No, I’m not referring to the latest Alaska realty show…I’m talking about ways we have of coping with stress.
We’ve all been there.
There are times when stress rolls over us and we:
- Didn’t see it coming (and so didn’t make adjustments to factor it into our day)
- Kept our head down and kept working to just get through it (ignoring the signs of stress our bodies were sending to us)
- Simply got caught up in our busy life and forgot to become conscious enough of the stress symptoms to use some stress-relieving strategies
Lie #1: I’m too busy for stress management strategies
The truth about stress management is that the price is always paid…it can be paid in the present with some quick and simple stress relieving techniques…or it can be paid later with the more major negative effects of stress.
When we ignore the signs of stress (like the examples above) we forfeit the opportunities to use stress release techniques that help us to handle stress.
As a result, all that we are left with is RECOVERY!
(Yes this is a lot like ignoring that check engine light on your car until you need major repairs.)
If you are too busy for stress management now…your body will increase the pressure to get your attention with more urgent signs of stress.
Time to teach the bear to behave!
Lie #2: My goal is a stress-free life!
Before we enter into the recovery discussion, let’s be aware that LIFE IS LIFE and stress is a part of it.
The goal is NOT a life devoid of ALL stress.
Remember some stress can actually be a health-promoting experience…but not so much if it lasts too long or over increasingly sustained periods.
So growing in your awareness of your sources of stress, and ways to reduce stress to a healthy level is the key.
Gaining and using good stress management skills is definitely what good self-care needs.
(This is what my articles are all about!)
Lie #3: I can’t control my “automatic” response to stress
Think back to prior articles I shared on stress such as The Minimalist’s Guide to Stress Management Techniques
In that you discovered how the tone of your inner voice drives your inner sub-conscious mind into feeling safe or stressed and fearful.
When you are in this stressful state, frustration or self-criticism comes pretty easily.
Your mind gets STUCK in a loop with thoughts like:
- “How could I have…”
- “Why didn’t I…”
- “What a mess I made”
And on and on…
So, one of the simple stress management techniques I share helps you to let go of those thoughts that are making your stress levels worse and “re-boot” your mind to focus on the recovery.
In the early days of biofeedback training there was a book called: Mind as Healer Mind as Slayer by a fellow named Kenneth Pelletier….I think that title sums up this conversation pretty well.
Lie #4: Stress management is complicated!
In fact the basics of stress management are so simple that I have taught them to thousands of people from age 7 to 70.
It comes down to three simple steps:
- NOTICE the stress you are feeling
- Make the CHOICE to use your mind as the healer
- Be ready to RECOVER.
You have the tools within you to help your mind and body feel better.
It just takes a bit of practice.
Once these stress relieving techniques are well-rehearsed, you will kick them into action easily.
Lie #5: I am powerless against a stress-filled world!
It’s easy to feel buffeted by a stress-filled world.
And built into our bodies is the need to be safe and secure.
It is the job of our subconscious mind to track whether or not we are safe…in large part through the tone of our thoughts.
When our mind tells ourselves things like “I HAVE TO” or “I CAN’T” the sub-conscious mind hears “I am lacking in power.”
In contrast, when your mind thinks “I CHOOSE” or “HOW CAN I?” the sub-conscious mind reads that “I HAVE POWER!”
This simple technique can help our stress response tremendously!
Whether you find yourself climbing out of stress in bits and pieces during daily life or you are in one of those times of huge stress…(you know the bigger bites when the bear eats you kind of stress hits) make the time to say to yourself things like:
- “I choose to go to the store”
- “I choose to sit here”
- “I choose to answer that phone”
- “I choose come to this job”
- “I choose to park here”
With each one of these statements you boost your “fuel supply” and turbo-charge your stress-coping reserve.
It’s always better to keep the “tank” fuller by adding a bit more fuel as we go.
Building up your reserve helps because when you hit a big stressor, your reserves can get pretty depleted.
But even if you are dealing with a relentless stressor that will not go away, look for places where these stress relieving techniques can fit in.
Here’s an example:
Even though there were a number of things I did not like about a work position I found myself in once, I learned to say to myself “I choose to be here” when I thought about the job, when I parked in the lot, when I entered the elevator and unlocked my door instead of focus on what I did not like about the position.
Once you make your decision, i.e. make your CHOICE, you remind yourself that you have power.
(In my case, my decision was to stay at that job because I needed the work at the time…so the bottom line in the story that I was going to stay.)
Your self will strengthen when your mind does this instead of feel powerless and in the position of a victim.
More on the power of choice next time…
Carry on and we’ll talk again soon
Discover the Power of Your Mind to Control Your Body
I hope my easy biofeedback training techniques have helped you build your own mindfulness-based stress management tools and increase your sense of wellness throughout the day.
If you’d like to find out more about the power of your mind to control your body, click on the link below and I’ll send it right out to you.
Click here for my Special Report: Biofeedback Training- Discover the Power of Your Mind to Control Your Body
Author: Jinny Joy LaRock, RN, BCB Sr. Fellow