STRESS AWARENESS TIPS
Managing stress from the inside out!
A great many of us believe our stress is increasing, so it’s a good time to redouble our efforts and take stock of what’s causing our stress and what we can do to minimize it.
We all know we should reduce our stress, but that’s easier said than done when we’re simply trying to keep up in these fast-paced times.The American Psychological Association’s (APA) most recent statistics are evidence that a lot of people are having a difficult time.
APA 2012 Stress Findings
- 69 percent of adults surveyed reported experiencing high stress that continues to Increase!
- 33 percent of adults never discuss ways to manage stress with their health care providers.
Although overall stress declined from 5.2 on a 10-point scale in 2011 to 4.9 in 2012, 35 percent said their stress increased in the last year, with 20 percent reporting extreme stress levels of 8, 9 or 10.
Changing Nature of Stress
We’ve long known chronic stress exacerbates problems with health, communication and performance. Many of us hear that inner voice telling us to live less stress-fully so we don’t become casualties of excessive stress. By all estimates, stress is a major threat.
In the words of APA CEO Norman Anderson, “Stress could easily become our next public health crisis."
Not long before this new millennium, stress often was considered a major problem only after a life crisis such as trauma, illness, home foreclosure, job layoff, divorce, death of a loved one or other major life events.
Day-to-day life was different for most in many ways. We had more time between events like eating, sleeping and working. We spent more time with family and simple hobbies. There was actually time to unwind and recoup, whether at day’s end or on vacation.
Now we worry about emails piling up so high we wish we hadn’t gone on vacation at all. Advances in technology now make so much more possible and enable us to constantly multitask, take on more and be ever hyper connected.
Today’s stress is more persistent and pervasive. With more to do than ever before, we do more. We expect more of ourselves and others. Life constantly accelerates and changes. Uncertainty about the future seems greater than ever.
It’s a placing an enormous amount of pressure on us, and not releasing it can send us into mental and emotional overload.
Stress Is OUR Body’s Way of Saying We’re Out of Balance,
Risking Poor Decisions about Health, Relationships, Schoolwork, Job Performance & More.
What You Can Do About Stress
If so many people’s efforts to lower stress or prevent it from increasing is failing, it follows that it’s time to try new strategies. In the two decades-plus that the Institute of HeartMath has explored the physiology of stress and become a global leader in stress management, its research has shown a high number of people simply resign themselves to stress, believing they can’t do anything about it.
This is not true. The first thing to do is take responsibility for your stress. Outward interventions – a massage, aromatherapy and a host of others – may feel wonderful – in the short term. Ongoing, permanent measures are required for managing stress from the inside out.
These HeartMath tips have worked for thousands worldwide.
Tip 1. Heart-Focused Breathing™
HeartMath research has shown that Heart-Focused Breathing, which only takes a few minutes, can help quickly reduce stress, anxiety and anger, especially in times of emotional overload.
• Imagine breathing through your heart, or the center of your chest. See yourself taking a timeout to refuel your system, breathing in an attitude of calm and balance. Breathe in for 5 or 6 seconds and out for 5 or 6 seconds. Learn about more Attitude Replacements.
Tip 2. Decrease Drama
Stop energy drain from stress and reduce anxiety by not feeding “drama” into your thoughts and conversations. Constantly spinning thoughts of and projecting blame, anger and doom and gloom about the future, increases drama and always makes things worse. It blinds our intuitive discernment, a vital tool for navigating our challenges.
Start by decreasing drama when in your interactions with others, sharing only genuine heart feelings. This reduces the tendency to amplify and repeat the downside of situations and increases the tendency to strengthen and encourage sober support and solutions.
Practice reducing drama, and don’t judge yourself or others for failing to always succeed. Proceed with compassion.
* In recognition of National Stress Awareness Month, I want to share some other proven HeartMath stress strategies, for free.
Visit IHM’s Solutions for Stress section
Source: - Sara Childre, President, Institute of HeartMath
If you would like to experience and learn HeartMath techniques, contact Aisling Killoran at Accomplish Change Clinic who is a certified HeartMath Coach in Dublin.