Stress: Tips and Techniques to Help You Manage
The "S" Word
We all have been in those stressful moments in life that that have hindered us in preforming acts at work, being social, and living in general. Because there are aspects of this world that have proven that one's mental health isn't a priority unless the person makes it a priority, it boils down to the individual to seek help and become well informed in ways to care for themselves. Here are a few ways that have been known to help people, as well as myself, manage and prevent stress attacks in the future. However, if your stress is becoming too much for you to manage alone, do not hesitate to seek professional help that ensures your best interests.
“One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was from a horse master. He told me to go slow to go fast. I think that applies to everything in life. We live as though there aren’t enough hours in the day but if we do each thing calmly and carefully we will get it done quicker and with much less stress.”— Viggo Mortensen
1) It's all in the breath.
If one takes away the emotional aspect of stress and focusses on the physical reaction, it would be clear that the brain and body is not a receiving enough oxygen.
This is the cycle:
- The emotions get riled,
- Your breath starts to pick up and shorten,
- Your brain only gets small bursts of oxygen,
- Your brain sends signals to the body that it needs air, thusly you start to panic,
- Your mind becomes less clear and thoughts are erratic,
- Emotions start to get even more riled.
A good portion of the time, this can be prevented if a person just takes the time to stop and breathe deep and slow, conscious breathes. Doing this gives your body time to take in more oxygen and send it to the brain, making your capacity to think and make decisions a lot clearer. While you are focusing on breathing, it is very helpful to put yourself in a neutral mindset and detach your intense emotions from your thoughts, making it so you don't make rash, negative, emotion-driven decisions. Because stress always makes your thoughts erratic and misguided, it is extremely useful for you to give yourself time to come down from such intense emotions. This amount of time varies for each person. For some this could take 30 seconds, for other's 30 minutes but either way it is about finding your unique amount of time.
2) Find your place of peace.
Sometimes, in the moment all we need is that little bit of extra drive to keep us from breaking down and urge us to keep going. Holding in your mind and enveloping your senses in a place, memory, and/or situation that brings you profound comfort can be the push that gives you the strength to continue. When you root yourself in another place, memory and/or situation of complete peace you can detach yourself from the negative emotions and bring you out of that stressful state.
Some ways to engage this technique are:
- Closing your eyes for a few moment s to help you visualize the place, memory, and or situation
- Focusing on your breathing
- Imagine a peaceful place, memory, and/or situation
- Always envelope your mind with the feeling of peace
- Always keep that thought of that special place, memory, and/or situation in the back of your mind as a sort of anchor
Any emotion and feeling that you pull from your memories needs to be maintained by reality, otherwise the constant pull from a place you envision or a memory, will become ineffective because you will desensitize yourself over time. So, it is always good to seek a place in reality that makes you feel the most comforted and reminds you of how powerful that feeling of peace is. When you do this you fuel that peaceful feeling's potency so that when you don't have the physical place readily accessable for when you need to calm down, you, basically, take a piece with you where ever you go. This establishes a foundation for you to pull from. Once again the way in which one would go about this is unique to the interests of the individual, and what gives them a profound, calming, comfort.
3) Healthy Emotional Detachment
The best way to react in a stressful situation is to not react emotionally. The way you do that is to detach yourself from extremely negative emotions and thoughts. If you have a constant of negative thinking in your mind you will be more susceptible to going through the stressful episodes. However, if you are always on a rush of intense positive emotions it will lead to exhaustion. The key is that you should always maintain that neutral medium of peace. It keeps you from overreacting in any direction. Some may mistake healthy emotional detachment with being uncaring, or even unfeeling, but it is a very conscious decision to not let certain negative things and people effect you deeply, so that you may lead a life with less stress.
Starting this process is going to be work and a lot of practice, but these are the building blocks for, not only a less stressful future, but also a well seasoned understanding on how to deal with stress. The ultimate goal in the long run is being able to deal with the intense negative emotion as it comes. Detaching gives you logical outlook, but even as you detach, the emotions will still be there so you will have to deal with them later, through reflection. A person with a well seasoned understanding of Healthy detachment can root themselves in peace and logic, so that there is a balance between logic and the feeling of peaceful emotions. The peaceful aspect gives you clarity and the logic gives you a way to problems solve and rectify the situation.
4) Eating Healthy Makes You Happy
It doesn't take a whole lot to eat healthy, but eating healthy does do a whole lot. When you eat food that is very nutritious and healthy for your body, it makes your body literally feel better. If you have a vitamin deficiencey and are eating really heavy, unhealthy foods all the time like fast food, your body is going to feel slower and rundown, which, often times, adds to a persons' mood, and from there, if they get stressed, can make things worse.
Eating healthy is pretty simple:
- Lessen your intake of foods with heavy preservatives: they linger in your body longer than organic foods
- Change your oils for cooking from lard and canola oil to grapeseed oil: grapeseed oil is a low calorie oil that is oderless and tasteless and has a high smoke point and good for your intestines
- Cook less greasy meats: meats like chicken, lean steak, lean pork, fish, (always cut the extra fat away)
- Go organic as much as you can: farmer's markets and places where meat from grass-fed animals are sold
- Darker colored fruits and vegitables: the darker vegitables give you energy and the darker red and burgendy fruits are packed full of antioxidants(good for heart, brain, and stomach)
- Use anti-inflamitory seasonings like powdered or whole Tumeric root: when you get stressed it affects your digestive system by making it swell and depending on the intensity of the stress, it can make you sick, natural anti-inflammatories can help guard against that.
- Invest in teas that are not only pleasant in taste but in feeling, teas like: camomile and jasmine- helps you mellow out; peppermint- helps with stomach; green- antioxidant rich, helps with stomach; lemon tea- helps detoxify your body
Because you want to eat healthy to not only better your body, but to also keep you from heavy stress, make the changes to your diet small over time. Being stressed is an extreme and making your eating habits that of extremes by completely changing them immediately, will only add to the stress. Small changes in impactful areas here and there, like changing what oils you use for cooking, can help you physically feel better and that, in turn, will help you emotionally.
5) For those who have a spiritual foundation or religion, use what you have.
If you acknowledge a higher power, it is suggested that you ask for peace of mind and guidance in those stressful situations. If one has a higher power, they recognize that they can not do everything in life on their own. By having faith and leaving the stressful, worrisome situations in the hands of the higher power, it gives you an understanding that there is a greater purpose for certain things to happen in your life and that there is always something to be learned and seen as positive, even if the only positive thing is that you are learning. This is one way to unclutter and remove worry from your mind so that you may make clear, purposeful decisions for what you want to do next in the situation.
There is always a way.
We all get stressed, but the main goal is to maintain our health mentaly, emotionally, physically and, for some, spiritually. Seeking this healing is the responsibility of the individual but it is also good to spread the word on how someone can help themselves in that area. Even though one way is not going to fit all it is vital to find a way, a system that fits you the most and brings you the most results, whether it be a system of your making, made by another, or a combination of many. The catche is that you actually have to give it an honest effort, not only because you deserve an honest effort, but because taking insincere action will harbor ineffective results. If you really want an effective long lasting way to deal with stress and stress resistance for the future, you have to give it a good try, and never give up. And once again, do not hesitate to seek help. There is no shame in asking and you never know how much that can impact your life. Stay healthy and happy my friends.