Wise Words Wednesday .....Recognising and Transforming Stress
Posted on 10th October 2017 at 16:42
“The number of stressors has multiplied exponentially: traffic, money, success, work/life balance, the economy, the environment, parenting, family conflict, relationships, disease. As the nature of human life has become far more complicated, our ancient stress response hasn't been able to keep up” - Andrew J. Bernstein
Modern Day Living
The reality is that modern day living is very different today compared to 10 or 20 years ago. The way we communicate has changed with the various social media platforms you have access to. Shopping habits have changed with products being delivered to you the same day with a click of a few buttons. Everything is now designed to get you from A to B in the fastest way possible. The mobile phone has become like a critical life organ without which most people can’t even function.
Do you sometimes feel like you are caught in a whirlwind? Does it feel like there is just too much to do and not enough time? Does life sometimes feel overwhelming and difficult?
I know for me personally the answer is ‘yes’ to all of the above and yes it feels stressful.
The Stress Response
Like it or not change is happening rapidly and there is no escaping or avoiding it. Constant change can bring with it uncertainty, insecurity and the fear of the unknown which can cause most people to feel stressed. I also know that some people really thrive on change and embrace it.
Unfortunately we have an out dated internal operating system when it comes to dealing with stress.
What this means is that day to day challenges can trigger the same stress response, whether you are being chased by a wild animal or whether you are experiencing poor internet connection. The stress response releases stress hormones and prepares the body to fight, freeze or flee. Every time you trigger the stress response you knock your body out of balance.
The body is designed to cope with short term stress, however if you constantly live in stress, your body will not be able to cope after a while and this eventually will lead to poor health or even burnout.
Are You Stressed?
Stress is a very personal and individual experience and it can affect you emotionally, physically and affect your behaviour. I know that sometimes you don’t even recognise that you are stressed. Below are a list of some behaviours and emotions that you may be able to relate to.
• Finding it hard to make decisions
• Snapping at people
• Unable to concentrate
• Avoiding situations or people
• Feeling tearful or crying
• Over or under eating
• Smoking or drinking more than usual
• Not being able relax and switch off
• Feeling irritable, aggressive, impatient or frustrated
• You can’t seem to quieten your mind
• Unable to laugh and enjoy yourself
• Feeling depressed and anxious
• Not wanting to get out of bed and face the day
• Worried about your well being
• Lonely and isolated
• Difficulty sleeping
Research shows that you can transform stress and create more positive emotions that create more inner peace, ease and calm. This is done by tapping into the heart’s intelligence. You tap into the physiology of recovering quickly from stressful situations, build your inner battery of energy and therefore build resilience and improve your problem solving and creativity skills.
HeartMath have created a number of techniques that you can use on the spot and no one would even know that you are using them. I’ve included one of these techniques in my top tip below.
Heart-Focused Breathing™ which when practiced can take the charge out of a stressful situation and shift you into a more neutral state. A bit like pressing the pause button on your emotions.
Heart focused breathing requires you to focus on the heart area and imagine your breath is flowing in and out of your heart or chest area, breathing slowly and deeper. It is suggested that you inhale for 5 counts and exhale for 5 counts. Alternatively find a rhythm that’s comfortable for you.
This is a key first step before adding other steps. Try it for a minute and then increase your time. It’s simple and effective and you can do it anywhere, anytime with your eyes open.
Heart Intelligence: Connecting with the Intuitive Guidance of the Heart by Doc Childre, Howard Martin, Deborah Rozman, and Rollin McCraty
Over to You
I would love to hear about your experience of stress and what tools and strategies you use to transform stress. Leave a comment below.
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