My little dog Rafa has a pink pig toy, with which he likes to sleep. Children often sleep with a favorite teddy bear, other plush toy or security blanket. This is called “a transitional object,” a substitute for the primary caregiver. Adults may have a favorite pillow, worry stones or worry beads. If you are religious, you may have a rosary, a prayer rope, mala beads or something else for your spiritual practice.
These are stress relievers because all of us need to know how to self-soothe. When I was working with outpatients who anticipated hospitalization, we would often strategize how they could make themselves more comfortable in their future hospital room. Would they bring a favorite pillow, blanket or stuffed animal? Could they bring an iPod with their favorite music? Was there a sacred text or any object for spiritual practice, which encouraged them?
What about you? You may not be dealing with the stress of hospitalization, but you are probably dealing with some other stressful situation in your life. Is it a presentation, task or goal at work? Has a family relationship or situation been difficult and painful? Is the way forward unclear and problematic? You can take responsibility to give yourself a happiness break every day. With a little creativity, you can choose to soothe yourself with an intentional break from stress. What puts you in a calmer space?
Once I have become calmer, that is the time when I can rest in God’s presence. I can turn everything over to God again. As Frederick Buechner writes, “Leave it to God. It is an astonishing thought. It can be come a life-transforming thought…unclench the fists of your spirit and take it easy…What deadens us most to God’s presence within us, I think, is the inner dialogue that we are continuously engaged in with ourselves, the endless chatter of human thought. I suspect that there is nothing more crucial to true spiritual comfort…than being able from time to time to stop that chatter…”
May you find the ability to unclench the fists of your spirit and take it easy. May you stop the chatter and find spiritual comfort within.