5 Steps For Reducing Stress

After toying about with my blog, finally I have the time to produce meaningful content for people who need support to improve their health and well-being.

We know what stress is, how it impacts our daily living and what causes it; however what we are usually unaware of is exactly HOW to deal with stress. Instead of harping on by giving you definitions of stress from Wikipedia, how about we get straight to the heart of the blog and look at ways of reducing or eliminating stress altogether.

Step 1: Mind what you say

Firstly, I tend to find as humans we use the following phrases too often, “I’m stressed” or “I’m depressed”, but when we really look at ourselves and our lives, is it really stress?

Work expectations, family duties, taking care of the children, trying to fit exercise in, watching our diet, minding our appearance, seeking love or trying to keep the love going with your husband or wife can become all too much, leaving us busy and overwhelmed but it isn’t true stress.  If you continue to tell yourself you are stressed, then without a doubt you will feel it. Most of the time the reason for our stress depends on how we continue to choose in responding to stress, whether you shout in reaction to the stressful source, overindulge in unhealthy habits or take on limiting beliefs about your life ever turning around for you. You are very much in control of your life, though there are times it feels we are all Government minions, you have the ultimate power and you can make change whenever you decide it is time or you can decide to remain the same.

For example, if you have been struggling financially there are ways to create a better situation. You may decide to start observing your incoming and outgoings more closely, cutting back on unnecessary items, turning a talent of yours into a money making idea to create a second income or even seeking advice from a voluntary funded organisation. No, your problem may not be resolved overnight but that’s the beauty of intention and time; you put the right intentions out there into the Universe and you will see the positive results; give it time, you will get what you are seeking.

When you know you have a busy ahead tell yourself, “I can handle this, I’ve handled much worse, I am in control” – don’t forget to breathe! Honestly, as a full time working mother who has 90% responsibility of caring for my son, the full days at work followed by parents evenings, open evenings or training sessions the amount of times my heart has felt as though it is about to pop out of chest due to “stress” is unreal – however as time has gone on, the more I have a reality check, what I feel isn’t true stress. I tell myself at least once a week “I have this all under control”

Step 2: Putting things into perspective

How big are your problems? I’m a huge fan of Paul McGee’s 1-10 scale, where you ask yourself how big a deal is your issue on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being death.

I say this regularly to my students who come into lesson occasionally with what they consider earth shattering problems i.e. my friend isn’t my friend anymore – as much as I adore working with children, I also like to give them a dose of reality by asking them how big this situation is in comparison to death (fortunately I have a great bond with all my students, so they take it with a light heart)

It’s healthy for you to really put your situation into the bigger picture, we often forget there are reasons out there which can cause a great deal of stress such as poor health or the death of a loved one; our work load, toddler refusing to eat their dinner or trying to keep up with our social lives doesn’t really compare when we use the 1-10 scale.

Step 3: Have you checked if you are still breathing?

Seriously, breathing is an involuntary bodily function, so vital to our survival and yet we forget all about its purpose in helping us to stay alive!

In the moments of our temporary insanity we all experience, we should become more aware of our breathing, heart beat and pulse. To give us that one minute where we remember we are still human but most importantly that we are alive. Stop yourself from whatever you are doing in moments of stress, either place your hand on your heart, close your eyes and listen to your breathing or feel your pulse.

This will do one of two things for you (or both)

  1. You will be reminded that you are only HUMAN, not a robot. No matter our size, shape, skin colour, gender, social status, amount of money we have or age our blood all runs red just like our hearts beat the same beat and our lungs still pump the same oxygen in and out of our body. Whatever baggage is weighing you down, is it worth compromising your health over? Our heart, mind and body can only take so much before it malfunctions – so don’t forget to breathe!

  2.  You’ll also give yourself a moment of silence. Even if its during a toilet break at work or school, in a long queue of a shop or sitting in traffic after a hectic day. It will give you a reminder of the need to slow down, reflect on what’s happening in your life to create feelings of stress and grateful for the fact your heart is still beating even after all you feel you have been through.

 

Step 4: What can you let go of?

If you know there is a direct source of stress in your life, maybe an outdated relationship, a dead end job, unhappy with your appearance, an aspect of your home you don’t like, money worries or everyday family chores, ask yourself what you can get rid of.

Now, I assume there’s no bargaining on selling the kids (I’ve tried) so be realistic in terms of what can stay or go. Let’s take the more difficult source of stress which isn’t easily removed, this being the children. We know how hard it is with managing everyday life and trying to be the best parents even though no matter what we do we somehow always end up feeling we didn’t do X, Y and Z good enough. Start to become well trained at reminding yourself that one day your son won’t want to hold Mums hand as much as they may do now, they wont need you to bathe or toilet them, one day they will even be embarrassed if you pick them up from school!

Children don’t remain our little babies forever though at heart we know they always will be. Even with toddler tantrums, simply remind yourself that this is the child’s way of expressing emotions they do not understand and that its our job to help them understand the feelings they feel; sort of look at them with pity as they lay there so carefully positioned they could play the role of a dying cat.

If your source of stress is a little easier to resolve such as feelings of clutter in the home, there’s nothing better than a deep cleanse or some up-cycling of old furniture. I really enjoy clearing out old clutter and either sending it to a charity shop or take part in some flea market/car boot sales. Who knew that the cause of your stresses could earn you some extra cash!

Overall, if you can’t remove the source of your problem you do have to find a way that works best for you in dealing with the stress, whether you try speaking aloud to remind yourself that “this too shall pass” inhale, exhale and begin again, check you are still breathing OR set yourself two to three affirmations on your fridge, wardrobe door to give you a reminder to lessen the stress.

You really do deserve true peace.

Step 5: Walk up a hill

The title sounds more appealing then me saying do some exercise and eat right! But honestly, you need to exercise and eat right. You don’t need to run 10 marathons and eat a vegan diet but you should seriously consider what you are putting inside of you and how much you move your body.

You can start at anytime, find a good hill to walk up and down a few times a week, be breathless, be thirsty for water and feel those butt cheeks burn! The natural endorphin’s that will be released in your body will absolutely reduce stress. Nobody ever regrets a workout (at least I hope not) if you are at home most the day with children, or perhaps can’t afford a gym membership body weight exercises are perfect. Keep it really simple, start with a walk around the block, doing some squats at home even dancing around the house to your favourite songs. Sometimes its just an opportunity to give you a reason to shout or scream to the music when really all you want to do is kick your manager in the shins for getting on your nerves (could just be me)

Eating healthily to feel good doesn’t have to be costly either, my two favourite feel good ingredients are turmeric and ghee. They don’t sound as appealing as chocolate but both of these foods do amazing things for hormones which ultimately leave you feeling good from the inside out. Simply use 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric in boiled water morning and night or you might prefer to use warmed milk before bed, you can read the benefits here. For ghee, simply warm 1 tablespoon in the morning before any other drink or foods –method and benefits found here (ghee isn’t recommended for those with high blood pressure or high cholesterol)

Stress is an ongoing process that we have to learn how to handle in our lives – we can’t let it consume us when we are here to enjoy life.

#managingstress # stressreduction #stresstips #healthandwellness #firstblog

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