9 Words That Calm Me When I Get Stressed

Surprise, surprise, it has to do with the present moment.

David Gerken
Published in
3 min readJul 23, 2022


Photo by Simon Berger on Unsplash

Life throws curveballs at us on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis. Sometimes life has little to do with it and it’s us throwing those curveballs at ourselves. Whichever it is, stress comes our way most every day (how about that for a song lyric?) in ways both big and small.

Squillions of books and articles have been written offering techniques and ideas aimed at relieving this stress. Most of us employ several different “weapons” to fight against stress, like working out, eating right, meditating, practicing mindfulness, consciously breathing and, if it gets bad enough, even taking medication.

Sometimes just saying certain words to ourselves can do the trick of nipping a stressful situation in the bud. Here’s a mindful sentence I say to myself in certain stressful moments:

“Allow this moment to be exactly as it is.”

That’s it. Most of the time, when I say that sentence I can feel the tension ooze out of my body and psyche.

Stress is caused by resistance

Why does this particular sentence/concept work for me? It’s because the source of so much stress is resistance to the moment we’re in.

To take just one small example, suppose you’re standing in line at the grocery checkout and the cashier is an elderly fellow moving slow as molasses. The usual annoyed sigh starts to rear its ugly head inside you.

Resisting is all cost, no benefit

What are you doing when you get all annoyed and sigh-ey? You’re resisting that moment. Doing so is pointless, injurious and 100 percent cost, zero percent benefit.

The reason that is so is because there’s nothing you can, or will, do about it. What are you going to do, charge up to him and say,

“Come on, you old fart! Speed it up! I got places to be!”

Of course you won’t. At least 99 percent of all people wouldn’t do that.

As my dad used to say,

“If you haven’t got an option, you haven’t got a problem.”



David Gerken

Meditation and Mindfulness teacher. Dad of three precious kids. Former writer for THE WEST WING. Follow me at davidgerken.net.