Stress is a killer. The mental state has now been proven to have a number of toxic and destructuive physiological effects on the body, with the disruptive power to cause conditions from suspectibility to diseases such as Alzheimer’s to heart conditions and even weight gain. But its also a condition that is largely inescapable to some degree – none of us get to live an entirely stress-free life. So if you can’t avoid it, what do you do? The answer lies not only in your crisis management skills – say, knowing how to respond to an emergency in an unfamiliar location, siuch as needing to find an ambulance San Diego– but also in your response to everyday, low-level stress factors which can build up over time if left unmanaged. Learning the power of positive thinkingand a few simple stress management techniques is an important life skill – so here are some top short cuts to managing everyday stress.
Calm Down With Sound
If you’re in a demanding situation and you can feel your blood pressure start to rise, good management of that state can be as simple as listening. Relaxing music such as slow-tempo classical, ambient sounds or even white noise can help you to mentally and physically decompress. There are lots of ambient playlists out there designed to provide the perfect background to work. Studies have found that complete silence can be as distracting as too much noise, so these playlists can help you find the perfect balance to relax.
Reset Your Internal Dialogue
It can sound a bit crazy, but harnessing your internal voice – or even talking aloud to yourself if you can find a quiet spot to do so – can be enormously helpful. We can choose to reprogramme the brain’s fight-or-flight stress response by using logical language to re-introduce a sense of perspective. Start by acknowledging your emotions and telling yourself its okay to feel that way. Then, work through the problem or feeling. If its work related, break what you need to do down into baby steps and only focus on the first action you need to take.
Focus On Breathing
We’ve all heard the advice ‘just take a deep breath’ but learning some controlled breathing techniques can be a real weapon to fight back against stress. Find a chair and sit with both feet flat on the ground, and your back resting against the chair back. Place your hands on top of your knees. Breathe in and out slowly and deeply, concentrating on your diaphragm – in for a count of five, hold for another five and release for ten. Deep breathing helps to bring oxygen to the bloodstream, grounds your body and helps clear the mind of stress. You can even use visualisation techniques if that works for you – picture your stress as a cloud of black dust that you expel from your body with every exhale, drawing in pure clean air instead. Although such techniques may sound a bit far out, they can be highly effective and are even used by many Olympic athletes to clear stress and improve their performance.
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