05/30/2013 04:09 pm ET Updated Jul 30, 2013

How to Stop Sweating the Small Stuff and Find More Peace in Your Life

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I don't know how I missed this little gem of a book when it first came out, but I am so glad a friend of mine loaned me her copy of Don't Sweat the Small Stuff for Women by Kristine Carlson. For several years now, I have been trapped by the SuperWoman Syndrome. Like many other women, I thought I had to be all, do all, or I would be nothing. Needed something done? Feel free to pile it right on my plate. Sleep? Ha! It's overrated anyway.

And then something happened. If you've read my blog, you know that I had a bit of a Rude Awakening a few weeks ago. This awakening led me to the powerful realization that I've spent most of my life running from myself -- from what I had become. Because somewhere deep in my soul I knew this person -- my stage name, so to speak -- professor, researcher, coach, etc. -- wasn't who I really was.

At first my inner SuperWoman just piped up and said, "No problem! We can just add this bit of info and all the changes it requires onto what we're already doing." But I knew that wasn't the right answer either. So I began looking for inspiration. What do you do when you've been rocked to the core of your being? How do you deal with the knowledge that you are not living up to your Soul's Potential?

You say goodbye to your inner SuperWoman. But how on earth do you do that? As scary as that sounds, I couldn't put it better than this simple advice:

One, let go of the notion that you can do it all. When you can't accomplish everything on your list, that doesn't mean you're inadequate. Two, be willing to ask for help when you need it. Three, be willing to make changes when your system fails. -- Kristine Carlson

The inner SuperWoman in me, of course, protested loudly: 1) of course I can do it all; 2) it's weak to ask for help, and 3) change? Why would I change when I can still manage to keep my head above water? But then I realized that keeping my head above water isn't the point of life. You can't live life to your fullest potential if you are always trying to avoid drowning.

I was finally ready to let go of my inner SuperWoman and start living the life I was meant to lead. But I had no idea where to start. So again, I looked to my new best friend Kristine Carlson for some advice. Part of not sweating the small stuff includes beginning each day with a morning ritual. She recommends gentle stretching and meditation. So I started beginning and ending my day in this way: 20 minutes of mediation and few minutes of stretching. It's a beautiful way to start and end the day. I actually feel refreshed when I get out of bed instead of wired or groggy. And I've been sleeping better as well.

There are a few other golden nuggets I've adopted from Don't Sweat the Small Stuff for Women that help keep me grounded. Things like: Get outside every day and connect with the Earth (Kristine calls it "getting down and dirty"), stop listening to the "coulda, shoulda, woulda sisters" (otherwise known as stop second guessing yourself and give yourself a break already!), and, my personal favorite, set your own priorities -- that are right you not your inner SuperWoman. That means checking in with yourself on a daily, if not hourly, basis and seeing what is most important for you -- not your boss, spouse, kids, neighbor, mail carrier -- right here and right now. Most importantly, enjoy your life.

As the late Richard Carlson (Kristine's husband) liked to put it, "Life is a process, not a destination." That's right -- there's nowhere to go, nowhere you have to be, nothing to do that's more important than what is happening right now in the moment. I think if we could spend more time remembering that and focusing on the moment, and less time worrying about our inner SuperWoman, we'd all be a lot happier. Doesn't that sound more peaceful?

For more by Mary Pritchard, Ph.D., click here.

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