“Stressed spelt backwards is desserts” – Loretta Larouche
When stress mode turns on, we usually have little to no warning. It can switch itself on at any time, day or night, in response to a whole host of different things that are unique to each and every one of us. This is why it is so difficult to define stress, as it can show up differently for all of us.
A term, coined in 1936 by Hans Seyle, but didn’t appear in our vocabulary until the 1950’s, described as “the non-specific response of the body to any demand for change”
Stress is our protection shield that is activated when we are in fight-or-flight mode. It is a survival tool, that has sadly become more of a painful tool.
No matter how much I’d love to run away from it all at times, I can’t reasonably go and live in a cave or a desert island, so how can we manage our daily stresses?
Here are 5 small ways to help turn off stress mode:
- Be Aware – learning what makes you stressed is personal growth at its finest. Once we become aware of our triggers, we are then able to respond, rather than react, to them. The next time you feel stressed, stop for a moment and bring your attention to the soles of your feet. This automatically calms down the nervous system, probably because our feet are furthest away from our head and therefore our thoughts. Make a note of what happened to cause the stress. Keep doing this regularly, so that you can track your stress mode pattern.
- Breathe It Out – Try box breathing. Inhale for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts, exhale for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts. Repeat as necessary. Our bodies pay attention to our breath, and by holding our breath for a few seconds, it gives a chance for the nervous system to calm itself.
- Shake It Off – Shaking is our bodies natural response to releasing the energy that gets stuck from the build-up of stress and tension. Give it a try – the next time you feel stressed go to the bathroom and shake your body for a few moments. Not only will the stress be relieved, but a smile might even arrive on your face.
- Meditate – “Everyone should sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day. Unless you’re too busy. Then you should sit for an hour”. This quote by Dr Sukhraj Dhillon might be hard to fathom at first, but being ‘busy’ doesn’t always feel good. By giving yourself the gift of being present, you will open your mind up to what is important, right here, right now. Then you might find yourself less ‘busy’ in the future.
- Do Something Fun – People that are regularly stressed, usually find it difficult to fit in ‘having fun’. If this sounds like you then why not keep it short and simple, such as watching a funny video clip or singing along to your favourite song at the top of your voice. And, if you enjoy singing, check out “Vocal Toning”, a unique technique that reduces our stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol levels by using the vibration of our voice.