Tackle Stress in the Moment
Stress is merely your reaction to the things going on around you. We may not be able to control what goes on around us, but we can control how we will react to it. Stress is the body’s response to tense situations, designed to make you do something. Unfortunately, stress is typically negative and can wreak havoc on the mind and body.
Stress happens when you have gone over capacity, taken on more than you should, or experienced something you were not ready for. There are many things in life that can create stress inside us.
What if we could train our mind and body not to respond with stress, but rather to channel that energy into passion. In order to master the response of stress, we must first learn balance.
People practice for years using meditation, martial arts, yoga and more to control their mind and create balance within them. These are all fantastic practices and they have many benefits for the mind and body, but we don’t all have years to wait to get the stress relief we need.
The good news here is that there are many ways to relieve stress every day. In fact, there are many ways you can relieve stress right in the moment it is developing. When you face a tense situation, here are some ideas to keep stress under control:
1) Clench your fists. Stress happens because of the body’s natural ‘fight or flight’ response to tense situations. You can let your brain know that the situation is under control by making controlled movements. Opening and closing your hands into a fist repeatedly lets your body know that you are still in control and everything is okay.
2) Move around. For the same reasons as clenching your fists, movement can help your body calm down. Stress makes your body want to do something, so let it. If you are able, walk around, pace, or take a stroll. Letting out some energy will help you feel more relaxed and get you back in focus.
3) Breathe The most basic act of life, and stress can distort even this. By controlling your breathing, you are filling your heart and mind with fresh oxygen and gaining focus. Slow your breathing down, take deeper breaths, breath from your stomach, in your nose and out your mouth… and form of controlled breathing will help you stay grounded.
4) Change your thinking. Stress tends to make us freak out and worry about every little thing. It makes us pessimistic and gives us negative eyes. Practice stopping these negative thought patterns when they happen and redirect them. Instead of worrying how you will get everything done on time, redirect and acknowledge that this is a tense situation, but you are still in control. Decide that this energy inside you does not need to be negative, but rather is passion and drive to accomplish tasks. Refocus and then make a plan to keep the situation under control. In this example you could start by writing a to do list to help keep you on track.
Knowing how to control stress in the moment is a very helpful skill. Practice these methods before tense situations arise so you are ready when they come. Remember that stress can build up inside you. It can stay in your body and cause your muscles to tense and your thoughts to race.
If you can change your response and slow stress down in the moment it is coming, you will help prevent all this unnecessary build up. Practice these strategies today so you are ready the when the next tense situation arises.