I hate to break it to you, but we simply cannot avoid stress in our lives! Yes we can minimise it to a certain extent... we could all go and live on a desert island with no technology or work deadlines... but even then there would still be some level of stress in your life. So, if we cannot avoid a little stress then what can we do? Are we all doomed to a life of living on the edge in a state of overwhelm and anxiousness?
I don't believe so.
We can choose to learn ways in which we can manage the stress in our lives. And this sounds so simple, yet is the hardest thing to do!
What is stress?
According to the guru that is Google, Stress is... a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances.
Stress produces a response in the mind and also in the body. Many years ago stress was our survival mode - when we were being chased by a bear and needed to escape from it - we needed the chemical reaction in our body to kick in to give us a surge of stress hormones in order to fight or flee. In these situations stress kicked in to protect you and save your life.
So why is stress so bad now?
The problem is, in the Western world, the stress we face these days is a lot less life threatening (on most occasions) yet our body doesn't know that. It produces the same physical reaction that it did to survive that bear rendez-vouz, when you are freaking out because you will be 5 minutes late for a work meeting due to a delayed train.
And ask yourself this... how many times a day do you get that slightly stressed out feeling? When you get up and rush to get ready? When you get to work and see a million emails that you don't know how you will get through in a day? When you think about the meeting you have to be at next week when you could be spending your time doing far more 'productive' things? When you start to worry about whether your friend took something you said in the wrong way last week?
These little worries that come up throughout the day can all trigger the stress response and results in us living in a constant state of stress - without even realising it!
If you are anything like me, this often leads to overwhelm and panic. Fear that you won't get everything done on your to do list (because if you did you would probably be superwoman). Doubts that you are good enough to do your job, and worries about whether other people will think you are strong and professional enough, when deep down you are completely losing your sh*t!
How does this make us feel? Exhausted, depleted, anxious, low in energy, stiff and sore throughout the body. We often suffer from digestive issues and inflammatory conditions, tension headaches, irritated skin, depression... let's be honest... it isn't all that fun!
So what the hell do we do now?
While stressful situations are always going to arise, we can choose to manage them in a different way. How?
We have to develop tactics and strategies, tools and tricks, all of which will help us work through the stressful situations in a more gentle way. Just as you have productivity skills, organisational tools and checklists of things to make you amazing at juggling your daily tasks - you can channel this into creating a set of tools that will help you work through stressful situations.
As you begin to build up this list of tools you can use them in different situations and you can work through them one at a time every time something comes up. Learning how to breathe through a traffic jam. Understanding that certain movements in the body can trigger relaxation and soothe the nervous system. Maybe even delegating your way to less stress when your workload is overwhelming!!?
Knowing that you are equipped with ways to deal with stress and anxiety will give you confidence and help you think clearer when stress undoubtedly arrives.
Your tools are unique to you, what works for one person doesn't always work for another - however to get you started I have put together a free e-book of natural stress management tools that you can play around with. Click here to get access to it today.
Find your motivation
When we have a goal or motivaion to do something, generally, if you are anything like me, it gives you some focus and purpose. Knowing how harmful and debilitating stress can be on the body means that I think twice about whether I allow a situation to cause a complete meltdown or whether I manage to keep my cool and let it wash over me without impact on my health and wellbeing.
You can do this!
So yes, stress may well be here to stay I am afraid, however it is down to you as to how you let it take over your life.
Pick one tool and practice it today. Notice how it makes you feel. If it doesn't work decide whether that is because you need to practice it more or whether you simply don't resonate with it and can move on to the next tool to try.
There are no end to the tools you can play around with so don't feel that you have run out of things to try - there is always a choice and always an option.
Share your tricks and tips in the comments below, and feel free to join my private Facebook group in which I share daily tricks and tips on holistic stress management.
PS... if you want to start building your own set of bespoke tools to manage stress drop me an email today.