Sunday, August 8, 2010
Tips for acknowledging stressors
By: Marissa Anteby
What factors in your life put excess strain on you? Are there physical, mental, or emotional demands that seem hard to bear? Are you sometimes over-stimulated to the point of immobilization?
Recognizing what triggers such a reaction is helpful in managing your response and eventually mapping ways to avoid future similar scenarios.
Your own resistance to the reality of a situation, causes unnecessary tension. If you can 'accept' what is, without wishing it were different, you could see clearly enough to act more efficiently and affect change, if need be. 'Acceptance' doesn't mean you have to live with something as is. It just means you have to acknowledge it is the starting point you are working with, and it may very well be the end point too.
Before you find yourself boiling over, identify common stressors in your life:
1. Make a list of general external factors that weigh you down. For example, your job.
2. Add in specifics, like task deadlines, or project complexity, etc.
3. List simple strategies that you know work for you. Perhaps breaking down a bigger project in to smaller more doable components, etc.
4. Review your lists often enough so you don't get swamped with impending work.
When you recognize that you are already in the midst of a stress reaction:
1. Observe yourself objectively, from the outside in. Try not to get caught up in the whirlwind of your mind and the incessant thoughts that want to swirl around in there.
2. Refrain from acting out.
3. Take a literal and metaphorical step back to re-ground yourself.
4. Notice physiological changes. Your fast heart rate, rapid/shallow breathing, and anything else.
5. Gradually, ease yourself in to a calmer state by starting from your feet up. Ground your feet down in to the floor. Sit tall and consciously slow down your breathing. Inhale slowly and methodically. Exhale just as precisely. Continue this for a few moments.
Unfortunately, for many people, the stress state becomes their natural habitat, somewhere they comfortably glide in to because it's what they know. In order to find true relief from stress, you must learn to break the addiction to what's comfortable and go somewhere new. In this case, that somewhere is a state of relaxation. After all, underneath the many layers you've added on throughout the years, your core of calm is waiting for you to come home to!