Stress overwhelm and anxiety are big problems for millions of people who feel unable to cope with work or their personal lives. And stress is part of life which means you’ll always have to deal with it.
The solution lies in consciously pre-planning how you’ll respond. When you know exactly which stress reduction/elimination processes work for you, you’ll be able to stay calm and use the process instead of dropping into fear and overwhelm during stressful interactions with others.
Choose one or two of the following processes that you like best as your go-to stress handlers and practice them now – so you’ll be ready when you need them! Remember, you can learn anything if you’re willing to be a beginner! TIP: You may want to print and keep these instructions in an easy-to-reach place.
1. Yawn and Stretch
Yawn several times, then stretch – many times – all day! According to Mark Robert Waldman in his book NeuroWisdom, this is the fastest way to de-stress! Yawning is what Olympic athletes, musicians and professional speakers do before they go on stage. Yawning increases blood flow to your brain and that enhances mental alertness. Yawning also stimulates concentration and brain function, increases memory recall and lowers stress among many other other benefits.
If you notice your mind racing or worrying, take a minute to slow your breathing and focus on something that’s happening right now – such as your breath, scenery, birds.
Fast breathing is part of the stress response. Slowing your breath triggers the relaxation response. Choose one of the following breath sequences:
ð General Deep Breathing
· Put one hand on your chest, and one on your abdomen (just above your navel).
· Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose.
· Direct your breath downward into your belly, so it pushes up the hand resting on your abdomen. The hand on your chest shouldn’t move much at all.
· Exhale through your mouth making a quiet whooshing sound.
· Breathe only when you need to, to avoid hyperventilation.
· Repeat this type of breathing for five or six breaths.
ð Andrew Weil’s 4 – 7 – 8 Breath
· Place your tongue on the roof of your mouth near your teeth the entire time
· Allow yourself to relax
· Breathe in through your nose to a count of four
· Hold your breath to a count of seven
· Breathe out through your mouth to a count of eight
· Do this at least three times several times a day – the benefits grow over time!
ð 10 Breaths
The next time you feel emotionally upset or angry, find a quiet corner somewhere, sit down and count 10 breaths (in and out equals one breath). They don’t have to be big, deep breaths, just even and regular.
What usually happens is that after about 6 or 7 breaths you lose count…and you feel quite different.
· Your pulse rate slows down
· Your mind calms itself
· Your awareness comes back into your body.
ð Panic Prevention
If you experience hyperventilation and panic when you get stressed, this next exercise will stop that fast!
o Breathe out as deeply as possible to exhale all the old air.
o Close your mouth. It’s almost impossible to hyperventilate when breathing only through your nose.
o Breathe in slowly.
o Put one hand over your abdomen, just above the navel.
o Breath in through your nose, slowly counting, “1…2…3.”
o Pause a second and then breathe out counting, “1…2…3…4”.
o Keep practicing for at least three minutes.
- Notice the exhalation is one beat longer. That’s because you need to completely empty your lungs on each breath. And it will protect you from taking short, high panicky breaths. After your breathing begins to feel calmer, try to slow your breathing even further. Breath in and count “one…two…three…four”. Pause a moment and breath out, “one…two…three…four…five.”
3. Tapping (Emotional Freedom Techniques)
Learn basic Emotional Freedom Techniques – see videos on Youtube.com. Whenever you experience emotional or physical stress, food cravings, procrastination and negative emotions Tap for 5 minutes. As prevention, tap when you wake up and before going to sleep. Make sure that you focus on your problem as you tap.
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