In the first part of this series on Anti-Fragility Fitness, we talked about the driving concepts of change management, and the essential capacities of presence, acceptance, suspending judgment, and voicing what matters. Today, as we look at stress management, many of the same principles apply.

At its core, managing stress is of course about finding a calm respite in the chaotic flow of life. Life itself will inevitably bring stress, especially for those of us who choose to create and exist in the space of creativity, but it doesn’t have to be a paralyzing force that gets in the way of our authentic calling.

In fact, to truly live in a way that honors your nature and your calling, you MUST manage stress and uncertainty.

In the audio presentation below, we’ll look at some of the methods (and the principles that drive them) for remaining present, accepting reality as it is, and persevering through difficult, stressful moments.

Managing stress is often a matter of converting complexity into understanding, about reframing a situation or focusing attention on what truly matters, and about taking the time to recenter, reconnect, and realign with our place in the universe.

This requires agility and determination, but how do we find perseverance?

First and foremost, presence. So much of the stress we experience is related to the past or the future. We’re either worrying about an outcome or holding on to something that has already happened, so focusing on the present moment has a way of disempowering the stressor.

You’re likely familiar with the idea of mindfulness as it applies to meditation, but what about in every other aspect of life? Remaining present is an act of radical acceptance – of acknowledging the world as it is in this very moment, with all its ambiguity and uncertainty.

Even if you don’t meditate (though you should give it a try), you can still use mindfulness in your daily life. The more you train your mind to stay in the present, the less room the past and future will have in your thoughts. It takes practice, but presence is the first place to start managing stress.

Next, connection with nature (both literally and figuratively). Time in nature has a grounding, calming effect because it reminds us who we really are – connected to the earth and the universe, a co-creator of reality. Through time in nature, we can also reconnect with our own inner nature. As it relates to managing stress, this reconnection to our inner selves provides new knowledge about how we form expectations, how we handle certain scenarios, how we react to adversity, and so on. When you form a deeper understanding of your own unique stress responses, you’ll be better prepared to see them coming, and more importantly, to prevent them from taking over.

Nature is a gateway to reflection, healing, and a reason to slow down your mind. Spend time in nature, let yourself be touched by beauty and the natural world, and see how it builds what’s inside of you.

Right alongside time in nature is movement. Moving your body is a natural part of life, and will help you release stress energy in a healthy way. This could be a walk, a hike, a dance, a bike ride… Getting your body in motion is a simple, direct way to manage stress.

Stress management is about slowing down, being mindful, and taking things one step at a time. Slow is the new fast. Not getting trapped in the past or future, not getting trapped in what others think, but instead being right here, right now.

Focus on the present, reconnect with the natural world, move your body, and breathe.