Stress is a natural part of life. We all experience it. Too much negative stress will keep you from hitting your potential, your goals and will decrease your overall joy & happiness.
Stress symptoms are varied and wide ranging. Everything from anger & frustration to disappointment & discouragement to self-criticism & self-judgment. Really, negative feeling emotions usually have a stress component.
It doesn’t have to be this way. In fact there are proven strategies that can help you remove your stress and get back to taking charge of your abilities.
Here are 7 easy strategies to lower your stress and get you back into your performance state:
1 Peripheral Vision
Stress causes us to go into intense visual focus to help us address the “threat” we feel. Expanding our focus into our peripheral vision combats that natural stress focus and tells the brain it can destress.
Simply pick a spot on the wall away from you, just above eye level. Focus your gaze on that spot. While you focus clearly on the spot, expand your vision out so that you could see both your hands if they were outstretched beside you.
Take a deep breath and notice the de-stressing affect your peripheral vision has on your mind and even body.
Stress produces intense emotions that feel intense. Typically, when we think about the situation and create a picture of it in our mind, we are fully immersed in the picture.
To dissociate, we simply imagine that we can see ourselves in that mental picture. This process creates the mind trick of a 3rd party of the event, which takes down the stress level.
3 Breath Work
Under stress, our body naturally picks up our breath rate and shallows our breath such that we can get air faster into our lungs.
Take slow & controlled breaths. By changing the breath rate & keeping the breath, it triggers the brain to reduce the stress response.
Couple strategies: Double the out breath… breathe in for 4 seconds; out for 8 seconds. Box breathing… breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, breathe out for 8 seconds.
The mind/body connection is very strong. In fact much of this list taps into that connection.
When you create an anchor, you are connecting a physical sensation, a visual target or an auditory input to an emotional state.
Similar to those songs from high school that get you feeling into the moments when you listened to it back then, you can anchor a positive emotion to a place you press on your body or a phrase that you say to yourself. You can pull out of the stress and into a better emotional state.
Create an immersive visualization of a calm state that you can use to tap into instead of being stressed.
Think about feeling super calm or confident or joyful… some emotion that is your antidote to feeling stress. Think about what it would look like to be in that preferred emotional state time and visualize through your own eyes what you see, what you hear and what you feel. Connect it with that image and then imagine that you “turn up the volume” on the picture to make it feel like you’re really experiencing it.
This actually tells your mind to experience that emotion and the stress will not be there.
Moving the body is an effective way to relieve stress. Getting some moderate exercise naturally raises endorphins that will help you feel less stressed.
Do some jumping jacks, push-ups or vinyasa flow yoga. Walk around the block. Or actually get a good workout in. Studies also so that exercise can be a preventative for stress.
7 Mindfulness meditation
The practice of mindfulness is a great way to get rid of stress. The guiding principles of mindfulness is a focus of this moment as it is without judgment.
Stress has an interruptive component to it. We are judging something as a threat and therefore go into stress-mode. Mindfulness works not to change anything, yet reduce the friction and notice what is happening. The noticing and presence allows the acuteness of the stress to decrease and give us the resources to deal with it.
If you are interested in certified mindfulness meditations, reply to this email and I’ll send some options your way.
These 7 strategies are useful in reducing stress in the moment, which will get your brain back “online” and allow you to tackle the challenge facing you AND feel joy & fulfillment.