When it comes to stress, there can be various causes. Are you making yourself crazy by trying to do too much, too quick and too perfect? Or are you having emotional issues that are creating unrelenting worries and insecurity? Either way, your body pays the price if you’re tipping the scale from positive stress that stimulates better performance into distress that creates symptoms and shut-down.
When the stress hormones are high, we need a way to move them through and out of the body rather than ignoring them, which allows them to settle in the body and create symptoms and illness. We can empty the tension and feelings resulting from stress similar to pouring water from a pitcher.
Here are 10 tips to boost stress recovery:
- Furiously empty your uncensored feelings of anxiety, fear, anger, frustration and sadness through spontaneous writing—Without complaint or questioning, the blank page safely holds them. Similar to an inhale, feelings naturally flow through and out your body when you allow them. When you resist these emotions, however, it’s like creating a dam in the river of emotion and the feelings you’re trying to avoid become stuck in the body. You gain a sense of control by translating a feeling into words or drawings, and dump them from the body onto the page.
- Exercise your freedom to choose in every moment. Feeling pressured or forced to do something (even if you are the one pushing) causes an unconscious sluggishness of resistance in the body. It’s all in your perception. For example, you can choose to do something immediately or in 5 minutes.
- Take a walk in nature to remember your naturalness. Research shows that time spent in nature is restorative. Recent studies also have demonstrated that moments of awe decrease symptoms of stress and increase feelings of connection. Guess where these moments usually happen? Yep, in nature.
- Meditate (determine whether sitting or moving meditation works best for you) to reset your tolerance meter back to zero and gain clarity about issues upon which you need to take action. When you close our eyes and allow the mind to reorganize itself by relaxing your thinking as much as possible, it’s like emptying mind garbage. Click here to download 6 min. audio meditations
- Work out with the intention of unleashing tension and heaviness—Move the areas of your body that feel tense and/or heavy. Regular exercise increases self-confidence, relaxes you, and lowers the symptoms associated with mild depression and anxiety. It also can improve your sleep. All of these exercise benefits can ease your stress levels and give you a sense of command over your body and your life.
- Take action on your own behalf when indicated without starting a fight. When you feel psychologically/physically bullied, the caveman part of your brain prepares to defend and protect (thus the fight vs. flight response). If you become silent and/or passive, the stress hormones turn inward on the body and create symptoms. Rather, respond by saying something matter-of-fact and walk away e.g. “What’s with that…”
- Get a checkup to identify and treat any hormonal/physical imbalances. Too much stress is harmful. It can set you up for general poor health, as well as physical and psychological illnesses like infection, heart disease, and depression. If you are having physical symptoms, go to your doctor and find out if you have any medical problems that are either being created or exacerbated by stress.
- Lighten up and have fun as much as possible. Research finds the physical movement of laughter releases serotonin even when it’s pretend laughter. Being light-hearted pays off. Billionaire Richard Branson suggests that you’re probably going to be more successful if you’re having fun.
- Find Balance. If you overdo, say “no” unless it’s a “Heck, Yes.” If you are someone who automatically responds with a “no,” say, “yes” and notice the good feeling of connection. Regardless of your lop-sided patterns, you can find balance through practice. As you experiment, have self-compassion.
- Manage your energy as much as you manage your time. As a culture of doers, we don’t always respect our energy levels. When you manage your energy, you made good decisions about your schedule, commitments etc. You also exercise flexibility—an important aspect of being emotionally intelligent.
Distress is a treatable and sometimes preventable condition. Your body is your guide. When you stay tuned into your body and emotions, you become self-aware. Now you can take charge of your behavior and gain control of your stress. Life is to be fully enjoyed not stressed away.
Deborah Sandella PhD, RN is author of the #1 International Bestseller “Goodbye Hurt & Pain, 7 Simple Steps to Health, Love and Success.” She is an award-winning psychotherapist, university professor, and the originator of the groundbreaking RIM Method, which is a heavily-backed neuroscience tool proven to reduce stress and improve quality of life. She’s been featured in the media—including USA TODAY, CBS, FOX, CNN. She frequently shares the stage with Jack Canfield and is co-author of his “Awakening Power” meditation program. Her numerous professional awards include, “Outstanding Clinical Specialist,” “Research Excellence,” and an “EVVY Best Personal Growth Book Award.” www.GoodbyeHurtandPain.com