If this headline caught your eye it’s probably because you or someone you know is suffering from that dreaded word…STRESS!!! We’ve heard the word, we’ve all experienced it at one point or another, but what is it exactly? The dictionary correlates it to pressure, anxiety, constant worry, nervous tension and trauma, all of which are just different words for fear.
What are we afraid of? Are we afraid that there’s too much to do, that others will do it better than we will? Are we afraid that we’re not smart or capable enough? Are we afraid of failing, or that the constant demands of life will never end? There are so many theories and this is just one woman’s opinion. I’m going to hypothesize, based on 14 years of working with stressed-out clients and having my own battles with it, that it winnows down to not only a fear of the unknown, but a fear that we can’t handle the unknown. That the unknown is going to take us down. Stress is literally the fear that we’re not __________ enough to handle the unknown that life throws our way, which when we really look at it closely is a bunch of bunk, because the unknown is what we know the most. It’s what we’ve faced everyday of our lives since before we were even born, and what we’ve gotten quite adept at dealing with because we’re highly adaptable. We just don’t give ourselves enough credit.
We’re like parents who are constantly telling their child that they can’t do this, that, or the other thing and then wonder why they’re not succeeding. When we’re stressed and we stop to listen to that deep inner voice we’ll hear the whisper or shout of “you can’t do that,” and then we wonder why we’re riddled with doubt and fear. We need to be our own cheerleaders instead of persistently annoying hecklers. When we set our minds to “can do”, we do; and when we don’t, we don’t. Henry Ford was right when he said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.”
OK, so we all know what it is, up close and personal, but how do we get out of its grip? Here are 5 exercises that will help and if you need the powerhouse of hypnosis, which has been proven to significantly decrease not only the stress response, but the stress hormones of cortisol and adrenaline than we’re only a phone call away.
5 Stress Busters
1. Breathe as if You’re Relaxed
When we’re stressed we tend to hold our breath, and not even on the inhale, we hold on the exhale and inadvertently deprive our bodies of O2 which creates physical as well as mental/emotional stress. So, to combat that pattern, shift your focus to your breath and breathe as if you’re relaxed. Set your timer for 2 minutes and simply breathe slow and steady, allow your body to oxygenate and begin to relax and as your body relaxes your mind will follow suit.
2. Take a Mental Vacation
Where the mind goes, the body follows. When the mind believes it’s sinking in the quicksand of life, the body becomes afraid. It can literally feel like a matter of life and death even though it rarely is. To break this cycle put everything down (yes, even your phone), put your feet on the ground, close your eyes and send your mind back to your all-time favorite vacation. Whether it was a week at the beach or up in the mountains, move your mind there and your body will follow. Really be there with all your senses. Stay in that vacation for 3-5 minutes and when you come back to reality you’ll have a different perspective.
3. Have a Little Faith My Friend
You guessed it. Choose to have faith in yourself. We choose faith or fear. Choosing fear is stressing you out, so choose faith and experience the strength that comes with it. Place your hand on your heart and remind your heart that you’re safe, think about all the things you’ve accomplished in the past and decide that you CAN handle anything that crosses your path, one step at a time. Head for the nearest mirror and as corny as it sounds look yourself square in the face and affirm, “You can do this.” “All you need to do is your best, your best is success,” and “I’m right here with you, we’re in it together.”
4. Remember, Everything Is Temporary
Tomorrow is a brand new day. When we’re stressed and afraid, we feel stuck in it and can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. We forget that everything is temporary, even our biggest challenges. To stop the downward spiral, stop everything, get yourself grounded, close your eyes, then see and more importantly feel yourself having conquered the challenge. Imagine standing in the light, arms overhead, feeling victorious. Set that intention firmly in your mind and then watch the universe support that decision. If you really want to rev up the positive, decide that everything that’s happening is happening for your ultimate good, even if the experience appears to be contrary to that notion. Think of all the times in life you thought something “bad” was happening only to look back from the future to see the good of it.
5. Stop saying, “I don’t know.”
I’m not insinuating that you become a false prophet, but I am suggesting that you find other language that’s going to support knowing vs. shutting it down. Knowing is not all it’s cracked up to be. Let’s face it, the bulk of what we thought we knew has been proven wrong over the years. E.g., the world is not flat, breads and grains should not be the bulk of our diet, amongst a million other things we thought we knew for fact. Instead of “I don’t know” how about, “I’m not sure but maybe…”, “I think…”, “I believe…”, “I have a sense that…”, “If I were to take a wild guess…”. These statements are all mind opening vs. mind closing. “I don’t know” shuts down access to the wisdom that’s in the subconscious, while these other options help tap in.
Give these all a go and let me know which one you find most effective for you and by all means if you have a good stress stopper please feel free to shoot me an e-mail and share because we really are all too blessed to be stressed.