In our series on The Natural Laws of Stress Management, did you make unexpected discoveries about the sound of your own thoughts?
The negative effects of stress that your body is feeling will affect your mind as well.
(Maybe you discovered a harsh tone in your inner voice or a sound that is a bit familiar and part of your habit for coping with stress?)
In contrast, think about when you are feeling relaxed…and your mood is stress relieving …
In other words:
When you are feeling fine what is that sound of your inner voice?
- Is it familiar?
- Can you get to it when you think of it?
Getting back to that state of mind is part of managing stress.
Signs of Stress and the Mind
If you are like most people in dealing with stress, you probably have used the sound of voice of others in your world as a trigger for your body and emotions to switch between stress and non-stress.
Here are some signs that symptoms of stress are showing up in the people around you:
- Their breathing is short
- Their breathing is in the chest
- Their muscles are tightening up for battle
- Their voice sound switches into RED ALERT!
Now let’s see how their state of mind can be a cause of stress in your life:
- Your breathing is in your chest
- You are taking shallow breaths.
- You can feel your muscles tightening up…particularly your jaw and shoulders
- Your inner voice is talking LOUDLY, or in some way sounds ready for battle!
The knowledge that being around someone else can move you in or out of battle preparation is an eye opener isn’t it?
Your body’s mind is alert for sources of stress…even when our conscious mind is blissfully ignorant.
But good news is here!
How to Decrease Stress…Choose Your Response
You have the power of CHOICE!
The truth is that the study of stress management is not new!
There was a researcher in the stress field many years ago named Hans Selye.
He studied and researched all about stress back at the beginning of our current research (Canadian guy…back in the 1930s or so) and he said this:
“IT IS NOT THE STRESS THAT KILLS US! IT IS OUR REACTION TO IT!”
Yes, there are different ways to deal with stress!
And this may sound a bit vague at this point, but this is what you will be doing about stress…making a CHOICE about your reaction to it.
Let’s look at a way you can use biofeedback techniques for managing stress and the role your mind plays in how to combat stress.
Relaxation Techniques for Your Mind
Let’s focus on the mind again and add the CHOICE part into the relaxation exercise you are doing to help move your breath to your belly and drop your muscles.
(By the way, this exercise is meant to take just a few seconds.)
- You can do it as you reach for a doorknob or light switch or your keys or your phone.
Put a “gentle reminder” on these spots…like we talked about in the last article–so you don’t stop what you are doing, you think of these CHOICES and apply them while you are going about your daily life.)
These stress management techniques will be more effective if you integrate your awareness and regulation of these three things into your day…breath, muscles and now mind.
Mind 101: 7-Steps to Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction
Start with this stress management exercise:
1. First, get comfortable and take a few of those slow belly breaths.
2. Now soften up all your muscles and especially drop your jaw and shoulders.
These first two steps will help you be more tuned in and aware of your body so you can “listen in” for when your body is stressed or calm.
Let’s move on to your mind:
3. Say the words “today is Tuesday” in your mind.
4. Notice your body’s response as you say the words in your mind.
5. Now say it in lots of different voices.
(Try is fast, then slow or urgent or frustrated or loud or soft or gentle, etc.)
Be sure to try a neutral voice as that is often a good choice.
Say only these words “today is Tuesday” but vary the sound of the voice you are using.
6. Say it 2 or 3 times in each voice you choose and be very aware of how your body responds to the different voices
7. Finally, say it in the voices you use when you talk to yourself during your daily life.
As you tune into your body’s response (body feedback…biofeedback) you are learning what the sound of YOUR OWN VOICE is triggering in your body.
Now you are discovering what voice is helping your body feel calm and safe.
Hear Your Inner Voice
So which voices are the winners and losers for you?
These will not be the same for each of us…we are all different.
NOW, as you go through your day you can listen in with more knowledge and more awareness to your inner voice. (And also the sound of other’s voices)
You hold the power with these stress relieving techniques…you are using your body to help you learn how to relax from stress by first sensing the stress and then making CHOICES about your response.
In our next articles, we will go deeper into the ability of the MIND in coping with stress!
See you soon!
Want to learn more about stress reduction?
Take the first step!
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