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The Stressful Movie

What is stress exactly?  Although it is a heavily used word today, most of us don’t have a grasp of what stress exactly is, nor how to manage it.  We all can agree, however, that when we feel stressed we are not happy, and we want the experience to be over as soon as possible but do we know what is happening inside of us, the dance between our mind and body, that is feeding the stress response?  Chances are the answer to that question is no, and so we feel we are victim to stress.

Stress on the Fishing Line of Life

I picture stress in the same way as I do the tension on a fishing line tethered between the pole and the hook.  Like us, the fishing line is built to handle a certain amount of strain, and if this is too great (because the ‘fish’ is too big), then it is subject to deterioration and breakage.  Not surprisingly, when a person is stressed they will use words such as tense, stretched, or strained, similar to how one would describe the fishing line.

Interactions between humans, particularly emotional interactions, are like the interplay between the fishing line and the fish in the above metaphor.   These human interactions affect both our biological and psychological functioning in overt as well as subtle ways.  Easily identifiable stressors in life (the big fish, so to speak) are things like divorce, job loss, death of a loved one, and illness.  Even chronic daily stress such as dealing with traffic congestion and facing excessive workload demands that can wear away at our wellbeing.  Understanding the relationship between our emotional and physiological environment is critical to our health.  Unfortunately, despite decades of groundbreaking work in the area of the mind/body connection, the chief medical approach to health and illness continues to suppose that the body and the mind are not connected.

Higher Perspective of Stress

When we relax and observe the experience of stress from a higher perspective, we get some interesting insights.  We can see that stress typically has three distinct and related components.  First, there is the stress event itself, which can be either a physical or an emotional moment.  The second element is the processing of the experience, the interpretation of the event, which gives it meaning and codifies it as stressful by the individual.  The third and last element is the response to the event, which involves various physiological and behavioral reactions.

The determination of a stressor (or stressful situation) depends predominately on the second component, the processing by the individual.  The processing is based on the beliefs held by the individual, generalizations about the world, and opinions of it. These beliefs form the rules about what we think we can and cannot do and what should and should not happen.

Further, the interpretation of the event is dependant on the personality and the psychological state of the individual.  For example, the experience of the loss of a job can create different reactions in different people.  A person for which the experience does not create financial hardship may still respond with high stress if their deep-seated beliefs about self-worth or acceptance are tied directly to their job title and status.  These less tangible feeders to stress are resonant from a person’s past, and even though the stress event is experienced in the present, it is the past that determines the response and its intensity.

Change The Movie

The area of study under neurolinguistics supports the realization that individuals’ past beliefs no longer need to be a legacy that carries forward unchallenged or unchanged.  These beliefs can be modified and even eliminated to support a person’s desire for a more peaceful, harmonious, and less stressful life.  Working with the power of language, mind mapping, the unconscious mind, rapid and healthy improvements to how life events are interpreted can be realized.   Life events may be out of our immediate and direct control however, the interpretation of these events is significantly within one’s control.

We are the moviemakers of our life.  We are giving our life direction straight from the Director’s chair every day.  The problem is that so many people are creating the same type of life “movie”; a fear-based, stress-filled movie.  I believe that type of “movie” has been oversold and overdone in today’s society. Why not change your movie into a more relaxed and enjoyable one and with scenes that give you pleasure and joy?  Your blockbuster is just waiting for you, the Director, to show up and take over.

If you are interested in how you can begin making your desired life movie today, go to my website and book your complimentary consultation today.  I look forward to chatting with you.

Best Stress Management Techniques

It is hard to cope with stressful situations, especially when they happen on a regular basis. Over the long term, stress can have devastating impacts to one’s overall health. This can in turn lead to heart disease, unhealthy levels of cholesterol, and high blood pressure. Finding ways that you can deal with stress so that it doesn’t knock you down is a smart, proactive step towards overall management of both your mental and physical wellbeing.

The tips that are offered below require some practice and dedication but if you stick with it, before long you will get the hang of it. Eventually, you will be enjoying a much more calm and peaceful daily life.

Tip #1:  Slow Down and Step Back

Remind yourself to slow down and to either mentally or physically step away from the stressful situation in order to gather perspective and allow the situation to have a chance at naturally resolve itself. Do this by:

Gathering your thoughts

Talk to yourself or journal out your thoughts. This activity will open up perspective where in the heat of the moment you were unable to see it.

Reflect

Allow yourself the benefit of time to think about the stressful situation. Ask yourself to view both the problem and potential solutions from all perspectives.

See the Big Picture

Put yourself in the position of a neutral third party and then ask that party how they see the situation. What comes up may surprise you.

How Important Is This?

We cannot afford the time, money or energy to be invested in everything that give us discomfort. Ask yourself if this is really the issue that you want to be engaged in. Will this issue matter in a day from now, a week from now, a month from now, a year from now? Ten years from now, will it matter at all? Probably not worth getting stressed out about.

Tip #2:  Breathe Deep and Relax

Breath is such an important contributor to reducing stress. This is because when you breathe deeply, you are sending a message to your brain to calm down and relax. Your brain then sends this same message to your body and as a result, your muscles start to relax, and your overall tension reduces. My favourite way to breathe deeply is to inhale for the count of 6, hold for the count of 6 and exhale for the count of 6.

Tip #3:  Walk Away

If you feel that your stress is triggering anger that involves anyone else, end the conversation and take some time and space. Stay way until you are mentally strong enough to deal with it or until the situation naturally works itself out. Realize that stressful situations can lead to your constantly re-thinking and re-playing things over and over. Mentally walking away means that you put an end the that rumination as well.

Tips #4:  Concentration on Something Else

Stress can consume your thoughts. It can be helpful to kick it out of your mind and replace it with something more positive, calming and fruitful. Go for a walk, read a book, meet up for a coffee with a friend, catch a movie, etc. The idea is to give your mind a break and to think about something other than what is stressing you.

Tip #5:  Burn Off Energy

When your body sends out a stress response, it thinks you have something to physically respond to. Often, we don’t have anything that needs running away from like a charging animal or anything of that sort. Still, your body needs to respond to burn off this extra energy. Physical activity can be a great way to relieve stress. Go for a walk, take a jog or hit the gym, whatever you feel up to.

Tip #6:  Talk It Out

One of the most important things to do in a stressful situation that involves another person is to communicate effectively. This involves clearly expressing what you think, how you feel and what you want without demanding that you must have things your way. The basic message is “we both matter so let’s work this out.”

Let’s Connect

I hope you find these tips interesting and helpful in managing your day to day stress.  If you are interested in how coaching can help you manage stress and ward off anxiousness, go to my website and request a complimentary consultation.

And as always, I invite you to join in on the conversation on Facebook and Instagram.

To our Health and Wellbeing,

Karen

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