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- Stress Management
Stress Factors and Ways of Reducing It
When is There Too Much Stress?
Where Does Stress Originate
There are so many factors which cause stress. There is no getting around it, but learning techniques to reduce it can keep this feeling from destroying your happiness and quality of life.
When constant input is coming at us, something's got to give. There is only so much time in a day and it seems to be shrinking faster and faster as we cram more "things to do" into it. If you are reading this, then most likely stress is a worry and it is good to look for answers to relieve it.
Stress comes from our thought about something. If we have good thoughts (positive energy), all is well and our body and life react positively, but when our thoughts focus on the opposite (negative thoughts/energy) and we consistently keep our attention on it, stress develops. When we find more and more negative thinking seeping into more of our thoughts stress can overtake our lives and sleeping, eating and even breathing can become compromised.
Our bodies are made up of energy. This is our life force and everything we do affects it. But before the doing is the thinking. Thinking is the first cause and that is what we must be aware of. When we acknowledge that we are thinking negatively we need move as quick as possible to change the thoughts to positive ones.. The more you can pay attention to what you are thinking about the more you'll realize how much negativity you dwell on and the more sensitive you will be to the feelings that result.
So, then just stop thinking what you're thinking right? If only it were so simple.
When it's been said recently that we have, on average, 60,000 thoughts per day and 80% of them are negative then there is very little doubt we are in big trouble!. We can't stop thought, at least not for more then a few seconds, but thought can be controlled. That is what makes us blessed over all other life forms, and what must be done if we truly want change.
Senses are a great tool to switch quickly to another thought and your senses mingle with each other which has added benefit, such as seeing a fluffy kitten. You recall the feel of the soft fur so picture yourself stroking the smooth coat in your mind and enjoy the purring of it's contentment.
The following are ways in which you can change for the positive and break away from stressful moments.
If you have access to an aquarium, focus on the serene environment. Spend a few minutes watching the fish meander around the tank. The calm environment is known to lower blood pressure and reduce stress. You'll find them in doctors offices as well as restaurants to give people a relaxed feeling. It has the added benefit of hum of the filtering system as well. If you don't want to purchase one yourself there are (on most computers and phones) apps to aquarium screensavers and in a pinch this would work just as well.
Watching Fish Lowers Blood Pressure
Focus on a Relaxing Beach Vacation
Pictures Fill the Senses
Find a happy picture of photo to focus on. It can be a loved one having fun on a recent trip for example. Pull up your phone gallery and scroll through your pictures and videos. They are there for your enjoyment ( if not, maybe it's time to delete??) Focus on a favorite and remember when the picture was taken and the good feelings that were felt at the time.
A beautiful scene of nature calms the mind. If you love the beach then look for the most beautiful picture that inspires you and keep it in a place where you can look at it often. For added benefit close your eyes and listen as the waves crash along the shore and the seagulls squawk around you while smelling the fresh cool salt air. Feel the warm grainy texture of the sand as you walk along the beach. This scenario can feel many senses...go with it!
Laugh With a Funny Video
Find Things to Laugh At
Movies and TV shows can help or hurt you. When you are feeling stressed stay away from anything that will give you more anxiety while watching it. Laughter is a great destroyer of stress, so tune into silly, slapstick type movies and shows if possible.
Pulling up jokes on the internet or watch a funny youtube video can be very entertaining as well.
Clear Your Head With a Walk in the Park
Sound Can be Both Good and Bad
Sound (as well as sight) bombards us in multiple ways all day long. We may be focused on several stimuli at the same time, for example, you're watching a TV show, while you listen to your child argue with a sibling and annoyance is building with the dog who won't stop barking next door. We filter all this stimulation very well, and still, because our world has become so advanced in it's technology we can't seem to live a day without hearing hourly updated news, talking to friends, checking in on Facebook and Twitter. After a long, hard day of work and family chores we fall into bed, overly stimulated, demanding our mind to sleep while staring at the ceiling and wonder why we can't.
Finding a quite place to just be away from noise of any kind in itself is very helpful. You don't even realize that noise plays a big stress factor unless you go to a quite place and just take in the silence. When things become stressful, take a walk outside, even if it's just a couple minutes to take a few deep breaths of fresh air and regroup. Also, at least a half hour before you go to bed, turn off electrical equipment. It gives your mind time to unwind before resting.
Sounds can be soothing too.
The Calming Effect of Trickling Water From a Fountain
Find Calming Sounds Meant for Relaxation
One way is to listen to a trickling fountain. If you don't have one, you can purchase the desk/table top type as well as the stand alone type fairly inexpensively on sights like Amazon and eBay, but the effects are very calming and tranquil. If your workplace has one on property make a habit to take lunch near it.
Also a good investment is a sound machine. Meant for relaxation, they give off soothing sounds such as ocean, rain, crickets, brook, city sounds or just white noise. They can be sold as part of a clock design or by itself and also have travel options so take one to work with you!
Music Sweet Music
How many times have you heard a song play and say, "oh yeah", and you're instantly back to a happy moment when this song was playing?
Every time I hear Bob Marley singing "One Love" I'm right back in Jamaica on a great vacation, sipping a Red Strip and lounging on Negrils prestine beach...Ya Mon, I be Jammin!
Music can move you like nothing else. Everyone has their own favorite type. Whether it's country, jazz, pop, christian, reggae or any other, if it lifts your spirits and pulls you away from the negative thoughts it's a must to incorporate regularly into your day.
Plant Some Fragrant Flowers
Smell, Taste and Touch
Although to a lesser degree than sight and sound, these three senses also have plenty of benefits as well.
Smell, like a good song can take you to a great memory and put a smile on your face. The smell of a fresh baked apple pie just out of the oven reminds you of your grandmas recipe or the clean smell of baby powder brings back a memory of bath time with your baby. A favorite cologne or fragrant flower bouquet can lift spirits as well. Certain "feel good" endorphins can be triggered by the smell of certain foods such as chocolate, popcorn and coffee. The trick is to focus on pleasing, comforting things when stress is building. As mentioned before, just stepping outside and breathing deeply the fresh air is cleansing and relaxing .
Your taste receptors, are incredible. They relay a multitude of information to the brain. Without getting technical on this amazing ability we have, it delivers wonderful, pleasing sensations when we eat and drink our favorite foods. This too, may be a cause of stress. If over-eating or the type of foods you are consuming is causing you health concerns and stress, then taste isn't one of the sensations you would want to look to in relieving this type of stress. For those that food isn't a cause of concern then use food as an ally. Enjoy a favorite soda or comfort food to relax. Close your eyes and truly enjoy the experience, but beware not to over indulge and cause a new stress not intended.
Touch can be help in feel sensation as well as physical release. The feel of a soft blanket, a comfy chair, a warm embrace or a hot soak in a tub or spa are wonderful relaxing sensations, while equally beneficial can be exercise. A good workout helps blow off steam, clears the head and releases "feel good" endorphins. It doesn't have to be a dreary workout...dance!
And last but certainly not least, sexual intimacy can be both a sensual and physical way of reducing stress as endorphins ( the pleasure chemicals) are released.