Guest Post by Dr. Debra Brooks
They say there’s more than one way to skin a cat. The same goes when you start tearing your hair out with all the frustration, grief, anxiety, and yes, stress. Stress is a state of mental conditioning that is like taking that bitter pill down your throat, causing you to lose your sense of self, and worse your sanity. Just thinking about too much stress can drive anyone off the edge.
And they say that the proactive ones are already living off the edge!
As one stressed-out person to another, I know how stress feels, and believe me there are many variants when it comes to stress. Coping with life, and carrying the problems that may or may not belong to you, can take away the little joy and happiness that you carry once you head out that door.
Stress can weigh us down. Many people say that stress is all in the mind. Well, what’s bugging you anyway? Discover this and then begin to deal with it.
There are several ways to manage stress, and eventually remove it out of your life. Here is a seven-day course for you and I promise it’s not going to be too taxing on your body or mind!
1. Acknowledge stress is good
Make stress your friend! Based on the body’s natural “fight or flight” response, that burst of energy will enhance your performance at the right moment. I’ve yet to see a top sportsman totally relaxed before a big competition. Use stress wisely to push yourself that little bit harder when it counts the most.
2. Avoid stress sneezers
Stressed people sneeze stress germs indiscriminately and before you know it, you are infected, too!
Protect yourself by recognizing stress in others and limiting your contact with them. Or if you’ve got the inclination, play stress doctor and teach them how to better manage themselves.
3. Learn from the best
When people around you are losing their heads, who keeps calm? What are they doing differently? What is their attitude? What language do they use? Are they trained and experienced?
Figure it out from afar or sit them down for a chat. Learn from the best stress managers and copy what they do.
4. Practice socially acceptable heavy breathing
This is something I’ve learned from a gym instructor: You can trick your body into relaxing by using heavy breathing. Breathe in slowly for a count of 7; then breathe out for a count of 11. Repeat the 7-11 breathing until your heart rate slows down, your sweaty palms dry off, and things start to feel more normal.
5. Give stress-y thoughts the red light
It is possible to tangle yourself up in a stress knot all by yourself. “If this happens, then that might happen and then we’re all up the creek!” Most of these things never happen, so why waste all that energy worrying needlessly?
Give stress thought-trains the red light and stop them in their tracks. Okay, so it might go wrong – how likely is that, and what can you do to prevent it?
6. Know your trigger points and hot spots
What are yours? Could it be presentations, interviews, meetings, giving difficult feedback, tight deadlines, etc.? My heart rate is cranking up just writing these down!
Make your own list of stress trigger points or hot spots. Be specific. Is it only presentations to a certain audience that get you worked up? Does one project cause more stress than another? Did you drink too much coffee?
Knowing what causes you stress is powerful information, as you can take action to make it less stressful. Do you need to learn some new skills? Do you need extra resources? Do you need to switch to decaf?
7. Burn the candle at one end
Lack of sleep, poor diet, and no exercise wreaks havoc on our body and mind. Kind of obvious, but worth mentioning as it’s often ignored as a stress management technique. Listen to your mother and don’t burn the candle at both ends!
So having stress can be a drag, but that shouldn’t hinder us to find the inner peace of mind that we have wanted for a long time. In any case, one could always go to the Bahamas and bask under the summer sun.
Dr. Debra Brooks, fondly known as DrDebra, is a Christian Counselor, Emotional Healing & Parenting Coach. She is the CEO of Family Healing & Empowerment Institute, Inc. where she helps families to tackle the emotional challenges of family relations and parenting, in order to prevent generation baggage. DrDebra is the author of a children’s books series that helps to build self-esteem in young children. She is the proud mother of two sons and an avid believer in the power that lies within. You can find out more about DrDebra at www.healingempowermentinstitute.com.