Stress and pressure go hand in hand with work and life. It’s a package deal. Sometimes, the stress likes to take over and create a huge mess that we have to clean up. It’s kind of like having grandchildren. You get to play with them and give them sugar, and then when the sugar kicks in and the little one gets all cranky, you hand him or her back to their Mom and Dad. Sounds like fun right? Wrong.
When stress takes over, it’s an all system melt down. Stress is so harmful on your body and your mind. In small amounts, stress is actually healthy. It gives you that little extra surge of energy to push through and get something done. When stress is chronic and daily, your health will suffer as well as your ability to cope with smaller amounts of stress.
Sure, you could take Xanax or Valium to calm you down, but it’s a temporary fix. Pills do not fix the underlying inability to deal with stress. You could try cognitive therapy for some coping skills, and let me just say that is a huge help, however some people do not have the money to pay for weekly therapy sessions, and insurance is a little questionable about paying for elective therapy. Let me give you the name of my doctor. He is very cheap and is a wealth of information.
Meet Dr. Google Search Bar.
I have combed through every orifice possible looking for stress coping techniques and have found three that seem to work the best. Of course you will have to try them all to see which one works the best for you, but if you are like me, then you have plenty of stress to practice them with.
- Learn to breathe properly. One of the most effective ways to train this response is to learn how to breathe properly. Shallow breathing means that the diaphragm muscles are not being used. The secret is to inhale deeply so that the chest and stomach are filled with air. If you are lying down, you can easily feel your stomach rising by placing your hands over your belly button area. Then exhale slowly. As you do so, concentrate on the movement you feel and also repeat a mantra such as ‘breathe in’ and ‘breathe out’. By breathing like this you are engaging the autonomic nervous system to be more productive which will be extremely useful in fighting the panic response.
- Learn to get away from negative people. You are in control but not when you are surrounded by anxious, negative and cynical people. Learning how to avoid these people is crucial especially when preparing for an extra stressful event. These people’s negativity is contagious, just like people’s happiness. The more negative the people are around you, the more you will become negative in your thinking and acting, and your ability to cope with stress will be much lower. Plus, you will stress about the smallest of things because you already feel stressed by the negative energy you are around.
- Learn to have a more grateful mindset. When you are under pressure, cortisol is released and functions like a lubricant to your nervous system. The problem arises when long term, constant stress produces too much cortisol. Like anything else, too much cortisol will damage the nervous system. When you have a more grateful mindset, you are mentally a much happier person. Feeling happy more often reduces the levels of cortisol in your body. Plus, you will be much calmer which will make you less likely to over-react to stressful situations.
Stress is no fun. Learn to manage it and you will be a much happier and more centered person. Who doesn’t want that?