Stress Reduction Tips
Techniques to manage stress are essential for everyone at one time or another. Stress of itself is not the problem, it is how we handle it that becomes the issue. Overcoming challenging stresses in our lives gives us a sense of fulfilment and satisfaction. It is when stress is overwhelming and we feel out of our depth that the knowledge of stress reduction skills become essential for our peace of mind. So whether you feel seriously “stressed-out” or find yourself occasionally feeling too pressured for your liking, you can only benefit by trying some of these proven techniques for reducing stress levels and managing the remaining stress in a more effective way.
1. Use “self-talk” to abort the stress response.
Self-talk simply involves telling yourself to slow down, to get to a point of high concentration and great relaxation. “My arms and legs are heavy and warm. My heartbeat is calm and regular. My body breathes freely and comfortably. I feel relaxed and at ease.”
2. Identify and “defuse” your stressors.
Locate your stressors (those things that stress you) and deal with them. Ask yourself what they are. When you get stressed, acknowledge that you are upset with an “I am angry” statement, and then take time out. You can’t change a reaction when you’re in the middle of one. Once you’re calm again, write down your reaction and think of ways you can more constructively redirect the response. For instance, ask yourself, “How would I like to respond?” What are your options? Choose alternate, acceptable responses and remind yourself of them day after day. Eventually, you will condition yourself to react differently.
3. Laugh it off by consciously incorporating more humour in your life.
Learn to not take yourself quite so seriously. Your body secretes endorphins when you laugh. These natural hormones give you a natural high. Where possible, escalate a smile into a chuckle, a chuckle into a laugh and a laugh into a belly- shaking one. Humour can smooth over many a difficult moment or make a tedious task more enjoyable. Humour helps create “common ground” in relationships.
4. Try “physical impact activity.”
Or, in simple terms, hit something! The key to this is to do so as a means of preventative medicine. Exploding can be an excellent release of tension. Tennis, squash and handball are great stress relievers two or three times a week. So are jogging and body surfing. Golf – because it requires you to be too precise and controlled – may be not so stress relieving.
5. Embark on self-discovery.
Become aware of your attitudes, beliefs and responses. Change your view of yourself. Take responsibility for your own perceptions of yourself. Do you love, respect and appreciate yourself? What has to change for that to happen? Be open to change and learn to take a risk in making yourself more emotionally vulnerable with people you trust.
6. Turn off the radio and TV for one week.
Or at least avoid what has come to be called “news”. Spend time looking for the good in the people around you, and comment when you see people doing something “right”. At the end of the week, evaluate how this experiment affected you.
7. Recognise that you have control of your responses.
We can’t always control what happens to us but we can control how we react to the things that happen to us. We may not be able to avoid becoming emotionally upset, but we can control the intensity and duration of that upset. For example, instead of reacting depressed or hostile, we can learn to react as if only sad or irritated.
To be continued…..
N.D., D.R.M., D.B.M., Dip Cl. Hyp., I.Y.T.A.
Petrea King is a well-known author, inspirational speaker, counsellor and workshop leader. She has practiced many forms of meditation since the age of seventeen and she is also qualified as a naturopath, herbalist, hypnotherapist, yoga and meditation teacher.
In 1983 Petrea was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia and was not expected to live. Meditation and the integration of past traumatic experiences became paramount in her recovery, much of which was spent in a monastery near Assisi in Italy.
Since then, Petrea has counselled individually or through residential programs more than 60,000 people living with life-challenging illnesses, grief, loss, trauma and tragedy. Petrea sees crisis as a catalyst for spiritual growth and understanding and as an opportunity for healing and peace.
Petrea has received the Advance Australia Award and the Centenary Medal for her contribution to the community. She has been nominated for Australian of the Year in each year since 2004.