Manage Stress with These Tips
Whether at the workplace or at home, we can all use a little help chilling out, reducing emotional stress and taking the massive burdens off our shoulders! Check out these techniques you can use today, you can also use CBD based-products which are a very popular way to reduce anxiety.
Manage Stress Now
Whether at work, school, home, or any social setting, feelings of stress, anger, fear and anxiety can severely impact our ability to have a meaningful, productive and satisfying experience.
In my book “The Reflex – Activate Thoughts, Words, and Actions to Achieve Your Goals” I explain how stress is a conditioned, reflexive response pattern that can be interrupted and overwritten.
Below are two uncommon, but powerful techniques to address stress and anxiety both in public and private settings. You can also work with a therapist to help you manage your stress, visit BetterHelp to find out more.
Manage Stress in Public
1. Hold Your Breath.
Take as slow and deep a breath as you can without drawing attention to yourself, and hold it until you feel the pressure build in your lungs, chest, and ribs.
Now hold a bit longer than you think you are able, then slowly exhale. Repeat 2-4 times. No, it is not necessary to fill your cheeks with air so you look like a Puffer Fish.
*If there is any medical/health reason why you should not be holding your breath for over 20 seconds, which will initially increase your blood pressure, then use the following alternative method. Simply having high blood pressure will not prevent most people from doing
this. In most cases, this action will decrease your blood pressure in the short-term.
*Take a slow deep breath, hold for 1 second and exhale. Repeat 5-10 times.
Manage Stress – Why it Works:
Both versions of holding your breath increase your carbon dioxide levels. Applied this way, carbon dioxide has a mild sedating effect, which for most people is immediately calming and reduces tension.
It also breaks the neurochemical process that the stress response depends on, in that it counters the adrenalized fight or flight response associated with stress.
In addition, the tension that develops as a result of holding your breath helps relax the nerve receptors in your muscle tissue, which helps break the physical stress/tension reflex.
2. Sing A Song
(silently in your head). Place your attention on choosing a song that immediately produces a happy or silly feeling inside of you. There is no right or wrong and no risk of exposure as it will be safely contained in your head and heart. Whatever song produces a little smirk or smile – that’s the one!
Eminem’s song Without Me, is full of insults and sarcasm but cracks me up when I think of the lyrics.
As your feelings of anxiety and stress emerge, begin silently singing your song and keep your attention there until your stressful feelings begin to subside.
Be creative, you could substitute a song for a poem, funny image, joke or limerick… “there once was a man from Nantucket…” you get the idea!
Manage Stress – Why it Works:
Those feelings attached to your song, which produced that smile, will increase the production of endorphins – your body’s feel-good chemicals. You see, the body cannot simultaneously support 2 conflicting emotions.
You cannot at the same time feel both hate and compassion, show humility while yelling or screaming, or feel stress and calm at the same time. Endorphins help turn off stress and anxiety chemicals through their analgesic effect. Endorphins accomplish this by interacting with the brain’s opiate receptors, yielding results similar to morphine – minus the addiction.
Additionally, while silently singing your song, your nervous system, governed by the rhythm and timing circuits of the brain, are coordinating with the melodic rhythm and timing of the song.
When rhythm and timing brain circuits are consistent, such as to the beat of a metronome, song or repetitious cadence, they produce a very calm, clear-headed effect. A bit of neuroscience behind why music soothed the savage beast.
This is also why guided meditation is mostly spoken in an even, rhythmic cadence.
Going a little deeper into a bit of brain science, we learn actions that make us smile and feel good such as silently singing a personal feel-good song, engages the part of the brain’s medial prefrontal cortex that supports empathy and compassion.
This opposes the fight or flight chemical response from the other half of the medial prefrontal cortex that is responsible for anxiety, stress, frustration, anger, burnout and other ego-driven, inwardly focused reflexive responses.
So relax and remember, managing your stress, anxiety, anger and fear in public is as simple as Holding Your Breath, and Singing A Song.
Manage Stress in Private
Feelings of stress, anger, fear, and anxiety don’t just occur in public or while engaging other people, but often affect us when we are alone. Below are two uncommon, but powerful techniques to address stress and anxiety in private.
1. Primal Scream.
This is typically performed out of earshot of other people, such as alone in your car or home. As the name suggests, the objective is to take a deep breath and yell as loud and as long as possible.
Once you have emptied the air in your lungs and some of you strained your voice a bit, you will be amazed at how wonderful you feel.
Manage Stress – Why it Works
The Primal Scream produces an amazing stress-relieving, physiological domino effect.
The vigorous effort expressed through a Primal Scream begins to metabolize the excess adrenalin produced from the fight or flight stress response.
Next, the Primal Scream relaxes the nerve receptors in your muscle tissue, which helps break the physical stress/tension reflex.
This is due to the rapid increase of oxygenated blood flow as capillaries quickly open and respiratory muscles are stretched through rapid expansion/contraction of the lungs.
Finally, the body’s connective, muscle, and other soft tissues reduce tension from the sonic vibrations that resonate through your body while yelling.
Part of this results from the sonic vibrations decreasing the excitability of the nerve receptors in the muscle tissue, which contributes to keeping muscles tense.
2. Compose Yourself.
With 2-3 blank sheets of paper, begin writing as fast as you can whatever is in your head. DO NOT judge, worry about grammar, punctuation, legibility or try to make it about anything specific. This is a free flow, subconscious mind dump, from your head to paper. Curse, be profane, prolific, happy, angry, sad or silly.
Let whatever is in you flow uninterrupted from pen to paper. Feel free to begin by writing how weird you think this exercise is. What you write does not need to make sense, and might look or feel like inane ramblings – it’s all good! When finished, shred or file your writing and move on with your day.
You should feel an immediate sense of calm.
This is an all-ages exercise. My daughter began this writing exercise in 6th grade. Now a 9th grader, she continues to Compose Herself on her own whenever she feels stressed. She says she feels an immediate difference which is why she keeps doing it.
Manage Stress – Why It Works:
This is a daily subconscious house cleaning. It helps dissolve the daily deposits in your subconscious mind that give rise to your stress reflex, and the things you worry about, try to control or figure out. You see, the conscious mind references the sub-conscious mind for most of our conscious actions.
If your subconscious is filled with more deposits that support a stress response, then this is all that is available for your conscious mind to withdraw.
Also, check out these stress relief gifts.
Feeling stress, anxiety, anger, and fear are not the problem – poor management is. Stewing in your own juices is how the physical, mental and emotional damage occurs.
Having a method to address these human conditions is how we achieve a balanced, harmonious, healthy and happy life.
So, the next time you need to manage stress in private, let out a big Primal Scream and then Compose Yourself.
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