3 March 2019
It seems there is so much change and uncertainty at the moment – Brexit, Donald Trump, political parties in turmoil. And there are more. Such uncertainty can cause us to worry; about our jobs, families, financial security and the uncertain future. Learning how to feel calm with all this going on is key to overcoming stress.
Stress is a normal response we all feel if we are under too much pressure. It’s the body’s completely natural reaction to the feeling of threat – the fight or flight response. The fight or flight response helped us to survive when we lived in prehistoric times, and there was danger around every corner. But it doesn’t usually help us to respond to the pressures in today’s world. We can’t fight or flee from debt, deadlines, job insecurity or relationship breakdown. Instead, we need to find ways to help us to relax, feel calm and cope with them better.
We may not realise that some of the common symptoms of poor health may actually be down to being stressed. When we are under stress, it is common to experience frequent headaches, muscle tension and aches and pains. A churning stomach, sweating, blurred vision, tired eyes, feeling sick, dizzy and faint, bowel and bladder problems, changes in breathing, dry mouth and feeling tired all the time are all symptoms of stress.
The way we think, feel and behave get affected too. We become more prone to worry and sleeplessness and our thoughts race. It is common to want to eat, drink or smoke more than usual too. Often, we get so caught up in stress that we stop exercising, or taking time to do the things we enjoy.
It doesn’t have to be like this. There are simple and practical steps we can take to help us to feel calm and in control again.
When I work with stressed clients, we work together to change the thoughts, feelings and behaviour that cause stress. I show clients how to tune into their body and mind so they can stop stress in its tracks. Going at the client’s pace, I take care to support them to develop the skills they need to make changes. I help clients learn to manage stress by developing coping and problem solving techniques and ways to manage their thoughts, feelings and moods. We work together to develop self confidence and the ability to cope, no matter what life has in store.
Here are my top tips for feeling on top of things again.
One of the best ways to feel calmer is by focusing on the here and now. Try not to concentrate on the past or future, but pay attention to the present. Focusing on the positives in your life is a powerful way to improve your wellbeing. Keep a notebook by your bed and every night write down three things that have gone well and that you have appreciated during the day. It may be a compliment you received, time spent with a friend, or enjoying being out in the good weather. Focusing our attention away from the negatives to the positive has been shown to improve mood and help us to feel more positive about ourselves.
Saying no can be a liberating technique to feel better. We can experience feeling low if we feel we have no control over what we do, and have to commit to things that we don’t want to. By challenging our thoughts about what we can and can’t do, we can create feelings of calm and break the cycle of overcommitment. Look at Creating Self Confidence and Five Ways Being Assertive Helps You Communicate for ways to help you.
Stop expecting yourself to be perfect. No one is. Avoid “all or nothing” thinking, that if one aspect isn’t perfect, the whole thing is a disaster. Things generally don’t go how we plan them. Take a deep calming breath, try to smile and accept things are the way they are.
Learn how to prepare yourself in advance for situations you are likely to find stressful. Close your eyes and imagine experiencing the situation in as much detail as possible, then take a deep breath and relax away the tension. Imagine feeling calm and dealing with the situation in the best possible way you can.
Breathing calms us down. It is so important in controlling stress and anxiety. Take a few deep breaths – breathing in to a count of 7, and out to a count of 11. This will stimulate your body to relax away tension. With practice, this will help you feel calmer and more in control.
For more information on how I can help you to feel calmer and control stress in your life click hereBack to blog listing
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