We may be going along, feeling that we’ve got things under control, that life’s pretty smooth…only to have something suddenly block our path.
When we’re able to see the big picture, we can often solve our problems with ease- or at least have a solid plan to overcome them.
It’s those messy-no-solution-in-sight issues that cause the most stress.
Learning from others, bouncing around ideas, and sometimes just knowing that others have been through something similar can ease those burdens greatly.
The key is to have tools to keep worry, anxiety and stress in their place.
Most people who worry, experience anxiety and don’t handle stress very well, are bright, extremely intelligent and senstive
Women are twice as likely as men to experience anxiety
People who often experience stress and anxiety are usually ‘What If?” and “I Should” thinkers
Your body’s stress reaction can be on a hair-trigger- basically, reaching maximum levels at the slightest provocation.
Deep in your brain, is the Amygdala, which is believed to be the part that processes feelings and sounds the alert when danger is near. It triggers your fight or flight response.
When you’ve been under prolonged periods of stress, it can be triggered so often that it becomes trained to go from zero to sixty every time your stress hormones are stimulated.
This causes your body to be on high alert when it doesn’t need to be.
When the Amydala fires off in the frontal lobe of your brain, you have calm, rational thoughts.
When it fires off in the back of your brain, it sets off the fear hormones and fight or flight response.
If your fight or flight response is set on a hair trigger, there’s actually an exercise you can do to help this:
Imagine, within the sides of your head, about an inch or so back from your temples and above your ears, your amygdala lies.
Try to imagine, on each side of your head, attached to the amygdala, are toggle switches, sticking out from your head.
When you feel that fight or flight response beginning, imagine ‘clicking’ the toggle switches forward.
You may experience a sensation in your forehead and a sense of calm as your frontal lobe activates.
OTHER SOOTHING IDEAS TO HELP CALM STRESS:
Deep Breathing- this is number one. Calming your breathing reminds your body to relax, lowers your blood pressure and clears stress hormones.
Go For a Walk- Fresh air and exercise are wonderful ways to clear out the adrenaline and lactic acid built up in your body from being tense and stressed. Stretching, gardening, tennis, swimming- anything enjoyable and active!
Talk it Out- Venting, getting feelings off your chest, counseling with another person…these are healthy ways to let go of pent up frustrations, fears and anger.
Acknowledging you have an issue, letting your body know that you know…that you’re doing something about it- this is powerful in the process of healing.
Self-Soothe- When you’re feeling emotionally tired or sad, find things that soothe your soul such as; A bubble bath, cup of tea, petting your dog or cat, listening to a book on cd, baking or preparing a favorite meal, organizing your closet or deep-cleaning your home. Writing in a journal, playing a game or watching a funny movie are also great choices.
Serve Others- Seriously, getting out and helping others- taking a meal to someone, giving them a hand on a project or simply being a listening ear often makes your own problems shrink by comparison.
It reminds you to get out of your own head for a while.
NOTE- Many people turn to alcohol, smoking or drugs, unhealthy sexual behaviors, over-exercising or over-eating to self-soothe. These are all unhealthy practices. Remember to keep life in balance.
Find nourishing ways to soothe your soul that don’t require addictive behaviors
Keep a list of your favorite ways to relax handy, so you can choose one in a moment of stress.
So, to recap-
Stop “What if” thinking
Stop unneedful “I Should” thinking
Practice the Amygdala exercise regularly to remind your brain to relax
Find healthy ways to soothe yourself and deactivate that stress!