So how do you ease stress in your life?
We all suffer from stress of one sort or another and stress is good for us in the right quantity. Some of us deal with it better than others and some of us have more than our fair share to deal with at any one time. We’re not looking to get rid of stress, we’re just looking for ways to ease and deal with it without it consuming every waking (and sleeping) hour.
Unless you’re Jack Johnson who gives the impression of being utterly laid back and without a care in the world………(well that’s the impression I get from his lazy Sunday morning voice,) you’ll need to have strategies for reducing stress………… here’s how I deal with it.
- Breathe - and I mean real belly breathing. When we’re stressed we breathe shallowly right up in our throats. I hear it on the phone when I’m coaching a client, I hear the tightness in their (and I recognise it in my own) voice. Relax, let go, put your hands on your belly and feel your diaphragm rise and fall as you take long slow breaths. It’s nothing new, you’ve heard it a hundred times before but it’s worth repeating because it really does work in calming the system and easing stress. You’ll notice your shoulders fall too and your body relaxing. Do it standing up, sitting down but best of all lying flat on the floor or your bed. Do it for 2 minutes.
- Exercise – walk, run, Zumba, Yoga, golf…………whatever it is you do, do it wholeheartedly. When my marriage was falling apart my poor dog was walked and walked and walked, she would look at me with those doleful eyes as if to say ‘Really? Are you serious? Again?’ We don’t need to know all the science, we just need to know that we feel great after exercising. It gives us a high and a shift in perspective and that’s all that matters when we are looking to ease stress.
- Phone a friend – and not to have a good old moan and bitch. You want to chat about anything but your current reason for stress. Listen to her/him tell a funny story about what they got up to at the weekend, their holiday plans, their next big idea. Be swept up in their story, their life for a while. Move the focus from you and your world. Step outside yourself for the duration of the phone call.
- Sex – Oh yes! Whether with a partner or solo. Orgasm does magical things to our bodies – physically and emotionally. Did you know it’s a great way to get rid of a headache (much more fun than paracetamol)?! Sex releases endorphins, the feel good hormones, I know for many it might be counter intuitive in that stress often reduces our libido but it’s worth a go surely!
- Resist alcohol – and high carb, high fat foods - the comfort we get from drinking and eating these foods is superficial and does more harm than good. Another glass of wine always seems like a good idea at the time to ease the stress but from experience I’ve found it to have the reverse effect…………….ps I’m not saying to give it up all together! Who wants to be a saint?!
- Help someone out – visit an elderly neighbour, bake a cake for a housebound friend, help out in the local charity shop, be a big brother/sister to a troubled teenager………….be a part of something bigger than yourself.
- R&R – this is very, very important. Listen to music whilst having a deep bath surrounded by scented candles (that always works for me!), have a massage, reflexology, allow touch – it is ultimately restorative.
- Notice what is working well -we so easily become overwhelmed by our stress and imagine that it is everything in our lives that causes us stress. Take a look at what is working (you might benefit from working with a coach), it may well surprise you.
- Rid yourself of energy vampires – don’t add to your stress by spending time with those that suck you dry. Spend time with those who raise your game, lift you up and make you smile.
- Let go of what you cannot control – what is the point of worrying and stressing about things that you have absolutely no control over? Take a long hard look and make a list of all the things you are stressed about in your life. Be ruthless. What can you do nothing about? Draw a line through it. Bin it.
What works for you? Leave me a comment in the box below.