol and adrenaline lead to gastrointestinal symptoms, headaches, poor sleep and impaired memory and cognition. When in this state, we are less effective in everything that we do. This risks us making mistakes which we will then, later ruminate over perpetuating the cycle of worry and fear.

When we spend time thinking about the past and future, we are not present.

Worrying about things that we have no control over at all uses up vast amounts of energy. When we are worrying and ruminating, we quickly feel overwhelmed. We hesitate and lose trust in ourselves and our abilities. We procrastinate.

We cannot change the past and we cannot control the future. The only place we have real power is in the present moment.

Would it not then, be better to focus our energy here?

The fact is that the choices we make now, will impact the future. By staying present, we have an opportunity to invest our energy in looking for solutions to the problems that are worrying us. If we stay present and avoid projecting ourselves into the past or future, we can circumvent the worry/fear cycle and become more constructive.

Imagine how effective we could be if we were not weighed down by worry.

Freeing ourselves from worries and anxiety is a choice. We can do it. We can choose what to think. Some people don’t believe that this is possible, but we can prove it!

When someone asks us to do something that we are not interested in. The thought of it goes in one ear and out the other. It is easily dismissed.

Only when a thought carries emotional weight do we give it our attention and make it bigger.

We can, however, choose to dismiss those thoughts too. The more we do this, the easier it becomes.

There are different ways to do this. Our book 'How to Rise - A Complete Resilience Manal' from Sheldon Press takes you on a journey of self-discovery; it shares over 60 tools and techniques, including meditations with purpose, visualisation exercises and practical tools to help improve your mental wellbeing, reduce anxiety and allow you to take control of your life.

It has tools showing you how to reframe both fearful thoughts and negative core beliefs, and exercises to help you live mindfully.

This week we share a mediation designed to help you lighten your load, letting go of anxieties and worries that you have been holding onto.

Try This:

Begin by bringing your attention to your breathing.

Take your awareness to the tidal ‘in and out’ of your breath

As you do this, begin to slow and deepen those breaths

Taking the air right down into the bottoms of your lungs

And now as you deepen and slow

Become aware of the feeling of calm stillness that settles over you

Now as you breathe deeply and slowly

Just begin to allow the out breath to become just a little bit longer that the in breath

Deeply and slowly


Imagine you are walking up a slope

It is the cool pre-dawn morning

There is a hint of sunrise at the horizon

A hazy pink glow that signifies the hope of a new day

The path is smooth and clear

but the going is hard

And you can feel the strain in your muscles

Your breathing quickens and comes harder and faster

The slope gradually rises towards the dawn

You keep going determined in your progress

You then realise that the pocket of the coat you are wearing is full of stones

You can feel the weight of them dragging you down

An awareness comes to you that this why your journey feels so arduous

So you pull out one of the stones

It is covered in neat writing

You read it aloud

It perfectly describes a recent worry that you have had on your mind

You know what the worry is

It is totally recognisable

You now have a choice

Do you put the stone back in your pocket and let it impede your progress?

Or do you let the stone go, allowing it to roll down the hill?

The decision is difficult

Is there anything you can do about this particular worry right now?

If not then let the stone drop

As you do this, you will feel a lightening of your load

Now choose another stone

What does this one say?

Again, decide whether there is action needed right now

Or whether you can let it go

You may have one or two stones

You may have a pocketful

Take the time to evaluate all the worries that you carry

Revel in this opportunity to let them go

One by one

Each time you drop a stone you feel your load lessen

When you are ready

You can begin to walk again

Now you can pick up your pace

Discarding stones as you go

As your load lightens you can go faster and faster

Until you feel as though you are almost flying

Right up to the top of the hill

And as the last stone rolls away from you

You crest the hill

Bursting into a glorious sunrise

The new sun warms your skin

You feel light and free

At the very top you stop and drink in the view

The whole world spread out below

Infinite opportunities

Without your worries weighing you down you feel amazing

Stay in this space enjoying this feeling for as long as you need to

When you are ready

You can start to walk down the other side of the hill

Into the future that you have chosen

Free of past worries and concerns

You can pick your way slowly down the hill

Or run as fast as you can

Exhilarated by the experience

The choice is yours

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