Many of us struggle with anxiety, others of us lead stressful lives where we're juggling responsibilities with work, family, social obligations, bills, and all the issues that come along with those everyday situations. On the other hand, stress can also manifest when we carry over yesterday’s concerns, worries, and fears into our present day lives and project those onto our futures. Unfortunately, if we don't learn to regulate our emotions and stress levels, this accumulation will almost manifest in unmanageavly high reactive tension and unregulated emotions that can seriously backfire. This is exactly why we must be able to prepare ourselves better for stressful situations, “release” our stress as it presents itself, and try not to let concerns from the previous day or days interfere with our present and tomorrow. The only thing we have control over is now and today even though of course there are things we can do to prevent more stress build up in the future.
Here are 5 tips to work on busting stress in your life
- Stress Busting Tip #1: Detach
Instead of dealing with an unfriendly cashier in the morning and letting it ruin your whole day, it's important to figure out what you need to do to let things go and move forward. Ask yourself, when something bad happens in the morning do you tend to spiral out of control and let that create more stress in your day? We've all done it. And then what happens? Ever gone down that downward negative spiral and things just keep getting worse and worse and more and more bad things keep happening?
For example, if you have a negative encounter with a colleague who takes something out on you and you let it upset you so much and overwhelm you to the point that you can't do a good job on your presentation later or you snap at your partner or kids who had nothing to do with it. We've all done it, but it's important to recognize that you're letting them stress take over and you're giving away all your power. Plus, the fact that that colleague was taking out shit on you probably has nothing to do with you at all and everything to do with whatever they're dealing with.
“The mind can go either direction under stress—toward positive or toward negative: on or off. Think of it as a spectrum whose extremes are unconsciousness at the negative end and hyperconsciousness at the positive end. The way the mind will lean under stress is strongly influenced by training.”
― Frank Herbert, Dune
When you're stressed, there are many ways you can deal with it and we all have our own methods. However, here are some to try if you find yourself constantly stressed and out of emotional control.
How to Detach:
Take a quiet moment and detach from whatever is happening. Sit in your car for 5 minutes alone and do some breath work. Sit down on a bench. If you're at work, maybe you can get a few minutes to yourself somewhere. Do some box breathing. Sit in a chair, lie down if you can, take a few moments and place your hand on your stomach and observe your breath. At the end of every day, or after stressful situations, try to take the decision to release every thought from yesterday and catch yourself in the moment to be mindful of the now…. this thought only...this breath...this moment. Take in three very deep breaths and slowly release each one.
Four Steps to Master Box Breathing
Step 1: Breathe in counting to four slowly. Feel the air enter your lungs.
Step 2: Hold your breath for 4 seconds. Try to avoid inhaling or exhaling for 4 seconds.
Step 3: Slowly exhale through your mouth for 4 seconds.
Step 4: Repeat steps 1 to 3 until you feel re-centered.
Stay in your inner quiet place. Go deep inside to a place where you feel that you are at peace and then just relax and breathe in deeply and enjoy the feeling of being at one and at peace within yourself. Use this special time and place to be calm. Free your mind and body of all worry, all regret, all disappointment, all anger and grief. Here are some more tips on ways to increase your overall happiness.
Meditation can also be a great way to deal with stress, especially in the morning as a starting point. There are tons of free Youtube vidoes, or apps like Headspace can help you keep track of your progress on a daily basis with a variety of meditations for morning, evening, and everything in between.
Yoga practice integrates both the body and mind together to create grounding that can be incredibly helpful for stress release and also grounding as a morning starting point. It's also great for toning, stretching, mindfulness and balance.
Stress Busting Tip #2: Release Negative Energy
The second method is about releasing energy to release stress through mindful activities. Instead of self-soothing by calming yourself to a peaceful state via breath work or meditation, this tip encourages you to move a bit to create a sense of calmness to distract yourself a bit mentally. Do something repetitive maybe like cleaning, washing the dishes while listening to calming music, taking a quick stroll, raking the leaves, something that can be mindless and grounding. All the while, you're in physical motion but your mind is quiet and calm and you're in your own special place within.
Practice this act of quiet and calm each day when you find yourself starting to get stressed out, and you will see that you can accomplish so much more and balance yourself when you need to if you just pause to stop yourself and go back to whatever needs to be done. Just a 15 min time out to this mindful, quiet place can be extremely helpful for resetting until you have reached your inner place of calm and can go back to the rest of the day.
Stress Busting Tip #3: Mind Your Health
The very best thing that you can do for yourself is to eat, drink and rest – to your health! Yes, this sounds like a no-brainer but so many times, we work ourselves to death depleting ourselves over time and one day we just snap at something small. Stress is easily brought on by not eating and drinking properly and bad quality food and drink will end up making you feel crappy.
Sure, we might be so busy we just grab fast food on the go and eat snacks or maybe something of no nutritional value like a handful of cookies. But it adds up, and not in a good way. When we don't nourish our bodies, we don't feel good after a while. We feel sluggish, don't have energy, we are snappy, unsatisfied, and unhappy. This is what eating badly does to us over time. Of course, this absolutely doesn't mean that you can't treat yourself, but relying only on treats to temporarily make you feel better will only lead to temporary stimulus followed by a crash - and it won't be pretty. Eating healthy foods that include fresh veggies and eliminating grease and sugar will make you feel so much better if you let it happen. Limit the amount of salt, sugar, caffeine and alcohol in your diet. Drink plenty of water each day and do at least some moderate exercise every day- even if it's just a walk. This will breathe new life into your skin, hair and will nourish all of your vital organs.
Here's a simple but important one. Unsurprisingly, when you don’t get the number of hours of sleep that you need each night, you are only setting yourself up for additional stress. Ever not slept well, or gone out late the night before, or maybe your kids wouldn't let you sleep, and it added up, and you just lost it, on something stupid? Cried out of tired frustrations? Yep, that's what happens when we're tired!
Stress busting Tip #4: Exercise
Sometimes, all that build up of stress and negative, explosive energy accumulates and leads to unstable emotions and lots of frustration. This is where exercise comes in. We all know we should be exercising but what many people don't realize is that how it affects our emotions and the way we are able to deal with our daily stress levels. Also, burning energy can be a great way to burn off some steam and also tire your body out so that you can sleep better at night and have more energy during the day.
According to the Mayo Clinic,"Virtually any form of exercise, from aerobics to yoga, can act as a stress reliever. If you're not an athlete or even if you're out of shape, you can still make a little exercise go a long way toward stress management.
Start moderately, make sure you don't go from 0-1000% overnight. This will only create a negative association for exercise in your life and you want the opposite. Don't punish yourself. Exercise because you love yourself and your body not because you hate it. Make sure you can figure out a realistic exercise routine you can stick to and something you can look forward to instead of dreading. How many times have you started off the new year at the gym and overdone it? Lifted too many weights, over-did your cardio? And ended up sore and dreading going back and trying to do it again? Don't make that amateur mistake. Find something you like doing and make it your exercise habit.
Do you like walking? Do 10,000 steps.
Like dancing? Why not do a class in person or online
Like running? Make it part of your morning or afternoon routine
Like swimming? Find a pool
Like the gym? Find one nearby your house or work that you know you can easily go to so it's not so easy to talk yourself out of it
Don't like any of those things? Get a mat and check out Youtube videos for exercises for toning and cardio, jump rope, or yoga
Stress busting Tip #5: EFT - Emotional Freedom Technique
Learn EFT - the emotional freedom technique. It's the #1 way I deal with stress and anxiety. It uses the body's acupuncture points and energy meridians to calm you when you're stressed out. There are several ways you can use it. As part of a morning routine day, it can be an extremely beneficial for managing emotions and grounding yourself when things get tense.
In EFT, the tapping is done on the specific energy points of the body that should lead to the flow of energy throughout the body thus releasing the blocked energy as well. This lessens the emotional charge of past situations, fearful emotions of upcoming situations, or limiting beliefs that create anxious thoughts and feelings. If you 'believe' in meditation without needing to understand what's really happening on a neurological level, then you can be open to the idea of EFT too :D
“Being under stress is like being stranded in a body of water. If you panic, it will cause you to flail around so that the water rushes into your lungs and creates further distress. Yet, by calmly collecting yourself and using controlled breathing you remain afloat with ease.”
― Alaric Hutchinson, Living Peace: Essential Teachings for Enriching Life
These are just some simple techniques, let me know in the comments box what works for you? Are you a person that exercises when stressed? Or do you prefer quiet time in meditation? Have you ever tried EFT tapping? Let me know your secrets for stress busting below I'm interested to hear!
ANDREA HUNT - Online Transformational Life Coach & EFT Tapping Practitioner based in Munich, Germany
I'm an accredited transformational life coach from Animas Centre for Coaching UK and a member of the International Coaching Federation. I'm also a Level 2 practitioner in EFT Tapping (Emotional Freedom Technique) and a member of AEFTP (Association of Emotional Freedom Technique Professionals).
If you're not sure where to start transforming your life, you can download my free ebook on How to Start Your Personal Growth Journey.
Are you ready to change your life, let go of old beliefs, empower yourself for a mindset shift to move forward? Mark Batterson says: You're always one decision away from a totally different life.
Header photo: Mubariz Mehdizadeh
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