Grant me the strength to keep my heart open this week… To forgive and let go… To acknowledge my patterns of stress and release them… To be present, mindful, and kind.

— Nick Ortner

Each morning when I get up, I read an inspirational quote. Some of the quotes that I read are inspirational thoughts, some are affirmations, and some could even be considered prayers. The words that I read are a simple reminder for me of the goodness in my life. They start my day with a positive outlook and affirmations.

Grant Me

In Nick Ortner’s prayerful quote, he asks for several specific traits for the week. Each is an important, but the one that stands out to me is “To acknowledge my patterns of stress and release them.”

What are your patterns of stress?

All of us have patterns of stress. We all have triggers that can set off feelings of anxiety or depression, and that increase our stress levels. There might be people that we fall into patterns of behavior with who increase our stress and anxiety. Or a specific situation might be increasing your stress.

Ortner explains what we need to do with these patterns — acknowledge them and release them. We don’t have to be trapped by these triggers and these patterns. Often we find ourselves in a pattern because we don’t realize that we have a choice in how we respond. But the truth is that we do, when we stop and recognize that our pattern has been triggered, then we can choose a different response.

Think about a simple example. Every time you have a tough day at work, you come home and eat a pint of ice cream. That’s a pattern of stress. The tough day at work leads you to feel stress, maybe it also makes you anxious about how tomorrow is going to go, and you respond by eating ice cream for it’s sugar, dairy, and probably chocolate comfort.

When you acknowledge that is your pattern, then you can think about your tough day and choose how you want to respond to it. Instead of mindlessly scooping your way through the ice cream, you can decide if you want to eat that. You can decide how much you want to eat. And you can decide other activities that will help your level of stress and anxiety.

Notice your patterns of stress this week. What are your triggers and how can you release them? Let me know in the comments.

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