What we’re always attempting to do is getting control over our Stress. To attempt to ease it back a bit to avoid being like a fussy child with a toothache. Our health is what suffers if we don’t, along with our ability to be able to respond to and manage stressful situations when necessary.
After all, good stress, and there is such a thing as good stress, can be our “on” switch. The power we have to meet deadlines, getting dinner ready on the table before all the guests arrive, or working out instead of constantly reaching for that chocolate bar. What stress does is it powers our motivation.
So say that you’re an elementary school teacher, you have your summers off and as a result, you don’t have a handle on how to properly function without that sudden “lack” of stress. You find yourself needing a way to find and become more productive and motivated.
There are also at times limits of stress which you can handle, such as, working full time, having to put food on the table, taking care of your children, keeping the house clean, etc. All you’re basically doing is just trying to be as perfect and efficient as possible. You can come to a point where your mind and body just says no.
If you happen to be “full steam ahead” all the time, then your internal motors are no longer able to rev up. When you’re stressed out to the hilt, the adrenals glands become completely spent. So when you attempt to press the gas pedal, when it’s go time, nothing happens.
As a result, you become less tuned towards your body’s alarms. This is often referred to as somatic numbing, when the mind and the body begin to completely disconnect itself. This is similar to a mother that you see at the grocery store, and her kids are yelling at her, she doesn’t even hear them anymore, there’s complete disconnect.
So you’re wondering how you can get to that “medium” happy place, as you realize there’s good as well as bad stress, it’s just a part of life. How can you effectively control the bad, so that the good stress can work for you when we need it. Listed are a few steps which you can take.
How To Reduce Stress Levels
Having A Priority List
Once you know which stress triggers constantly keeps your lights on, you can then decide which ones to control. You need to realize that you can’t manage everything yourself.
You need to learn how to delegate and then prioritize. At work, you can add additional staff or shuffle better on the hopes you can eventually start leaving all your work at the office, or leave work on time. So now, if your kids need your attention at school, you can be there.
Listening To Your Gut Feeling
One effective part of reducing stress is learning how to listen to what your gut is telling you about your current life, about various situations and the people in your life.
You need to ask yourself if your energy goes up or down when your around certain people, how about your stress level. How do you feel about your particular employment situation. Did you leave that latest job interview with a bad feeling in your stomach.
Then factor in all of the answers when you make your decisions. You need to be constantly asking yourself, what’s going on in my life that makes me feel the way I do, this feeling of being overwhelmed and making me short tempered. You have to go face to face with what’s stressing you out the most rather than just turning away from it.
Calming Down Your System
It may take a little time as well as introspection to iron out your stress. Methods which others commonly use are antidepressants, physical therapy, excess alcohol, rather than physically exerting themselves through productive exercise to restore the grief and the fatigue.
Exercise, meditation or yoga can actually provide for occasional “out-of-body” types of experiences, allowing you to look at these situations from different angles, allowing you to focus more acutely.
So the next time you feel really stressed out, just have a seat and do some deep breathing techniques, even for just 15 minutes can make all the difference. At the end, you’ll feel a lot more focused regarding what you need to get done first.
It will give you energy as well as peace. Even short 5 minute meditation sessions are able to center and focus you. You can learn to practice these techniques throughout the day to turn off the high stress and then turning on the endorphins instead, which is the body’s natural feel better neurochemicals.
Find a quiet comfortable place where you won’t be disturbed. Then close your eyes taking a few deep breaths while beginning to quiet down your thoughts. Then picture yourself breathing as calm as possible, breathing out all the stress, and then focus on an image which relaxes you. That image can be the ocean, a mountain top or a night full of stars. This will quickly and naturally turn off the stress response since you’re slowing down your internal system and your mind can only think of one thing at a time.
Stopping All Those Stressful Situations
Someone who has certain ways of reducing their stress can easily be someone else’s toxin. When you’re driving to the gym, and then begin to angrily circle around the parking lot, then pump some iron in the gym, and then return back to your car and find a ticket, isn’t an ideal way of relaxing.
Or you can hit the most popular downtown yoga class at 5AM in the morning in the hopes of chilling out before your workday. But you find that it’s filled with other “Type-A” personalities who are also extremely competitive.
A class like that can drive you crazy, which defeats the purpose. You would get mad at someone at the yoga class who’s directly in front of you, who’s able to sustain a “Tree pose” much better than you can. You also need to realize you don’t have to exercise 6 hours a day.
Using All That Stress Towards Your Advantage
There’s a big difference between treating stress as a positive growth response than using that stress as a defense mechanism. If it happens to be the type of stress which promotes growth, then you should benefit from it.
For instance, you may find that those long meditation retreats that you attend can be stressful, but you also know that the “inner work” sessions also promotes your growth, so there’s benefits in going.
You may have this idea that it may appear selfish to say no. But what you should be doing is learning and practicing to say “no,” by setting boundaries, so that you’ll have time to do what ultimately sustains you.
Begin to pay attention towards some slow deep breathing techniques, add a pinch of thankfulness, or a rule about reading no work related emails on weekends, you should then be able to realize that stress doesn’t always need to be your personal rumba.
You may ultimately have a higher internal idle than you’d like, but knowing that you’re able to make some of that stress work positively for you may inject a little motivation in your step. It should help you to relax while stressing out even less.