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Cut Your Stress

We are a society of stress.  Stress can be a positive thing to get our attention, cause us to focus on a situation or emotion we need to, and to be at our best.  Also, stress can be a negative.  Stress can negatively impact our health and happiness.

One of the best stress busters I use regularly is a release process I was taught.  Anywhere, anytime you feel tense and stressed, inhale deeply for two seconds and then exhale for four seconds.  Say a calming phrase to yourself as you exhale.  Some examples are “I am calm and relaxed,” or “I’m okay” or anything special and meaningful to you.  Allow your body to relax.  You’ll feel a sense of relaxation and calm as you practice this exercise.

Some other ways to cut stress are:

1.  Watch less television.  Watch your favorite television shows but don’t use television for background noise.  Turn on your favorite music or listen to an audio book.  Watching violent, depressing or allowing yourself to get sucked into the 24 hours a day news (usually all bad) can add to your stress levels.  Another good option for television watching is to emphasize uplifting, educational shows such as Discovery Health or other types of programs.

2.  Leave your work at work.  Make a clear separation between your work and home.  As you drive home, consider that a time of making this transition.  This is a time for you to decompress from the stress of work to being at home with your family and friends.  Make sure you consider this time as a transition time so the stress from the job doesn’t spill into your personal time.  Listen to your favorite music or audio book…. anything to make the change within yourself.

3.  Ditch the victim attitude to a “can-do” attitude.  Many times we feel as though we are a victim to our outer circumstances.  Ahhhhh, not true.  Maybe there are things we can’t change or impact but we can change our reaction to those things.  Truly, nothing on the outside can impact who you are on the inside.  I easily can say that we are stronger than we give ourselves credit.  Flex that internal strength and know that you CAN DO.

4.  Stop catastrophic thinking.  Don’t assume the worst out of a situation.  Can you go from “a” to “z” about a situation?  If someone cuts you off, don’t assume that person is a jerk.  You don’t know their personal story.  Possibly they are driving to see a loved one who is ill and needs to be with them.  Don’t automatically assume that the worst will happen.  How many times has that actually occured?  Think positively and the odds are that the outcome will be in your favor.

5.  Don’t get stuck.  Take a 10-minute break.  At least every hour, get up from your chair (whether at home or work) and stretch and/or move around.  This will prevent stiffness and stress.  It will also give you a healthy perspective change from what you’re doing.  Don’t worry, you can go back to it but you’ll return more refreshed and rejuvenated.

6.  File away your troubles.  Put your worries or stressors into two files – the ones you can impact and have control over and those that you cannot.  Also, break them down into categories of important or unimportant.  If something is important and you can do something about it, go for it and take action.  If it is unimportant and/or you can’t do anything about, let the trouble go.  File it away in a drawer and lock it up.

7.  Take a mini-vacation.  Pause to enjoy the surroundings around you – those life’s small joys.  Enjoy the smile of a child or loved one, the scent of a flower, a tall tree, the smell of a mowed yard or a wood fire in your fireplace.  If you’re at work, put your favorite photos on your screen saver.  Take a moment to enjoy those photos on your screen saver to relive those happy times and memories.

8.  Use dots.  Put small adhesive dots whenever you need a reminder to check-in with yourself to relax/calm yourself.  Many times our intentions are to do this whenever we need to, however, we get so caught up in the day-to-day occurrences that we don’t.  By using the dots in strategic reminder places, you will.  Place the dogs on your car’s rearview mirror, your computer monitor, your telephone, or your bathroom mirror.  Whenever you see the dot, check-in with yourself to see how you are and to practice a breathing exercise.

9.  Self-esteem boost.  Carry a small pocket notebook or journal with you to write down special times or moments meaningful to you.  Also include positive things you’ve done or insights you’ve had about yourself.  You can also note things that others have said about you.  Whenever you need a boost, pull out your “Me Notes.”

10.  See it to believe it.  If you have a certain goal, envision yourself achieving it.  Visualize yourself losing those excess pounds, fit into a certain size, have a difficult conversion that has a positive outcome, or any situation or emotion you are thinking of.  If you practice this stress busting strategy, chances are that you will be less anxious and feel more prepared for a positive result.

11.  Watch nature and interact with animals.  When you go outside and enjoy nature, you will notice your perspective and body functions are more calm.  Watch birds in a bird bath or bird feeder, enjoy the magnificence of trees, appreciate the beautiful flowers around you.  Also, when you pet a dog or cat, your blood pressure lowers and you connect in a loving way.

12.  You make your own happiness.  Each day, choose happiness.  Make a conscious effort to emphasize the positive and minimize the negative.  If you choose to be happy and content day after day, you create a new happiness habit.

Your stress level is what you make it.  So many times it is truly our reaction rather than situation itself.  Recall all the times you’ve been stressed but you handled it and made it through.  Many times those situations resulted in a positive outcome.  Have the confidence that whatever comes your way that you’ll be okay.

Believe In Yourself,
Cathy, CLC
Certified Life Coach, Weight Loss Surgery Coach
Certified Back On Track Facilitator

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