5 tools to release stress NOW
drs. Karin Monster-Peters
Aug 28, 2016
By the time I was 32 years old, I've had three burnouts, and stress had become my middle name.
The first time, I was 18 years old. No money, in high school, working at MacDonalds to pay the bills. When I couldn’t stop screaming in emotional pain, I realized something had to give.
The second time I was 29 years old, and after years of hard work building my practice and the aftermaths of a bad relationship, I couldn’t get out of bed. Focusing for more than 15 minutes wasn’t possible for me.
And the third and last time (because I swore this WOULD be the last time), I couldn’t even lift my arms. 32 years old and my brain was functioning, but my body gave out. Two sensitive babies only 14 months apart, breastfeeding on demand, and there was nothing left of me.
I recovered slowly. Mindfulness, energy work, yoga, intentional self-care, and time healed my body and mind. Stress stored in the body for too long WILL cause pain, adrenal fatigue, illnesses, burnouts, and so on. It’s no wonder that stress is being called the silent killer.
The key to successfull stress management is to redefine stress as something that is not harmful . When we see and accept stress as a normal part of life and necessary for growth and change, we create space for awareness about what works for us and what doesn’t. You can look at your life and see which things you need to let go of or do differently to create a more balanced life. This was a huge game changer for me!
A life of meaning has stress in it, and as I look back, I realize how much I have grown since then. A stress free life is non-existent, and the fact that we think it exists causes even more stress! You must see it this way: We NEED stress, but just NOT ALL THE TIME. As long as we take the time to restore, there is nothing wrong with stress. Release the resistance you have built up against stress, and you will release the stress!
So, accept that stress will be a PART of your life, so it does not become ALL of your life.
For the record, this acceptance is not a, “My life sucks and accept my terrible fate”, kind of thing. It is more of an, “Although this situations kind of sucks, overall my life is awesome, and I am going to accept what is happening and transform it into wisdom as I continue to create my ideal life”, kind of thing.
When you do this, you practice optimism, and you discipline your minds to create more empowering explanations about the things happening in your life. Byron Katie tells us that, whenever she argues with reality, she loses every time. Arguing with reality and that which presents itself is much more stressful than staying fully present and accepting it as part of our lives. What has happened has happened, and no amount of complaining on our part will change it.
But, what do we do with the day to day stress? How do we go to “NOT ALL THE TIME”?
Here are my 5 favorite 'daily' tools:
1. Start your day by grounding yourself.
Grounding techniques done in the morning have a huge effect on how relaxed you feel throughout the day. When you ground yourself, you bring yourself back into your body and become aware of what it is trying to tell you.
- How are you feeling today? What do you need? How can you serve yourself and your body? On my YouTube channel, you will find a video on Grounding and Empowerment to help you on your way.
2. Become aware of your stress levels by checking in with your body about 3-4 times a day (around meal time is a good place to start). Ask yourself at those moments:
- Am I tense?
- Am I holding my breath?
- Is my breathing shallow or rapid?
- Are my shoulders up around my ears?
- Am I clenching my jaw?
Take a minute or two, right then, to change your body’s physical stress, so it sends a different message to your mind. The mind reacts to the body, just as the body reacts to the mind. Stretch, do a few simple yoga poses, make silly faces (it relaxes the muscles in your face), jump around a bit, or take a few deep breaths. Your breath is your best friend in stress management. Use it as often as you can!
3. Are you having a sudden stress-response?
Be honest with yourself and ask:
- How much stress am I experiencing, right now?
- Does the situation warrant such stress?
- Is my stress level realistic?
- Can I change this current stressful situation at all?
- Should I take a time-out from the situation to protect myself, physically or emotionally?
- If I change nothing about it, does getting upset, angry, or tense benefit me?
- How will I pay for it by getting so stressed out?
- Can I just accept that the situation is stressful and move on? Just by becoming aware of the stress and asking the question, your response to the situation will shift immediately!
4. Move. If you can get in a good workout every day, great! But realize that your body thrives more on consistency than on intensity.
Move as much as you can, even if it’s only for 2 minutes at one moment. All movement counts. Movement releases stress by producing all those yummy hormones, like dopamine and endorphins, which give us a natural high with a natural anti-depressant. It also helps our body detox of all the stress hormones we produce througout the day.
5. And last, but certainly not least: Smiling and laughing are two of my favorite forms of releasing stress! I love humor, and I love to laugh. One thing I love about my husband is that he can make me laugh, no matter how stressed I feel.
Watch a comedy, share a joke with a friend, recall a funny memory, or make one up in your mind, and laugh for no good reason, until it snowballs and takes on a life of its own. Redefine a stressfull situation by finding the humor in it. Make it lighter by laughing about it! Your brain does not know the difference between what is reality and what is not. Your body reacts physiologically in the same way to what is real and what is vividly imagined.
Laughter is healthy (and the best medicine).
drs. Karin Monster-Peters
Karin Monster-Peters is an energy management and life purpose coach with a passion to transform lives. Karin's background is in psychology, life coaching and parent coaching and energy healing She has specialized in giftedness, child development, parenting and highly sensitive people. Driven by past experiences she specializes in supporting highly sensitive parents around the world in creating time, emotional space and clarity in who they are so they can start parenting with purpose and flow and create the lives of their dreams.