Stress is very much taken for granted these days as part of life; it seems that many people accept it as part of this so called “modern living”.
And, while there is such a thing as “healthy” stress when it provides you with motivation that helps you stretch and grow, to take on new challenges or overcome difficulties – the majority of stress in today’s world is chronic, damaging and unhealthy.
Stress is a word that is recognised by all, everybody experiences different levels of stress throughout their life whether it is during exam time, festive seasons, moving home, when a partner or family member is ill and during a crisis or emergency etc.
There are those who have above normal stress within their jobs i.e. pilots, fire fighters, police, ambulance drivers, emergency healthcare professionals etc.
Stress can become a way of being. It can become habitual without a person actually realising it at the time. Not only does it affect the physical body creating tension throughout – muscles becoming tighter, joints stiffer, heart beating faster etc. which prevents you from working and relaxing efficiently, it saps the joy of life from you.
One of the symptoms of stress is that your job is terribly important and it comes before anything or anybody else. Even if you are not in a paid job this could be that you are so busy doing things, rushing around, always on a mission. This type of lifestyle can eventually lead to a nervous breakdown.
Stress affects us all differently, yet what we all have in common is that it affects us emotionally, mentally, physically and also our energy field (which is your aura and chakras) causing blockages, and stagnation within your energy field. Your energetic colours become dull and grey and murky colours appear throughout it showing exactly where the blockages are.
Signs of Stress show up in different ways – here are a few symptoms that you may recognise:
Aches and pains, headaches, fatigue/lethargy, stomach upsets, loss of sexual drive, anxiousness/worry, tense, irritable, depressed, forgetful, poor concentration, mental blocks, sleep problems, difficulty in making decisions, crying, always getting a cold, run down, withdrawing from friends and family, negative outlook on life, anxious or racing thoughts, constant worrying, the inability to relax, feeling angry, lonely, eating too much or not enough, bowel problems, procrastinating or neglecting life’s responsibilities, using alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs to relax – did I say a few different ways the list goes on…..
It would be great if you never had to get stressed out again – yet that isn’t reality, as it can appear in varying degrees of intensity and for different lengths of time depending on what is happening in your life, so I would like to share a few tips on how to manage stress and live a less stressful life.
Develop and nurture self-awareness.
As you begin to know yourself better it will be easier to recognise when you are becoming stressed and what is causing it, so you will be able to take positive action in what you do and in how you think, so that you can more easily stay focused on being productive rather than self-destructive, thus, creating a balanced lifestyle that is right for you.
Do one job at a time, both in your work and your private life.
This will make it easier for you focus and do the job properly with a higher standard and on completion you will have peace of mind, knowing that you will not have to go back and make any alterations as you already have the result you wanted.
Keep your daily to-do list as short as possible.
Put three important things to do at the top, followed by some less urgent things that need doing and write everything else down on a separate piece of paper. When you write it down you ground your thoughts. Keep it handy so as you think of something else you can just jot it down, this takes away the stress and panic that you may forget and frees up your mind for staying focused on more important things.
As you complete your daily list you can then choose which you would like to do next off the other list or if your list is not completed for the day, don’t overthink or create a problem for yourself – just add it to the list for tomorrows daily list. Keep this a simple procedure, as spending time beating yourself up that you didn’t get the whole list done will only cause you unnecessary stress and drain your energy and affect your motivation and self-confidence.
The moment you notice that you have any kind of tension within your body, don’t wait, take a deep breath and hold it for four seconds then slowly release it for eight seconds or more. Your body will naturally relax, it understands that the long out breath is permission to relax, that it is okay to relax – you may liken this to the moment when after a full on day you flop onto the sofa and let a long sigh, and your body and mind begin to unwind and relax. So, don’t wait, know it is okay to be relaxed any time of the day, this will help you stay in the present moment and stop your mind wandering off into the past or future, helping you remain calm and focused in a relaxed way. Create a new belief that it is always okay to be relaxed and present in the moment at any time.
Take the time to eliminate what is not working for you.
Re-evaluate what is important for you to feel happy in your life, this may mean that you let go of some activities i.e. maybe you force yourself to go to the gym even when it is an effort, swap it for another activity that you enjoy more, maybe a walk, swim or playing with your children – your body knows what you like and dislike and will respond accordingly – when you clap your hands when you are happy it is easy to do, when you do it as an exercise your arms start aching and the clapping makes your hands sore! Choose the people that you like to be around most, those who enjoy life and have a positive attitude and let go of those who it is tiring to be around and drain your energy.
Say “no” more often.
This will free up time for you and save your energy so you can do the things that you like in both your personal and business life.
When you find yourself rushing around, deliberately slow down, as you slow your body down then your thoughts will become clearer. Make sure you take the time to eat slowly as this will help your digestive system. Allow yourself to enjoy the taste, smells and textures of your food, your body will appreciate it – helping you to regulate your energy better throughout the day.
Ensure you get enough sleep.
Sleep allows you to heal and recover from the day’s activities and allows your mind to sort through the day’s event storing the memories in the correct place within your brain and bring you an inner calmness to start the next day. You will be pleasantly surprised at the difference a good night’s sleep will bring you – making a huge difference in your moods, how you look at life and help you handle stress easier.
Get up 15 minutes earlier than usual.
You can use this time to stretch your body, breathe deeply and to enjoy your breakfast in a relaxed way. When you start your day in a relaxed way this will continue throughout the day. Whereas, if you are rushed and stressed in the beginning this energy will follow you throughout the day.
De-clutter your home and work space.
If this seems overwhelming to you to do on your own or you have trouble staying focused, then ask a friend to help. This will help you get it done more easily and you could return the kindness and favour to them in the future. Start with one room at a time and when you have finished, do the next. This will reduce your stress as you will be able to find things easier, take less cleaning etc. freeing up your time giving you more precious moments.
Share how you are feeling with somebody.
Verbalising and expressing how you are feeling helps you to let go of the emotion that you are holding onto within your body and mind. Also, by sharing with the other person, they may be able to help you see things more clearly or help you figure out what is the best solution for you.
Stress is not completely avoidable, yet, you can minimise the amount of times you are affected by it each day, month and year by setting new boundaries in your life and changing how you react to it.
When you continue to live your life in a continuous state of stress it can lead to anxiety and depression and also be the underlying cause of many illnesses.
Start by making a decision that you no longer allow stress to rule your life and chose some of the ideas above as a starting point. Stay focused and as you create new habits in your life one step at a time, in six months’ time you can look back and see what a huge difference it has made in your life.