Stress is…unavoidable, everyday and inevitable.
Stress arises when we feel we are under emotional or mental pressures…
As these pressures overwhelm us, we feel we no longer have the ability to cope and stress is the manifestation of this feeling.
This then impacts on how we think, feel, act and sleep, even affecting how our bodies function.
When in the clammy grip of 'stress' a surge of hormones is caused to run through our bodies. These 'released' stress hormones enable us to deal with perceived threats and pressures , this is referred to as - fight or flight.
Our stress hormone levels will usually return to normal as the pressure or threat passes, however if we feel we are 'stressed out' as a constant, the hormones will remain in our bodies, causing the symptoms of stress.
How do you know, when you're stressed?
Here are a few indicators: when we feel restless, irritable, tense, run over things in our minds constantly, sweaty, 'like our heads are going to explode' get headaches and have trouble sleeping.
When is stress not stress?
Have you ever noticed that some of the things that cause you the most stress, hardly bother other people?
And some of the things that stress other people out, hardly bother you?
What some consider stress, others consider motivation or thriving and vice versa, for example:
One person may have a million deadlines to meet, whilst juggling family life and a busy social calendar-and be completely in their element...
Whereas a different person in the same situation, will be anxious, tense, sweaty, frantic and overwhelmed...
Its not that one person can cope and the other can't, it's more that each human being is an individual and the way in which we deal with and perceive life, is based on the person we are...
It's like one person loving fish and the other despising it-neither one is better, right or wrong, just different...
It's important to remember that stress isn't 'tangible'...
You can't pick it up and hold it...
You can't point it out or show someone where it is...
Yet the way in which we talk about it, raises its status ,to that of a 'persona'...
We tend to stress about 'what ifs' and 'what might's', we stress about possibilities and potentials...
But possibility and potentials are also, the building blocks of the great and the good…
Identifying Stress Triggers and Creating Neutralisers
Try to look at the types of situations, experiences and people which you feel induce stress...
(If you think it would help, make notes )
What are the key factors you find stressful? The key elements? - e.g. Work dynamics, relationships, family dynamics, money, housing issues, time factors, studying, etc...
Try to identify the impact these things have on your emotions, mindset, mood, perception/outlook, how you interact with people, your body, e. g. your head, shoulders, stomach, hands etc
Think about the times, places, situations, things, people that you feel happy, relaxed and good about. Again, try to identify the impact these things have on your emotions, mindset, mood, perception/outlook, how you interact with people etc
Hold on to those 'feel good' feelings, allow them to saturate into your being, close your eyes, make sure you relax your body, and take easy, natural breathes in through your nose and out through your mouth when you do this- take as much time as you need...
Now, holding on to your 'feel good' vibe, go back to the things that cause you stress (referring to notes if you have them) with the following mindset:
(Again make notes if it helps)
- identify the things you can and can't change
- let go of the things you can't change and take small steps to change the things you can e.g. You can't control whether or not it rains, but you do have a choice, control of how you deal with it-be prepared and take an umbrella, take shelter or stay in until it stops.
Preparation: having identified your stress triggers, you can explore strategies to help you deal with it when it arises, here are some options to get you started or to use as inspiration:
- create the 'feel good' vibe by using step 3
- identity the things that help you to relax e.g. Music, deep breathing, meditation, time to yourself, a short walk, reading a book, writing things down etc
When stress hits, see if you can find a way to employ you stress coping strategy, by creating the following...
The Portable Temple (TPT)©:
To create 'The Portable Temple' TPT, you will need the following:
- a mobile phone with head phones, with a selection of your favourite feel good and relaxing songs and/or meditation music
-your phone charger
- a pocket sized notepad and pen or use the notepad facility on your phone
- a book you enjoy reading or an extract, passage from the book you've stored on your phone
After you've had the stressful experience use your TPT:
Whether at work or home you'll always have the opportunity to grab a glass of water or go to the bathroom, you can use this as an opportunity to stretch your legs, lock you self away in a clean cubicle and listen to a favourite song, whilst reading an extract of your favourite book or write down how you feel and how you would like to feel or whatever works for you...
The TPT should last about 5 minutes max or the length of a song, which means you should be able to access it least twice in a working day, without creating another potentially stressful situation for yourself. That being said, outside of a work environment, there's no limit to the duration of your portable temple.
Alternatively, a breath of fresh air or short walk with the TPT in mind can help to reduce stressful feelings, if you have the option of removing yourself from the environment.
Good luck managing your stress; just remember stress is natural.
Just treat it like an aloof, obnoxious, negative relative with a house key - they come unexpected and uninvited, and whilst present, you can't relax and are irritable. They leave in the same manner that they came, and when they do…boy, what a relief! Now, there's no way, that you'd hang on to their legs and beg them to stay, right?
When it's ready to go, let it…let the stress leave your mind and your body.