Stress Reduction: 5 Tips on Taming your Stress Monster

  
Stress can be extreamly bad for us, emotionally and physically, and yet 1 in 3 of us report that we frequently feel overwhelmed by stress. There are many reasons why we should try to manage our stress levels, but often just when we feel most stressed and need to remember to do all those relaxing things which we know help us, we make poor decisions. Most of this isn’t our fault, it’s the way we’re wired, but knowing and spotting this can help to put you back in control of your stress levels. We can’t really stop getting stressed, but the main choice we have is whether to stay there, taking up residence in stress city for a few days or weeks, or whether to stop the cycle.

1. Noticing that we are becoming increasingly stressed is the critical step when it comes to managing our stress levels. Only when we notice how we’re feeling, do we have the chance to make some choices about managing the way we’re feeling. Mindfulness is my number one tip when it comes to stress control. Mindfulness means we are paying attention to how we are actually feeling, rather than how we wish we were feeling. Mindfulness brings us into an awareness of the body we are inhabiting, and the ways in which the world is affecting us. It requires us to move out of our minds and our desires, and into reality. 

2. Once you have noticed and acknowledged that your stress levels are high my next tip is to stop and reflect for a moment or two. Is there something obvious which is causing you to feel more stressed than usual? Often we avoid thinking about the things which stress us, but this is a very important step in regaining control over your feelings. By allowing reflective thinking time, you can stop, take stock and amend your plans. You can become more real and honest with yourself.

3. My third tip, once you have become aware of your stress, is to increase the amount of pleasurable relaxing activities you make space for. At times of high stress and anxiety, time will feel very pressured. This isn’t always because we have any less time, but because of the stress chemicals which our body produces and the way our brains respond to these.Taking 5 or 10 minutes to do something which you know helps you to relax is a very good spend of time, even when you have convinced yourself you don’t have enough of it! Take 5 minutes to smell the roses, watch the birds or the clouds, listen to a favourite song or just blow some bubbles.

4. My fourth tip would be to try to schedule some time around the people, animals or places which help you smile and soften. Laughter really can be the best medicine when it comes to stress and anxiety. Nature can play a soothing healing role here. Get out into a green space and feel your happiness rise. Play in the garden, walk with the dogs or have a good chin wag with a friend and you will relax a bit. Children and animals are particularly good at this!

5. Lastly I would recommend shredding your ‘to do’ list. When stress starts to build its time to rethink our plans and commitments. This is about becoming adaptable to the reality of your life. We are not machines, and some days we will be less productive, because of all sorts of feelings and hurdles. Drop the pressure you put on yourself, just for now. There will be better days for doing many of the things on your list, but you can prioritise at times like this, and concentrate only on the things which really can’t wait till tomorrow. This requires quite a lot of self honesty, and is probably the step which most of us find the hardest. Let go, just for now.

Accepting who we are and how we feel, can be one of life’s biggest challenges. It’s even harder when things happen to us which we don’t like and didn’t plan. Feeling out of control in these ways will always leave us with heightened anxiety and stress. The choice we have is to begin to take control of our emotions and feelings again. These 5 tips will help you to take care of yourself, when you need it the most.

This was written in response to the one love theme photography challenge from WP.

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About greenmackenzie

Hi, I'm Seonaid, and I share my home with my husband, my son and a collection of cats and dogs. I am forever snapping shots of things which catch my eye. I love art which is here now and gone tomorrow...like food and nature...but also have a passion for vintage and the ancient past! Nature is my favourite muse, with her wild ever shifting seasons. I have been using and teaching mindfulness and relaxation for over 12 years, and have yet to become any sort of expert :-) I'm a Psychotherapist, and run the Maggies Highlands Cancer Centre, in Inverness, Scotland.
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54 Responses to Stress Reduction: 5 Tips on Taming your Stress Monster

  1. Pingback: Sunday Suggestions #12 – fromdreamtoplan

  2. fromdreamtoplan says:

    Hi! Hope you’ll be pleased to know that since I really enjoyed reading this post I cited it here: http://www.fromdreamtoplan.net/2017/01/28/sunday-suggestions-12/ ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Andy Smart says:

    I’ve never been able to deal with my anxiety levels. My only solution was moving country and its a lot more chilled out here. I am aware that its a beast that has never been tamed and can rear its crazy head at any time for no reason. From various forms of meditation, hypnotherapy and retreats it’s never been too far away. I shall try number three and do more pleasurable activities when it happens again LOL sounds good.

    • Andy, I’m sorry to hear about your ongoing struggles with stress and anxiety. It is indeed horrible and disabling stuff. I wonder where you moved to and from….did it help? As for doing things which bring you joy…I prescribe a dose everyday to stave off stress๐Ÿ˜Š

      • Andy Smart says:

        Hiya Green > I moved to China which has kept my anxiety in check. It hasn’t gotten rid of my problems but it’s better than nothing. Yes yes > joy and more joy. Bring it on. Thanks for the reply ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. I wonder what my life would be like, will be like, and what it would have been like, without stress. I am wired to feel it, deeply, and overwhelmingly at times. Overcoming it, as you point out, is difficult. Prescriptions such as yours suggest, however, that I’ve got company. Thanks, as always, for the very good advice.

    • I think you have lots of company David, and in a way we are all wired to feel stress. This isn’t bad in itself…..it’s the constant ongoing relentless stuff which isn’t so useful. We’re designed to respond to a perceived stressor and then relax once it passes….that’s the bit that often gets out of balance! I feel a part 2 post coming on!!๐Ÿ˜Š

      • You are exactly correct. We ARE wired to feel stress. And for good, and adaptive, reasons. I’m watching the birds outside my window right now, as I write. They are at Joanna’s bird feeders. They ALL look way stressed. And it’s a good thing that they are. It’s a good thing that they are for when they are they are more likely to hear or see Harry, the predatory house-cat, lurking, and watching. So, as you say, it’s the finding ways to ramp-it-down that we’re not so good at! D

  5. Tina Schell says:

    All good advice Seonaid! we are moving on Thursday so I’m a bit stressed to say the least. Hopefully the stress level will decrease significantly by Monday!!

    • I’m certain it will Tina๐Ÿ˜Š Moving house is always in the top 5 life stressor lists!
      There comes a stage where you have done all you can…..then it’s time to trust yourself, breathe out, and wait for the boxes to arrive for unpacking at the other end๐Ÿ˜† Hope it all goes smoothly๐Ÿ’•

  6. Oh how I would love to shred my work to do list! But doubtful I would remember everything on it! Lol

    • Yes, work place to do lists are an extra challenge…..I’m really quite lucky in that I can try to meet each need to do as it arises….and keep the list of things hovering to be done to a minimum. Sometimes it’s good to be ruthless though and cull what you can even from work lists….and have a concentrated few hours to get all those annoying little tasks which have been hovering for a while (because they’re not super urgent or important) done!
      It’s all about timing…pushing on when you can….easing off when you are feeling less resourced!!๐Ÿ˜†

  7. restlessjo says:

    What a very practical and useful response to the challenge, Seonaid. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m pretty sure you’d be great to have around for one of those stress busting chats.

  8. ladyfi says:

    Just got home from a stress-filled day – this is the perfect antidote!

  9. These are all good ideas. Very healthy outlook.

  10. Reblogged this on Don Massenzio's Blog and commented:
    Great tips for reducing stress. #5 is something I do daily.

  11. DreamTemples says:

    Thank you so much for this lovely post.It comes at a very stressful time for me.

    • I’m sorry to hear you’re having a stress filled life at the moment, but delighted to think that the post might help a little๐Ÿ˜Š Be extra nice in the way you speak to yourself when you’re under stress๐Ÿ’• I hope things ease soon.

  12. Thank you so much for wonderful tips! In busy world nowadays stimes could led us to stressful life..

  13. simonfalk28 says:

    Thanks for this post. It is both kind and practical. There are some fabulous sentences in it like: “My fourth tip would be to try to schedule some time around the people, animals or places which help you smile and soften.” ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Maverick ~ says:

    Excellent advice and good reminder of priorities. Thank you. ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Amy says:

    Thank you for sharing! Wonderful advice and reminder, Seonaid. I can use it almost everyday. ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. Leya says:

    Some good advice! I know what you mean when writing about doing yourself what you are preaching. That is always sooo hard.

  17. Great post and advice, Seonaid. I am rather stressed at the moment, as you can imagine. I find my wildlife friends here help to lighten my mood. ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. vastlycurious.com says:

    Great post! The gym works for me !

  19. Lucid Gypsy says:

    You’re so wise Seonaid, I’m sure it would be wonderful to work with you.

  20. gwynnrogers says:

    You MUST have been reading my mind or seen the smoke streaming from my ears. Thanks for your timely post as I’m going to save it to frequently review!! HUGS!!!

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