Updated: Mar 22, 2019
We hear a lot about stress, but what really is it? We tend to know what it is by how we feel. Most of us often feel stressed. Just what is this feeling? We may define it as an emotional tension of some sort - You’ve got too much going on, or you’ve been dealing with something you don’t like for too long, or everything in your life is bothering you. Do any of these things sound familiar? You may actually define it a little differently but it all adds up to am emotional pain of some sort.
As you’re reading this, I'll bet that you’re getting in touch with some of your present or past stress. It’s not exactly pleasant, is it? It’s no wonder that stress can lead to a lot of different types of illness. Just like physical stress on a material object can overtime, cause damage to that object, emotional stress, overtime, can definitely cause damage to your body. Do you want to take that chance?
There are lots of ways to handle stress and most of them are easy. Here are several.
Exercise - This doesn’t mean that every time you start to feel stressed you dart outside and go for a run. Plan to walk, jog, run, do yoga, or some exercise that exerts you a little bit on a regular basis. If you do start to feel stressed and you can go for a walk, definitely do so.
Breath - Breath is key to lowering tension and decreasing stress. When you feel stress come on, stop, take some deep breaths (filling up stomach first) and exhale slowly. As a matter of fact, make your exhale twice as long as your inhale. Many people refer to this as a 4 x 8 breath. This helps calm you down quickly. Actually if you are counting seconds as you breath, both in your head as well as with your fingers, it will decrease, if not eliminate all other thoughts - Breath in 1..2..3..4.. Breath out 1..2..3..4..5..6..7..8. This will definitely help.
Meditate - If you create a regular routine of basic meditation to ‘clear’ your mind, this will help as well. Just sitting or lying breathing, as in suggestion #2 will be a form of meditation. Doing this as a habit on a regular basis will allow you to be more resilient to stress.
Get yourself out of stressful situations - This is common sense. If you can remove yourself from stressful situations and/or people, then you should do so. Even if you are not personally stressed, a stressful environment or stressful people can have a very negative effect on you and create stress for you.
Water - I’m not talking about drinking water but seeing water. There is a lot of evidence that water is calming. If you have pictures of water, or even better, can have access to going to a lake, ocean, or even just a fountain to spend time enjoying the view and sounds, this will relax you greatly. Perhaps a tabletop fountain or a beach tapestry (I have one in my office)
Visualization - Can you think of scenes or memories when you have felt so calm and peaceful. Create that in your mind now. Go to it as if you are there. Look around to see what you see, hear what is there to be heard, and feel what is there to be felt. Enjoy that. Make it as sensory as you can, perhaps vivid colors, soft sounds, and so forth. Once you’ve got it like you want it, lock it in, in any way you can. I use the sound of a padlock, asking myself to “lock it in”. This way it’s easier to bring back exactly as you’ve formed it, when you need it. I take a deep breath and bring the image back to mind.
Just being aware of when stress comes in and how it feels in your body is a great first step. Any, and all of these simple steps can help you. If stress is chronic and is not impacted by any of the above suggestions, you should seek some professional help before the stress takes its toll on you.
Now, take a deep breath and relax …
Positive Effects Coaching & Hypnosis