Simple Tools for Managing Stress, Finding Inner Peace & Happiness

From the Show: Naturally Savvy
Summary: How do you disconnect from the anxiety and stress of the external world, when you're constantly being bombarded?
Air Date: 2/4/15
Duration: 10
Host: Andrea Donsky, RHN and Lisa Davis, MPH
Guest Bio: Barb Schmidt, Author
Barb Schmidt is an international speaker, philanthropist, spiritual mentor, and best-selling author of The Practice. She has devoted more than 30 years to her studies with inspirational leaders such as Deepak Chopra, Thich Nhat Hanh, Scott Peck, Buddhist nun Tenzin Palmo, Thomas Merton scholar James Finley, and Marianne Williamson.
In 2001, Barb brought a larger community into discussions on peace initiatives with her partnership with Florida Atlantic University’s Peace Studies program. In addition to speaking globally, she offers workshops and classes on spiritual practices and hosts events with many notable speakers including the Dalai Lama, Dr. Jane Goodall, Caroline Myss, Dan Millman, Gabrielle Bernstein, Tara Stiles, and James Finley.
Believing that “outer peace begins with inner peace,” in 2011, Barb founded Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life, to further serve those who seek to live a meaningful, happy life, and to fulfill her passion to bring peace to the world. Through this nonprofit, she teaches The Practice—a three-part guide to practical spirituality in today’s modern, and often chaotic, world. She lives in Boca Raton, Florida, with her husband, Dick.
  • Book Title: The Practice: Simple Tools for Managing Stress, Finding Inner Peace, and Uncovering Happiness
  • Guest Twitter Account: @PeacefulBarb
Simple Tools for Managing Stress, Finding Inner Peace & Happiness
How do you disconnect from the anxiety and stress of the external world, when you're constantly being bombarded?

Barb Schmidt is an international speaker, philanthropist, spiritual mentor, and best-selling author of The Practice, in which she teaches a three-point framework for dealing with daily anxiety and stress.

Start the day by spending time with yourself and connecting with yourself. "Plug in to yourself before you start plugging into the external world," says Schmidt. This can be done with a simple meditation or mantra.

Carry that mindfulness, peacefulness into the day by living in the present, in the moment. The mind likes to take you away from living in the moment, so bring it back with some deep breaths or a mantra.

Also, nourish yourself with opportunities that will raise your level of consciousness. There is so much mindless content out there, from brash reality TV shows to the nonsense on Facebook. Take time to listen to an educational podcast, or read something that will bring you to the next level of awareness. You don't have to eliminate those other things, but supplement them with knowledge and instruments of mindfulness.

At the end of the day, practice letting go. Reflect on the day; make peace with it. Say to yourself, "I've done the best that I can... no I will go peacefully into the night and wake up tomorrow with that same peace."

Schmidt says these tactics can apply to anyone... from professional athletes to autistic or autism-spectrum adults.

Listen in as Schmidt joins Andrea and Lisa to share more about "The Practice" and how you can start implementing it in your own life.

RadioMD Presents:Naturally Savvy | Original Air Date: Wednesday, February 4, 2015
Hosts: Andrea Donsky, RHN and Lisa Davis, MPH
Guest: Barb Schmidt

Lisa: Wouldn’t it be nice to have an easy practice that could help you feel a bit more peaceful, less stressful and more mindful? Well, we have got the practice for you. We have got Barb Schmidt who is actually the author of The Practice: Simple Tools for Managing Stress, Finding Inner Peace, and Uncovering Happiness. She joins us now. Hi, Barb.

Barb: Hi, happy Wednesday.

Lisa: It’s so great to have you on the program. I understand that The Practice is made up of a 3 point framework. What are they and how do they work?

Barb: Great question. The 3 point framework is really a recipe guide; I call it book of recipes. You start the day waking up, and what do you do to start the day? You get out of bed and spend some time with yourself, sort of a meditation practice, really connecting with you before you launch into the day. I tell people to plug into you first before you start plugging into the rest of the world. That’s the first thing to do, waking up. Then we carry that mindfulness, that connectedness to ourselves, that peacefulness, to the living present.

The second part of the day is the living present. How do I do that? I practice on focusing attention and I have some exercise in there. How do I bring my mind back to the moment? We only have this moment. The mind likes to carry us away, how do I continue to bring my mind back to the moment with a breath, with the use of a mantra? Then I really talk to the third part of the living present. How do we start nourishing ourselves with some reading that is other than the things that are out there? Like this show, listening and reading and watching things that are actually nourishing and causing us to raise the level of our consciousness. Not eliminating the other things, but adding this into your day.

Then, at the end of the day, is the letting go. How do we reflect on the day, make peace with it? Go through a little 5 minute exercise and really set that intention of letting go of the day. I’ve done the best I can. I can’t change anything. How can I go into a peaceful night’s sleep, waking up tomorrow with a brand new day? Full of energy and not burdened with what happened yesterday. That’s The Practice.

Lisa: I think that sounds like an amazing practice. What about for those that are going through, let’s say, acute stress. Would you recommend keeping the same type of protocol, or is there another protocol that you have in place?

Barb: Acute stress for me, what has happened during my 30 years of practice, acute stress comes when I’m not able to be in the moment, feeling the feelings that are happening. Usually when I’m feeling the most stressed it’s because I’m in the past, ruminating over something, or I’m in the future, worrying or having some anxiety over what might happen. This practice of sitting down with yourself in a meditation practice, five minutes – I’m not talking about anything long, when you read the book there is no right or wrong way to do it. It’s really just being. What happens when you get out of your mind and start focusing on your breath or the mantra, whatever tool or object that you pick? You start to enter your heart. The heart is our biggest energy field. It’s where we are sensitive. It’s where we feel things. Most stresses are caused by not actually feeling or identifying what’s going on with me in the moment so I can release it. The technique of sitting with yourself, feeling, then letting go, it’s the same thing all day long. How do I actually do that? How do I be in this moment and feel it so that I can understand it and release it.

Lisa: Now Barb, I know that you have a new initiative for athletes and coaches and you call it ‘Zen Sports.’ What is that?

Barb: I do. I’m a sports fan, for sure. We can be mindful, and I’m teaching this practice and I’m teaching how to be mindful to the ordinary moments of our day in the morning, in the afternoon, and in the evening. So I’m looking at sports. What causes a player to be able to make that field goal at the end of the game? He has to be in the moment. He has to know full, and in his body, that he can make that field goal. My greatest desire is helping to teach athletes that mindfulness, having that peak performance on the field, but ultimately, that practice carries off the field. Some of the things we see happening today in the NFL, and with athletes in general, can start to subside if I can learn how to manage my anger, manage my stress, and bring myself back to the moment and take a breath. I might not be so quick to lash out at a person or lash out and make a decision in my life that’s going to affect me for the rest of my life. I’m really looking at how does the athlete really embody himself or herself on the field and off the field and really live their greatest life on the field and off the field. That curriculum based on The Practice, helps athletes, coaches and trainers do this.

Lisa: It seems like that can help everyone. It could help ‘Zen Moms.’ Zen at work, right? Taking those principals and dealing with our anger. Andrea?

Andrea: I love that you said that.

Barb: It is what I’m doing. I started this non-profit, Peaceful Mind, Peaceful Life, so all of the profits from everything that I do go into this non-profit. The programs are Zen Sports and I’m teaching autistic adults, I’ve been working with autistic adults now for a year. Helping them realize that they are complete, they are magnificent. You know, they have a tendency to feel like they don’t matter or they don’t measure up to other people because they do have this autism. It’s been an amazing practice for me to work with them; they’ve taught me so much. The Practice is for everyone. It’s your way of empowering yourself, getting yourself grounded on your own 2 feet, walking the life you came to walk, knowing that you’re complete, knowing that you’re strong, knowing that the external world is out there and chaotic and frenzied and anxiety producing, but it’s not who you really are. It’s for everyone.

Andrea: I really like that, especially working with the autistic adults. My daughter is on the spectrum and she has a lot of issue with self-regulation. Have you noticed that with these folks, and you have been able to help them?

Barb: Yes I have and yes I have been able to help them. I’ll tell you one of the greatest stories, I meet with them once a week, and one of the greatest stories one of the young men told me gives me goose bumps every time I hear it. He said “Mrs. Barb, I’m able now to take a breath.” He gets very anxious if the bus doesn’t come on time. The patience level for him in particular has been pretty high. He’s had difficulty finding the patience. He said “Mrs. Barbara, now I take a deep breath and I realize that I can’t control that, but I can control my patience or my anger or my frustration.” What happened was he was able to that and he let the bus driver know, because they’re at the mercy of these people driving the bus, and they really haven’t been very kind, let’s just put it that way. They show up late or they leave them without any notice that they were there to be picked up. He was able to take a breath and let the bus driver know “You left without me yesterday and that wasn’t good for me because I didn’t have a ride then.” I was so proud of him because usually he’s just angry and frustrated and takes it out on himself. “It was my fault, I was late, or I did something wrong.” Looking at how I contributed you this instead of taking a breath, separating a little bit from that anger, but saying: “Look, don’t do that anymore.” He was literally running after the bus down the street. The guy left him. It’s a process and it’s a practice and it’s so rewarding to see how do you disconnect from this anxiety and craziness of the external world and get connected to you within and start acting in a way that’s in your best interest and in the best interest of everyone around you.

Andrea: Hey Barb, can you move in with me?

Barb: I would love to.

Andrea: I need help.

Barb: That’s so cute. You know what my greatest desire is? It’s for people to empower themselves and understand how complete and whole and strong and wonderful they are. Everyone, no matter who we are, we have that depth within us of who we truly are, and we don’t need to be having the external world tell us who we are and what we need to think and be. We need to embody exactly who we are. We can only do that by spending time with ourselves. With the autistic adult group, we spend time as a group, but they also are starting to spend time with themselves. I’m teaching them a 1 minute meditation where they can actually sit with themselves for a minute, just to bring their attention back to their breath just for a minute.

Andrea: I think that’s so important. I love what you’re saying and I think it goes beyond that. We’re out of time for today, but it goes beyond that. I love the points that you’re bringing up. So Barb, where can people find out about you if they want to learn more about what you’re doing or want to get your book?

Barb: The Practice meets you where you are today and that’s what I love the most. I’m on www.BarbSchmidt.com and www.PeacefulMindfPeacfulLife.org. Either one of those two sites. It’s been a joy to be here, we’ll have to do this again.

Andrea: Yes we will. I’m Andrea Donsky along with Lisa Davis. This is Naturally Savvy Radio on RadioMD. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @YourRadioMD and @NaturallySavvy. Thank you everyone, and stay well.