Are you stressed right now?
How often do you get stressed during your day?
How would you know?
As a corporate stress management trainer for the past 27 years, I’ve developed a term for your stress. I call it your “stress signature.” Your stress signature is the place(s) in your body where you store your stress, where your stress effects. Generally speaking, stress effects the same areas in your body over and over again.
Believe it or not, there are a number of stages that occur to create stress. Read on…
Generally speaking, the first of many stress stages begins with an event. For instance, you might be late for an appointment.
The next stage is an internal one as this event begins to trigger your thoughts.
If your thoughts are “everything will be okay” or “I’ll make a call and let the person know I’m running late” the stress effects might end right there.
But if your thoughts are “I’ll never make it to my appointment on time.” Or “I am really going to be get into trouble now,” your stress effects will then increase and the stress stages continue.
The next stage involves the physical problems that arise in relationship to which thoughts you are having. If you are having more of the second type of thoughts, the negative ones — your stomach may get tense, your forehead might crease up, your breath may shorten, your back may get painful, or your teeth may clench.
With each of the stress stages, you have a choice. Either go on automatic, also known as being unconscious, or get in the driver’s seat, make new choices, and become conscious.
In the world we live in there are many stressors, so there are many opportunities for managing stress. This past statement is a mindset you can have. It is based on the premise that you can change the negative stress effects to positive, pain to pleasure, sadness to happiness and that it begins with the direction of your thoughts.
The next time something negatively happens to you, stop, and ask yourself how you can reframe that experience into something positive. The question you need to ask is, “what can I learn from this experience?” What is extraordinary is that when you change your negative thought to a positive one, the experience in your body changes also — the stress effects lessen. There may even come a point where you look forward to stressful experiences in order for you to learn how to better cope by managing stress.
In addition to learning to change the way you view stressors, there are natural physical triggers or antidotes for managing stress. For instance, the next time you experience stress effects on your body, drop your shoulders. When your shoulders are up, you are doing something called “bracing.” Dropping your shoulders is becoming conscious of this reaction and will relax you. Another natural antidote for managing stress is separating your lips slightly. When you open your mouth very slightly, separating your jaw, the body relaxes. Simply by taking a long slow deep breath in, or practicing even breathing (breathing in for the count of four and out of the count of four) the body will relax you. The more you practice these strategies under stress, the less stressed you will be. Good luck and Happy New Year!
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