One of my favourite practices when under stress (created by trying to control how things should be, and not actually dealing with how they are!) is to take five minutes and stop whatever I am doing.
I then allow all the thoughts in that time to come up, and imagine attaching them to passing clouds, and do nothing else with them. In that way, all the sabotaging thoughts that are lurking come to the surface, and I do not react to them as I would normally do; they just come up and are allowed to go past.
An example of this would be; thought ’no one will want to read the book I am writing’: action – attach it to a cloud and let it drift past. Thought: ‘what else is happening the rest of the week’ – action: attach it to a cloud and let it go past. Thought: ‘why don’t you get a move on and launch some of the ideas you have’ – action: attach it to a cloud and let it go past. You get the picture.
Normally, as I have these thoughts, they would act as a hook and I would react to them, trying to push them away, or carrying out some form of knee-jerk reaction to make them better.
At the end of 3-5 minutes I feel clearer, more present, able to exercise choice, and respond rather than reacting to whatever is going on. In that space of clarity, I choose what I want to put my attention to, and move on in a much more powerful and calm way.
Sometimes I do this exercise hourly, other times not at all. It just depends how attached I am, and the amount of stress I am experiencing.
Have a go yourself – and do let me know the results.