OGC hypnotherapist Kerry Dolan is running her Stress and Anxiety Management Course again in January. Here she gives us some easy tips on how to de-stress on a daily basis…..
We often see articles on how to unwind or de-stress after a stressful day, but this implies that it is normal to be stressed during the day and we should address it in the evening.
Daniela Kaufer, associate professor of integrative biology at the University of California, Berkeley, tells us that short bursts of stress can be good for you: “Some amounts of stress are good to push you just to the level of optimal alertness, behavioural and cognitive performance.” Sustained periods of stress, however, can be detrimental to our health and well-being.
Imagine that you are holding a cup and all the little stresses of our day pour into that cup; soon it is overflowing and we are ‘stressed’. For many of us, we remain this way until we unwind or de-stress later in the day. What if instead you took small measures to ‘empty’ your stress cup during the day and dramatically reduce your stress level, meaning that de-stressing and unwinding at the end of the day is a much simpler task.
5 Easy Techniques to Living Less Stressfully
1. Take some calming breaths: Take a few calming breaths regularly throughout your day. Breathe in through your nose for the count of 4 and out through the nose for a count of 8. By invoking symptoms of calm, you invoke a calm state. Think about something that you do regularly during the day (I use checking the time) and use that as a reminder to take 3 or 4 of these calm breaths. It will soon become instinctive.
2 Avoid stressful language: Become aware of the language of your internal voice. Certain words are inherently stressful: ‘should’, ‘must’, ‘have to’ and ‘ought’. Instead of these words, which are loaded with obligation, we can adopt a language of opportunity and empowerment by replacing them with words like: ‘possible’, ‘want’, ‘can’ and ‘dare’.
3. Be Good to yourself: Do something every day just because you want to! Something frivolous, something indulgent or something you care about. Find a hobby or interest that you can lose yourself in; curl up on the sofa with a good book (it doesn’t have to be a literary work, it could be a trashy novel); watch a movie that makes you laugh or meet up with a friend who makes you smile.
4. Be Grateful: Studies have shown that adopting an attitude of gratitude has many health benefits, including feeling happier and coping better with stress. Cultivate gratitude in your life by writing a gratitude diary. You will soon train your mind to look for things to be grateful for instead of focusing on the negatives.
5. Be Mindful: ‘If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.’ Lao Tzu
‘Mindfulness’ simply means bringing yourself into the moment by focusing your mind on what is going on right now, through your five senses. You can do anything mindfully: take a walk, play with your children, eat something nice, working out or even making love! Choose something to do mindfully every day and pay attention to what you see, what you hear, what you feel, what you smell and what you taste.