Relieve Stress Fast
Stress can be good. Really, I am serious. Stress can be a good thing.
We’ve given stress such a bad rap, lately. It’s like the rotten step-child in a Disney move. We blame stress for just about everything.
Well, like a good animated film, there’s always a happy ending where we all realize what we really thought was bad turns out to be something pretty good. In fact, it’s so good that we feel emotionally connected.
And, right there is the key phrase of understanding stress and whether it is deemed good or bad. Our emotional connection to what we are calling stress.
Stress is your body’s way of responding to demands.
Emotional stress can be created by time, anticipation, a situation, or an encounter.
We may feel rushed which causes us to feel stressed.
The thought of something in the future may make us feel stressed when we think about it.
An event we are enduring may cause stress.
An interaction with another person or creature may create stress.
Psychological stress may be acute, episodic acute, and chronic.
Acute Stress may be thought of as a stressful moment. Or stress for a brief period of time.
Episodic Acute Stress could be explained as a stressful moment that re-occurs in your life. Think of it like a repeating pattern that you return to.
Chronic Stress is a when we live in the feeling continuously.
Typical physiological responses to stress are described in a 3-stage process called General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS). The 3 stages are alarm, resistance, and exhaustion.
Alarm is our initial reaction to a stressful event. We often think of it as the fight, flight, freeze state of the symphathetic nervous system.
The Resistance phase occurs if we remain on high alert from the Alarm phase for an extended period. Signs we have entered this phase include frustration, irritability, and poor concentration.
If the stress is prolonged or chronic, we may enter the Exhaustion phase which includes feelings of anxiety, burn out, depression, and fatigue.
Practices to Reduce Stress
Common solutions to reducing stress include
- getting outside in nature
- journaling your thoughts
- talking with a friend or a professional
- and movement.
Is stress really a good thing?
Yes. I really did write that stress could be a good thing. Why would I say such a thing? Well, the answer comes back to my perspective.
I am a movement teacher. I believe stress has the opportunity to teach us something and get us moving.
When we feel stressed or are living in an episodic stressful state or even in a chronic stressed state, if we can recognize our state of being or how we feel, we have the potential to make a choice.
I’ll agree the choice is not easy. Often our choice is to do nothing and remain in the stress state.
Yet, what if we thought of stress as our goad. A goad is a spiked stick used to drive animals. The stress goad prods us to move or to shift something.
Sometimes the only shift we can make is how our mind attaches to the stress. Yes, that does require a skill set beyond my Master’s degree to teach you.
However, what if the shift we can make is far simpler? What if, right now, you wrote down 3 things you could do to relieve the current stress you feel. Make sure what you write down is realistic. Also, see if it could be an action item in this moment. Think of each of the 3 items more like “baby steps” versus “grand schemes.”
My Stress Story
To be honest, I am living a daily stress story. I am married with children and my parents have struggled. As well, like many of us, I have extended family members that are going through hard times. Every family member needs something that I am not able to provide on a regular basis.
There was point in my life where I felt like all of my family’s needs were crashing around me. I was so stressed that I was minimally functioning.
One of my biggest shifts occurred when I finally heard what my Jungian psychologist drew out of me. I heard myself saying, “I can’t control it.” And with the recognition that I could not control the house of cards as it all fell, I learned to become a better witness to the cards falling and to my life.
It’s like being in meditation when you “witness your thoughts.” Well, I brought that practice into my daily life and interactions. I began witnessing, more.
And, I think becoming the “witness of my life” as I move through my life helped save me from completely breaking.
Also, I have to be 100% honest, my neighbor told me to get back on my bicycle and ride it. She wasn’t speaking in a metaphor, either. I had stopped moving due to the stress response. You know, fight, flight, freeze? I had frozen.
Stress as an Invitation
I think of stress now as good thing because it invites me to move. The movement might be my thoughts as I transition from the “actor” to the “witness of the actor.”
Or stress invites me to go to a yoga or dance class.
Stress always offers me an invitation to make a choice for a new way of thinking or moving. So, there it is. That’s how I think stress can be a good thing.
My Invitation to You
I hope you’ll get moving! If you need a quick movement practice, try this chair yoga practice.
And if you are really tired and are in the exhausted state of a stress response, practice this sequence on the floor. Use a belt or rope if you don’t have a yoga strap.
Reduce Tension, Pain, and Stress in your Legs and Back
Breathe to Reduce Stress
Finally, breathing practices are proven to help reduce stress and tension. Breathing and awareness of your breath is quick, easy, and free. If needed, I have more free practices for you to help you feel better. And you may always explore large online platforms, like Yoga Vibes, which offer a wide variety of class styles, levels, and diverse teachers.
May we continue to find ways to relieve stress fast.
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