Make it Snappy!
I know you're busy, so am I.
But as the Buddha says,
" one should meditate for 20 minutes each day unless one is too busy, then one should meditate for an hour."
I can hear you from here; you don't have time.
I hear ya! But I also know that not giving yourself much needed 'down time' can lead to overwhelm, disease and breakdowns.
Here are 7 quick, snappy stress management techniques for you to try.
We really need to start at the beginning.
Most of the stress in our lives comes from how we react to the stressful times.
This means our thoughts.
Our thoughts turn into physical symptoms (racing heart, sweaty palms, brain fog, shaking, chattering too much, lashing out angrily, shutting down, going from highs to lows emotionally, etc. We all have different ways our bodies show us we are stressed and need to do something about it.)
I encourage you to literally 'make it snappy.'
If you choose, pop a band around your wrist, and each time you catch yourself having a stressful or negative thought, snap your wrist with the band.
This gives you a very physical 'snap' towards controlling your thoughts, which leads to being able to control your stress.
When we get stressed our bodies go into what's called the fight, flight or freeze response. This is an ancient body response to when we were in danger.
Today we don't get chased by large animals every day, but our bodies haven't evolved enough to know that when you are looking at a stressful situation, i.e., a meeting or presentation at work, our body doesn't differentiate between the meeting and the large animal, and it still gives us the rush of the stress hormone, cortisol.
Our body doesn't automatically turn off this cortisol, and it causes terrible things in our bodies over time.
It's up to us to release the cortisol hormone and give our bodies a shot of endorphins, the 'happy' hormone.
Today I encourage you to find something quick that makes you laugh out loud.
I have some awesome clips on Youtube that make me laugh every time, one is the lady in the Chewbacca mask, and the other is the baby laughing as the parent rips the paper up.
Can you find one that suits you and share it?
Let's all have a belly laugh today.
Did you have a belly laugh? I hope so.
When we have a stressful event, the amygdala, an area of the brain that contributes to emotional processing, sends a distress signal to the hypothalamus. This area of the brain functions as a command center, communicating with the rest of the body through the nervous system so that the person has the energy to fight, run away or freeze.
This part of the brain is so quick that it can even work faster than the eye, have you ever reacted to something even before you saw it, like jumping out of the way of a car, or catching a falling baby?
A quick and snappy way to calm your lovely amygdala, is to breathe.
Deep belly breaths, it only takes a few breaths, have a go.
Place your hand on your belly, breath in, allow the belly to rise, breath out, let the belly relax. Do this 10 times.
How do you feel?
How did you go with your belly breathing? It's actually called diaphragmatic breathing, but we don't have to be technical to breathe.
It's very scary when we start to think about what stress can do to our bodies, but before you read this list, I want you to say to yourself,
"I'm not going to get even more stressed, I am doing things to prevent these things from happening to my body."
weakened immune system
high blood pressure
high risk of heart attack
high blood sugar
low sex drive
+ much more
So, let's talk to ourselves, just for 1 minute.
Each in breath, say 'calm' (or whatever word is relaxing to you), each out breath say 'calm.'
How do you feel? What was your word?
Practice this deep breathing technique to relieve physical tension. Stand with your hands by your sides. Breathe into your belly while stretching out arms. Then breathe into your middle chest, and bring your hands into a prayer position at your heart. Lift your hands over your heads and breathe into your upper chest. As you exhale, lower your hands to your sides. Repeat four times.
The call of the drum.
There are times when simply continuing with life is an achievement. To have the strength to keep going at such times, listen to and draw courage from the inner beating of your heartbeat. Sit quietly and concentrate on listening to the inner beating of your determined heart, it is a call to life itself.
Yesterday I went to an appointment without my phone. The person wasn't there, (they had messaged me on my phone that I left at home.) I sat and watched the clouds; they were beautiful. I realised how tight I was holding my body. I spent a couple of moments doing a body scan (I'll share how to do this next week) and releasing the tightness in my body and spent another couple of moments watching the clouds. Can I ask that you look up today or tonight? Have a look at the sky. Are there clouds, stars? I hope you have a wonderful day.