Stress can sneak up out of nowhere and take hold of every area of your life. It’s easy to prepare and keep an eye out for stress when you’ve got a big event coming up, but what about the stress that comes on like a ninja in the shadows? Sneaking up in ways you never even thought to look out for?
Stress Can Hide Anywhere
Everyone has stress, but it’s how we handle it that determines if we suffer in misery or meet it head on, releasing it. Some aren’t even fully aware of where stress is entering their lives.
Here’s a analogy (because if you know me, you know I love a good analogy!)…
If you know you’ve got to move a 200 pound dresser, you’re going to prepare. You’re going to get help and get the proper equipment necessary to move it without hurting yourself. That’s kind of how big, obvious stressors are.
BUT… if you have to move a 5 pound box, you’ve got it. Right? You can handle that pretty easily. Now imagine you pick up that box and someone comes and puts another box on top of it, but this box weighs 20 pounds… you’ve still got it, but it’s a little heavier. So you move the box and come back and there is another 5 pound box that needs to be moved, and again, someone puts an additional box on top of the original one. And every time you come back to more boxes. Those are the little stressors, the ones that add up quickly and can be hard to detect.
Things like a last minute change in your schedule, an unexpected expense, your clothes being a little tighter than they were last time you wore them, or even spilling a glass of water.
These little things can either contribute to or destroy your happiness, self-esteem, and confidence in yourself.
Stress affects your body AND your mind. It can create a vicious cycle just in itself – the stress spurs worry and negative thoughts that in turn create stress in your body by way of tense muscles, digestive upset, headaches, low energy, etc. Then the physical manifestation of stress creates more mental and emotional stress. It can be really hard to break the cycle. The follow ten actions can help in how you handle stress and break the cycle.
It sounds almost too simple, but it’s not. The action of taking slow, full breaths and observing, savoring each sensation of the breath can calm stress like nobody’s business. It’s crazy to think one of the most powerful tools in combating stress is something we always have with us and is always available!
Move Your Body
Stress triggers the primal flight or fight response and releases a whole host of hormones and chemicals into our blood. Moving helps put these to good use instead of allowing them to fester in our blood creating more stress and anxiety. You’ll literally be using movement as an outlet for your stress.
I do realize this is the exact opposite of the last one, but it can also be super useful in helping to alleviate stress. If you like to run from your stress or part of your stress is that you’ve got to be constantly moving and doing something, taking a few minutes in stillness can be invaluable. It is important to note, this can be a little uncomfortable initially, but you’ll find once you get past the threshold it will be a valuable tool you’ll want to use.
Shift Your Focus
I keep a journal next to my bed and if something that in the moment feels very urgent (you know, when you’re laying in bed and remember something and then are afraid you’ll forget again if you stop thinking about it) and I’m in bed, I write it down in the journal so it’s there for me the next day to handle. This can work for almost anything. Anytime you find yourself stressing about something that you can’t take immediate action on, keep a notebook and write it down. Then move on. If you can’t do anything about something in that moment, continuing to let it occupy space in your mind is just masochistic.
Get in Shape
Being physically fit can do wonders in reducing stress levels physically, mentally, and emotionally. You’ll be in better health and your body will handle stress much more efficiently. Plus, while getting into shape isn’t an immediately action, the actions you take to get there will also help relieve stress!
Every time you become aware that you are stressed, imagine a big red stop sign in your mind. This will help disrupt the thought process as you learn to shift your thoughts.
Listen & Learn
When you find yourself becoming stressed, objective explore the stress. Ask yourself why it is that you find [xyz] to be so stressful and what realistically can be done to alleviate that stressor.
Schedule stress sessions
Set aside dedicated time to focus on your stressors. If you only allow yourself to mentally engage in stress for a few minutes a day, it will start to feel like a chore, and you’ll create a natural aversion to stress. Also, by creating a designated space to stress, you will retrain your mind to stress less throughout the day.
Affirmations can be very powerful in retraining your mind and subconscious. Recite positive statements to yourself to remind you that how you handle stressors is up to you. You have the power to either deal with it efficiently or dwell and feed the stress.
It’s okay to ask for help. Chances are you’ll find by using the resources available to you, you’ll discover tools, techniques, and strategies that you wouldn’t have thought of. You don’t have to face your stress alone.
The Stress Free Naturally program is opening soon and it’s a phenomenal tool in helping to relieve stress. If you need a little help getting your stress levels down and re-gaining peace of mind, click below to get on the waiting list.
Stress is a normal part of life… but being stressed out is not. If you need help breaking the stress cycle, the Stress Free Naturally program can help.
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