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How to manage your stress in 5 easy steps

How to manage your stress in 5 easy steps

When you experience stress, either in your everyday life or every so often, you’re probably keen to have ways to manage it. It can be overwhelming when you have to get on with your day but you can feel the weight of the world on your shoulders.

What if I told you that you didn’t have to live like that? That there are alternatives? You could learn to manage your stress in such a way that you don’t feel it quite so heavily, making everything else much easier.

As a Master Practitioner of NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming), I have helped clients to learn how to manage their mind and reduce stress. In order to get to the root cause and completely bust the stress for good, it’s often advisable to seek a practitioner to assist you, but I can give you tips that help you learn why you react the way you do, and therefore empowering you to handle it more effectively.

With that in mind, I wanted to share a few valuable tips to help you manage your stress a little better.

1)    Remember that you are in charge and you have choices

One of the most common themes I tend to see as a cause of stress is a feeling of being out of control, or in other words, lacking in power over a situation or event.

When this happens, the best change you can make is to remember that you are in charge of your mind, and therefore your results. We can choose what environments to put ourselves in. We can decide what people we spend our time with and what action we take to help ourselves.

Often when we allow ourselves to blame people or external situations, we get stressed. When it’s down to something or someone else, we lack the control we need to feel relaxed.

You’d be amazed at how much freedom there is in empowering yourself and making yourself accountable. Things don’t just happen to us. There have been actions before it happened. Choices have been made. Decisions and thoughts have occurred.

When we realise that we are in charge of minds, we can look at things differently. Then, we get a different neurological reaction.

For example, if there is a thought like…

‘I can’t enjoy my life because I don’t have enough money to socialise’

How does socialising require money?

Some socialising does cost a bit, of course. Yet, we have a choice. We can simply arrange to see a friend and sit by the sea and have a chat.

Another example of a stressful thought is…

‘I can’t disagree with my Boss because they have the authority and I need my salary’

What if you ended up having your salary increased because you showed the confidence to disagree? There are many leaders out there that want you to step up and show you know what you’re talking about. They may not have even considered another outlook that could actually be more beneficial. By putting yourself out there, you could give yourself even more opportunities to grow.

Life is full of cause and effect.

These cause and effects are often the trigger of a lot of stress. They can be limiting, rather than empowering. Thinking of all of the things we CAN’T do is never going to relax us and allow us to enjoy life.

So, how do we choose to focus on ‘can do’ rather than ‘can’t do’?

When you choose to look at a situation in terms of what CAN be done, your mental outlook will be entirely different, Instead of starting off in a negative place, you’re instantly thinking about the results that can come from it. You take different actions, empowering you to get different results.

Look at it this way: If that’s what something is….what is it NOT?

If a meeting doesn’t go well, it’s NOT the only meeting you will have.

The main thing that helps our mind to deal with emotional reactions is to experience the event or issue from a different perspective. Here’s a few examples of ways to experience things differently:

  • Consider when it wasn’t a problem, (this makes you step outside the issue and therefore lets the mind know that time outside the issue can exist).
  • Consider what there is to learn from the event which will allow you to let go of the emotion
  • If you were the other person involved, what would you see, hear and feel? In experiencing the event in someone else’s shoes, you are shifting the neurological reaction to how it was previously experienced.
  • What is it not? If this is an issue, what isn’t an issue?
  • How is it NOT a problem?

These perspectives can release the trapped emotion because it won’t mean the same as before. Once you have experienced the event differently, the things you see, hear and feel in relation to the event have changed and expanded.

Woman smiling in field

2)    Connect with what you love

What are your most happy moments? When you have experienced laughter, joy or contentment?

Recall those moments. What were they like?

What can you see, hear and feel in the memory?

Get really into the memory. Allow yourself to re-live it.

Have you smiled yet?

We have incredible resources within ourselves to overcome negative emotional states.

Trouble is, we don’t use them enough. That can change, you just need to make the effort to recall the moments regularly enough that it comes easily in times of stress.

Connect with the best moments of your life and use them as your holiday from stress. The moment stress comes along, look at the photo or think of that person that takes you back to a place of joy and feel the stress evaporate.

 

3)    Breathing techniques

You’ve probably heard of using breathing techniques to relax. Hell, that’s why Yoga is so popular. You should never underestimate the power of deeper breathing techniques. They’re simple to learn, simple to practice and they’ll have a bigger effect on your stress levels than you’ll realise.

I said I’d give you some easy steps and practising deep breathing is so easy AND powerful!

The next time you’re feeling the twinge of stress starting to take hold, take the time to step out of the situation for 5 minutes. Concentrate on your breaths. Breathe deeper. Longer. Use equal breaths in and out. Keep the strength of these breaths balanced.

By doing this, you’re signalling to your brain that you’re okay. There’s no fight or flight reaction that needs to occur here. You’re not in danger. You’re fine.

A few minutes of this and you will feel your body relax. The tension will ease and in this relaxed state, stress will seep out of you and you’ll feel refreshed.

Whenever you feel stress taking hold, make sure you take some soothing and comforting time out. This will seem weird and a bit awkward to begin with, but once you realise the effects it has on your stress levels it’ll become second nature.

Businessman relaxing with coffee

4)    Take positive action

If you had an experience which caused you stress earlier today, remember this: that was then.

This is now and what you do now, shapes your future.

So, what action can you do now that will take you where you want to be?

When you take a positive approach, you get completely different experiences and results. By changing your emotional state, every step (no matter how small) can make a huge difference.

What can you do now that takes you TOWARDS somewhere you want to go? For example; Making a plan, writing down personal aims or goals, or arranging time with a friend.

Focusing on where you want to go, and giving yourself the best possible mental chance of getting there, means progress.

 

5)    Use resources

If you are struggling to connect with the happy thoughts, there are tonnes of resources to help. You have all the resources you need.

And no, I don’t mean spending hours of studying in the library!

You have internal resources to give yourself motivation. You can listen to your favourite music, watch something fun, and spend time with people. As much as some people hate it, exercise has proven to be one of the most effective methods in dealing with stress.

All of these actions generate different external experiences which take you outside of the stress box you may have got trapped in. Resources are all around. You just have to look.

 

In short; All we need to do is realise that we are in control. We do have power. We do have choice. Because of this, we can lead ourselves to happiness.

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