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Originally posted as: Getting the Stress Out; Part 2 [August 2016]
Today I want to talk about stress and give you 5 steps you can use to help you use it in your life without letting it overwhelm you or your health.
On a previous show I talked about why we need stress in our life, what causes it and how to become aware of it in your body. I introduced the analogy of the elastic – which, in case you don't remember – involves tuning in to how stressed you feel and determining your sweet spot which is that place where you function best.
This elastic can help you become aware of how much stress you can handle; when you might need to bring something new into your life or risk unconsciously creating drama; as well as what amount of stress will put you at risk for health concerns.
Basically, you use a number system of 0 – 10 with 0 being absolutely no stress which can be reached in deep meditation, but while living our life most of us function best at about a 3 or 4… and 10 being a broken elastic – which is actually having a break down that leaves you in the hospital or worse.
You can go back and listen to that show if you need more (called Ideas for Decreasing Stress and Increasing Calm) or pick up my ABC's of Stress busting for free off my website, but for now, just know that when I refer to how tight your elastic is…that's what I'm talking about.
Step 1 to living with stress is self-awareness; or becoming aware of how it presents in your body, what amount is optimal for you to be at your best and what indicates you need to release some of it – STAT!
Step 2, is about the tools, strategies and practices you have in your toolbox to help you deal with stress, preferably before it becomes a problem.
When I ask people " What do you do when you notice you are stressed out?" there are a few anomalies, but usually their lists can be divided into predictable categories.
- exercise (running, aerobics, weight lifting)
- distraction (music, colouring, painting, TV., fast thrills – driving fast, skydiving)
- comfort foods or drink (tea, chocolate, ice-cream, booze, smoking)
- connecting with others (talking with a friends, counselor/therapist, playing with kids)
- sports (football, hockey, racquet ball)
- tuning into self (yoga, meditation, journaling, labyrinth)
- connecting with nature (walking, petting an animal, riding horse, sitting by a river)
Some of these tools can be unhealthy – especially if stressed a lot, but many of them are great.
What you might notice about them, however, is that very few can be used at work, in a difficult situation with other people (i.e. during a meeting, while grocery shopping, etc.) That means, that while these stress relieving ideas are wonderful for those situations where you have the time and freedom to put them into place, if that's all you have in your toolbox, you can run into trouble during really busy and stressful times in your life when you most need to de-stress.
For example when your mother-in-law calls you at work at a really busy time and tells you she will be at your place when you get home and will be staying for a week...
or hubby calls you to say he's bringing an important client home for supper and you know the house is a mess, plus you were just having pizza tonight because you're busy and you've got the kids parent council meeting which you chair…
The tighter the elastic when this new stress develops (which you can imagine if it's already a really busy day at work your going to be above your sweet spot) the harder it will be to calm yourself down in the moment.
So you need to have a whole variety of tools to use in any situation…at a moment's notice…wherever you might be.
Tune into the podcast to hear my story about falling to pieces when my University Professor challenged me on the phone as well as the other 3 steps for decreasing the stress in your life. Stress is a challenge for many of us so learning how to keep it in its sweet spot is an important part of living a healthy life, building strong relationships and even establishing a successful career.
If you find there is a lot of stress in your life, sign up for a free no-obligation discovery call with me and we'll set you up with some strategies you can use right away to start making a healthy difference.
Life is full of ups and downs – it's these moments which help us grow beyond our comfort zone that actually bring us to life. They don't always feel great when they are happening, but they feel a heck of a lot better when we make the effort to take back what control we can and refuse to allow it to stress us out.
With much respect for you and the journey you are on…
Pick up your complimentary ABC's of Stress Busting