It’s difficult for most people to think about strategies to calm themselves down when they are in the midst of a stressful situation. Instead, it’s more common to allow negative thoughts to take over. We tend to express these negative thoughts in unhealthy ways by complaining, venting, yelling, worrying, or feeling intense anger and frustration.
We all experience increased stress this time of the year, but the stress that we experience are magnified or minimized based on how we react to it. Hans Selye so aptly put it when he said, “It’s not stress that kills us; it is our reaction to it.”So, how do we remain accommodating and adaptable when we are stressed out? How do we spark hope, faith and energy when we are feeling weary, exhausted and drained, as is often the case this time of the year?
The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another. I’ve got some creative thought-based ways to help you unwind, decompress and stay centered a whole lot more.
1. Imagine you are a gemstone with many facets. What will the light be illuminating today?
The way you start your day sets the tone for the rest of the day. How often have you rushed out the door and into your day without even thinking about the day and how you would like it to go? Start the day more mindfully by setting an intention for the day. Ask yourself: How do I want to show up today to have the greatest impact? How can I feel more connected? How can I show more compassion to myself and others during difficult moments? What do I need? For example: “ Today I will be patient and kind to myself, persevere, have fun, show gratitude, communicate calmly” or anything else that is important to you.
Through-out the day, regularly check in with yourself.This can be done by taking a moment to connect with your breath. Breathing is a proven method for calming down your body’s reactions stress.By calming your physical reactions, you can pay more attention to your thoughts and you have the opportunity to turn away from negative thoughts and move toward productive thoughts about how to manage situations. You can also use calming guided meditations. It can take as little as one minute– so time is not an excuse!
3. Pen it!
Yes, leave the digital for the moment and push your brain by writing down your achievements for the day. Remember that 5 wins per day, makes 30 a week and 120 per month. By choosing where you put your focus, you can reduce the sense overwhelm of having too much on your plate and not doing enough. Another way to use the pen, is to bite a pen between your teeth on your way to or from work. This “fake smile” will go a long way is changing your mood.
Control your stress instead of it controlling you. While you can’t completely eliminate all stress from your life, you can significantly minimise the impact and move from frazzled to flexible!
FREE DOWNLOAD: STRESS MANAGEMENT TECHNIQUES