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From Stress to Peace: 3 Simple Tips for Daily Living

December 9, 2012 0 Comments


The chorus from the song “Respiration” by Blackstar came to mind this morning as I had a flashback to the cycle of stress I was trapped in just one year ago. I used to go to sleep and wake up with so much on my mind that it was hard for me to focus throughout the day. I also had no way of releasing the negative emotions I was feeling, until one day they released themselves.  Have you ever felt this way?

“So much on my mind I just can’t recline
Breath in….
Breath out…” ~Blackstar

As 2012 comes to a close, I’ve been reflecting on how significantly my life has shifted in just one year (For those looking for immediate relief: Don’t worry, many of the shifts happened well before the one year mark J). I’ve gone from a state of almost constant stress to a state of almost constant peace. I am so full of joy and gratitude for the shift that I had to share with others (hence, this blog).  So, today, I thought I would share a glimpse of the before and after of my daily routines.

Too many people have said to me, “I don’t have time to meditate or pray”…”I’m too busy to have any down time”…”I have to push myself while I’m young so I can relax later”…”There is so much to be done to save the world, I can’t sleep”…“I’m not a morning person.” These are also the exact excuses I used for not making the time for myself. That is, before I figured out (the hard way) there was indeed another way to live – a way that would allow me to get all the important things done while still making time for my well-being.  Without further ado, here is “From Stress to Peace: 3 Tips for Daily Living.”


Tip#1:  Ease into the Day

I can hear the sighs of frustration through the computer as you read the title of this tip.  Before you stop reading, let me explain my before and after.  When I was living in a state of stress, I would wake up at the last minute and have to rush to get myself and my boys ready and hurry out the door – just barely making it to work on time.  I had zero reflective time.  You know how that worked for me?  NOT well at all ;-).  I was angry, I was always rushing, I regularly forgot things, and many mornings I had an attitude with my husband and the boys.  I never entertained the idea of getting up earlier because the boys (who are almost 4 and 2 years old) were waking us up no later than 6:00am on a daily basis (yes, weekends too).

In January of this year, I went on a personal retreat that totally shifted my morning routine for good.  While at the ashram, I woke up at 4:30am daily to get to 5:00 meditation.  The first day it was tough, but it got easier and easier as the days went on.  Now, my “body alarm” just wakes me up anywhere between 4:00-4:30am (on most days) and I typically get up right away to get as much quiet time in before the boys wake up.  I use that time for meditation, prayer, reading my lesson in the workbook of A Course in Miracles, and writing in my journal.  I can’t say enough how powerful this shift has been for me.  I know it seems impossible to get up earlier than your daily routine requires but, trust me, you won’t regret it for a minute!  Before you know it, it will become a habit.  Just like you never forget to brush your teeth (I hope ;-)), you won’t forget to have your quiet time in the morning.

Tip#2:  Take a True Mid-Day Break

When I was living in stress, I used to work through lunch almost every day.  I would suck down my food in between emails to colleagues and/or conference calls.  When I didn’t do that, I went to lunch with a colleague to talk about what we disliked most about this person or that person…this project or that project.  Needless to say, it was not a “break” at all.

In February of this year, I started taking true personal breaks mid-day.  It varies from day-to-day, but what stays the same is that fact that it is a true break.  I sometimes do a 5-10 minute meditation (Calm Meditation Radio on Pandora is nice – you can set a timer to remind you of when to stop), take a quick walk around the block, eat lunch in silence (no phone, internet, TV, etc.), write in my journal, read a little of an inspirational book, etc.  Even just 10 minutes of reflective time mid-day makes all the difference.  It reconnects me with my belief that I am living “IN the world, but am not OF the world.” (John 15:19; Romans 12:2)  All of the things I’m stressing about have no importance in the Real World.  It puts things into perspective.

Tip#3:  Schedule Evening Quiet Time

I used to watch TV, work, or surf the internet until I got sleepy.  Sometimes I would fall asleep with them still on and then wake up in the middle of the night to brush my teeth, wash my face, and finally lay down.  This left me feeling drained when I woke up.  It also left my mind full of thoughts about whatever I was just watching or reading, in addition to all the thoughts I had on my mind about work, family responsibilities, etc.

Now, I turn off the TV by 9:00pm.  I dedicate the hour of ~9:00-10:00 to quiet time.  I write my “to do” list for the next day, write in my journal, I forgive myself and others for whatever is still on my mind relating to what happened throughout the day, I think/write about what I’m grateful for, I re-read my daily lesson in the workbook of A Course in Miracles, listen to music, and I spend some time in meditation and prayer.  I don’t do each of these every single night, but some combination of them.


I believe these three shifts in my daily schedule have been immense contributors to the peace of mind I am now experiencing in most moments.  Yes, there was indeed more I did to support myself throughout this transition.  I focused on the daily routine in this post, but I have shared other strategies that worked for me in prior posts (For example, check out “Choosing Happiness” and “5 Steps to Releasing Negativity”).  The key is doing something differently.  Einstein’s quote about doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is one of my favorites.  How could I expect to magically experience peace when I didn’t even give 5 minutes of quiet time for myself throughout the day?

In order for all of this to work, there is another major step I had to take that relates to the daily routine.  I had to be willing to clear away the “nice to do” things in my daily schedule that were not contributing to my peace.  The first things to go for me were most of my TV shows.  I used to watch TV for hours, just to “get my mind off of all of my frustrations.”  I didn’t realize how much they were adding to my stress, but “hindsight is 20/20.”  I discuss what was getting “programmed” into me by what I was watching and reading more in my “From Darkness to Light” post, so I won’t go into that here.  Now, I watch an average of about 30 minutes of TV daily.  I record all of my shows, and watch them afterwards so I don’t waste time watching commercials.  I am also very deliberate about the shows that I watch, and I don’t watch anything that’s not contributing to what I am creating in my life.  I don’t have any regrets about now being a part of the conversation about the new “hot” show because what’s more important to me is my peace of mind.

If you are in a place in your own life in which you’re looking to experience more peace and less stress, I’d love to hear how these tips work for you if you decide to give any of them a try.  Don’t worry about doing it perfectly.  This will look different for everyone, as we all have different daily schedules and different things that are grabbing our attention (e.g. instead of TV/internet it may be hanging out a lot, etc.).  The main point is creating breathing space throughout your day.  Speaking of that, for those who are already experiencing consistent peace, I’d love to hear from you regarding some of the other ways that you maintain a calm mind throughout the day.  I’m sure other readers would appreciate your insights!  Much love!

Tired of stress and ready to be at peace – no matter what?  Click here for more information on the From Stress to Peace 21-Day Challenge!

Keep shining!


Kandace Jones
TWITTER: @coachkandace

About the Author:

I used to live life shackled by fear, doubt, and worry. I put on a happy face while navigating my day-to-day duties, but I was emotionally drained, stressed, and unhappy. When I hit rock bottom, and was diagnosed with depression and anxiety, I was determined to live life differently. I knew there had to be another way. Out of that determination, and guidance from Spirit, the "Living in the Light" blog was born. It documents my spiritual journey out of the darkness and into the Light. After nine months of publicly sharing my journey, and consciously releasing my attachment to the ego, I experienced a powerful spiritual awakening. I went from living in fear, doubt, worry, and stress to complete inner peace. My greatest passion has become assisting others on their own journey to inner peace. My spiritual memoir, From Stress to Peace: An Intimate Journal on the Journey from Living in Darkness to Living in the Light, is available now on Amazon and Click the tabs at the top of the page to learn more about the From Stress to Peace 21-Day Challenge, Living in the Light Retreats, 1:1 sessions, and the Living in the Light Community - all of which are designed to support your journey to inner peace. I appreciate you taking the time to visit the blog and look forward to supporting you in any way I can!