“One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was from a horse master. He told me to go slow to go fast. I think that applies to everything in life. We live as though there aren’t enough hours in the day but if we do each thing calmly and carefully we will get it done quicker and with much less stress.”
– Viggo Mortensen
Stress is a part of life. It comes in all sizes, shapes and forms. Similar in effect to low-quality foods, small doses of stress every day contributes to chronic disease; a big dose can be lethal. Learning simple pathways for identifying and managing stress daily not only decreases your risk factors for chronic disease, but increases your resilience when disaster strikes.
Whether stress is temporary and acute, or prolonged and chronic, it pays to invest in regular stress management BEFORE serious health consequences that can and do shorten life take hold; higher blood sugar, plaque build-up in arteries, and chronic tissue inflammation for instance. These consequences put you higher risk for diabetes, heart attack, stroke, weakened immune, and everything else from Alzheimer’s to allergies.
A word of caution: people develop patterns and habitual means of dealing with stress in early childhood that can become hardened and difficult to unravel. If you are experiencing significant, chronic stress, panic, anxiety, depression or the like, seek help that matches your need. And if the first person you work with doesn’t work for you, try again. You’re stronger than you know. Contact me as a place to start. If I can help, I will. Otherwise, I can help you understand where to where to look for assistance or refer you for help.
Here’s a list to set you on your path to bring balance back.
Admit Your Stress Exists
Consciously identify when and how you become stressed. Stress a sign of frustration that a perceived need or desire is not being met.
Feeling overwhelmed is NOT weakness. Take a hard look at what your actual needs and desires are; health, more sleep, less or more interaction with people, a job that supports you in both, a healthier relationship, a safe place that mom or dad can live supported. Even if you don’t yet have a vision for how the stress will dissipate, this is a first step toward diminishing it. Rather than deny stress exists, admit and embrace it.
Learn to Act Instead of React
Observe, respond, let go. Sounds simple. Yet, this is where a lot of folks get stuck in emotion, react quickly, regret what’s been said/done, and hang on to negative emotion. This adds to stress instead of diminishing it.
The key is to develop the ability to find balance between the comfortable and uncomfortable by actively letting go of whatever emotion arises (positive, neutral or negative). Learning to observe what is occurring this way takes practice. Practice this in a quiet space, eyes open or closed, allowing any emotions that arise to come and go without holding on to them in mind. This is a critical tool in allowing emotion to go, instead of sticking around until ruminating on the “problem” becomes excessive worry, chronic stress, anxiety, or depression.
I’m not suggesting that emotions should be shunned or ignored. Any denied emotion can become more entrenched in the bodymind. But allowing emotion to be there, coming and going without become concerned about those emotions, allows peace, calm and balance to return more quickly.
This, along with Community Resilience Model (a form of psychophysical, body-connected resilience building model developed by the Trauma Resilience Institute), and a couple of great coaches, proved to be the best tools I’ve found to alleviate my own PTSD issues. I’ve walked through stress, I can help you.
Make a Plan
A Plan is a form of positive action. Though it can feel overwhelming in the beginning if you’re unfamiliar with what you’re planning, push through. You can do it.
Start by writing about everything that is causing you stress. Put everything that comes to mind down on paper; stream of consciousness style. Don’t stop writing until you feel you’ve gotten everything out. Then walk away for a while; about 10-15 minutes. When you return, organize and prioritize your thoughts, making steps to achieve each. More on this here . . .
The process of organizing your thoughts and putting them down on paper gives your plan a higher chance of succeeding.
Enhance Coping Skills and Resilience – Make Regular Deposits in your You Bank.
This part of your stress reduction plan requires a simultaneous two-pronged approach, but both prongs represent investments in you and your resilience. Actively work on your coping skills; practical tools that enhance your ability to walk through stressful situations. And, add regular self-care to your hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual routine.
The combination of enhancing your copies skills while engaging in more self-care is like saving pennies for a rainy day. But more than that, it helps your brain to function optimally. More on this . . .
Seek Help from Experienced Stress Management Coaches and Professionals.
Sometimes acting instead of reacting, or taking time to give to oneself can be real alien territory. This is where an experienced coach can come in and help you develop new positive habits in these areas to maintain balance long term. It’s much better to seek help BEFORE you’re in crisis. But if that’s where you are, seek help NOW. Get to know yourself, your signs, your triggers, and dedicate yourself to living as stress free as possible. Why not? Though life includes stress naturally, there’s no law that requires you to ADD to your daily stress.
My practice specializes in helping people develop new healthy habits to reduce stress supported by clean nutrition. What you eat can have a tremendous impact on your resilience and ability to think effectively through difficult situations. I have seen personally how a clean food foundation supports stress reduction, and vice versa. Contact me today to Find You and Your Happiness Within.