After the last few articles on stress management techniques, you have had time to practice ways to deal with stress, like being aware of stressful and calm breathing, muscle activity and the sound of voice…both in others and yourself.
We also touched on the need to use a Brief Recovery Exercise (BRE) when you notice signs of stress such as tension in others and especially when you notice tension in your own body.
(This stress buster technique is just a few seconds long and is easily blended into your daily activities)
Let’s walk through the ways to reduce stress that we have covered so far…
Stress Relief with your Brief Recovery Exercise
Your Brief Recovery Exercise includes these stress relieving techniques:
- NOTICE how your body is breathing, AND THEN take a few slow breaths which begin with your belly moving out and end with a nice long exhale…your body will know when to start the next breath.
- NOTICE the sound of your inner voice, AND THEN shift your voice to a clam one that you identified with the exercise on our last article: Ways to Reduce Stress: 7-Step Relaxation Technique to Calm Your Mind
- NOTICE how your muscles feel, especially your jaw and shoulders, AND THEN let the tension melt out as your shoulders and jaw drop and all the rest of your muscles also.
Coping with Stress? Realize Who’s In Charge…
This may come as a shock to you, but here’s what researchers know:
The part of your brain that is tracking how to deal with stress-i.e. whether you need to ready for battle or can remain calm and focused, has the mental and emotional IQ of about a 3 year old!
That’s who is listening to the sources of stress all around us.
And that’s who is in charge of our state of stress relief.
Of course 3 year olds that would live the daily life we all do would be pretty overwhelmed!
And that inner child can be frightened by so many things:
- Other people’s body language when stressed
- The sound of a stressed voice-both their own and other peoples!
- Not getting fed when they should
- Pushing themselves too hard
You get the idea!
There are many, many more stressors that 3 year old would react to, than a rational adult mind.
Also think of this: You are packing a 3 year old with you all through your day wherever you go.
And that 3 year old is in charge of your body, and your emotions and how to handle stress in daily life.
Whether we are conscious of it or not, that part of our brain (called the sub-conscious) is tracking what is going on to make adjustments all day long.
It deals with stress by going from a calm body and emotions to battle preparation body and emotions in an instant!
That part of our brain is listening to the sound of all our thoughts as an important clue for whether you are safe or not safe– how to decrease stress or ramp up protection mode.
Stress Reducing Tip: Discover Your Calming Phrase
Are you ready to take your stress relief methods up a notch?
(I recommend you do your Brief Recovery Exercise about every 30 minutes or so during your day.)
Let’s build on what you’ve learned and walk through an advanced technique to reduce stress:
1. Notice breath and take a few slow belly breaths with a long exhale
2. Notice the tone of your inner voice, then in a calming tone (whatever you identified as the sound your own inner self likes best) say to yourself (HERE’S THE NEW PART OF THE LESSON) a calming phrase. Yes, a few simple words can make a big difference!
3. Choose a stress reducer phrase that you think would help a 3 year old feel safe. (This is the BIG issue for this part of your brain really…evaluating safety.) This stress buster phrase can be something like:
- “It’s OK”
- “Just Relax”
- “You are safe”
- “ I am safe”
Or something else that calms you!
Hint: Choose something short and easy to understand for a very young mind…NO negatives like “Don’t worry” as this part of our brain understands positive direction much better than negative direction.
4. Notice how your muscles feel and how they are handling stress and then relax until you FEEL the sensation of your muscles letting go…especially your jaw and shoulders.
Keep using those few simple words as one of the ways to cope with stress.
More good stress reduction tips coming your way!
We will cover more on what you can learn from your body and how to communicate back to the part of your brain that controls your body and emotions in our next articles.
Once again: WELL DONE see you in the next article!
Want to learn more about stress reduction?
Take the first step!
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Author: Jinny Joy LaRock, RN, BCB Sr. Fellow