Do you hear yourself saying “I’m stressed”, either out loud, or in your head?
It’s a phrase I hear far too often these days, but it’s mostly why I’m in business!
Since 1992, April has been ‘stress awareness month’ and I’d like to share a few tips with you.
What is stress?
Stress is a negative feeling, brought about by a reaction to a negative thought, which causes an automatic response in the body.
The body cannot tell the difference between an actual situation and a thought.
That’s a fact, not a myth*
It reacts to every thought as if it were a reality; and to the body, a worrisome, fearful thought means ‘I’m in danger’.
Hormones such as adrenaline, cortisol and norepinephrine are then released into the body so it can take action against the impending danger.
If the ‘danger’ is no more than a stream of endless thoughts, worrying or thinking about the long list of things you want to get done, then those hormones sit in the body unused, and you feel anxious, restless, irritable or angry: stressed!
What can you do?
The ideal thing would be to prevent feelings of stress arising in the first place. This will vary from person to person, but taking a deep breath and focusing on your breath will stop your mind bombarding you with it’s endless stream of thoughts.
Try this simple breathing technique right now. Read it first before closing your eyes!
1. Close your eyes.
2. Take a deep breath in through your nose, and allow your belly to expand.
3. Exhale slowly through your nose or mouth.
4. Repeat a few times – slowly to prevent feeling light-headed.
5. Mentally scan your body to see how you feel.
6. Open your eyes.
Get rid of the toxic hormones
You’ve no doubt heard that exercise is good for relieving and preventing stress, and that’s because the stress hormones that flooded your body, power your body while exercising.
You need these hormones when you are in danger, but you don’t need them when lying in your bed at night thinking about what needs doing the next day, or when you’re driving in heavy traffic.
It’s very simple: physical activity will burn off the hormones and you will feel relaxed as a result of them no longer flooding your body.
All of us can live lives filled with joy.
Joy comes from within, and some people have forgotten how to connect with their joy.
To connect with your joy all you need to do is be present.
Spending time in nature can help you do that.
Take a few moments now to enjoy these images.
Perhaps one appeals to you more than the others
Did you notice anything when you looked at the images? For example, a deep exhale?
Learn How To Live A Stress-Free Life
Having worked as a therapist for 20 years, I’ve noticed that people are generally becoming more stressed. I’ve had challenges in my life too, and I’ve researched many different techniques to see what works for me.
Life is one challenge after another. That’s how we evolve and grow as humans.
If you can embrace your challenges without turning them into problems or worries, then you can remain stress-free!
* Test it for yourself:
1. Think about a positive event in your life.
You’re probably smiling right now, and you have a positive, feeling in your body.
2. Now think about a negative event.
Did the smile instantly vanish? It’s instant! The body is quick to respond to your thoughts.
3. That’s the end of the experiment, so return your mind to the nice memory now!