Stress is a constant part of our lives. And not just us, our friends and family too, suffer from stress. Stress has a way of slowly accumulating, and if we don’t vent it out often or frequently, it can do some serious harm to our health. A large number of problems such as digestive intolerances, weight fluctuation, depression and anxiety, all stem from accumulated stress. It comes as no surprise then that handling stress has become a multi-million-dollar industry, and a myriad of service centres, ranging from massage parlours to ashrams, drugs and new exercise hotspots and even hypnosis and new-age therapy centres, have sprouted up to help us cope.
It is often difficult to identify the stressors that are impacting us. It could be some aspect of our lifestyle – an uncomfortable position in which we are sleeping, the disturbing sounds from our phones, or an intense feeling of uneasiness from having spent too much time in company of others and the need to be alone; or it could be a sense of helplessness or extreme pressure from our jobs and social conditions. It could be a small, subtle part, or it could be something major and drastic. In either case, the way to alleviate stress is essentially the same.
In this week’s blog post I describe a 4-step process to control our reaction to the stressors. Following these steps, we train our body’s coping mechanism for all the factors that may be causing us stress and strengthen it so that it becomes immune. I also describe the ‘Barbara Crosby Exercise’, a method which in my opinion, is tremendously helpful in instantly reducing the amount of stress we are experiencing. Here goes!
1. Reorganize Yourself
Control the time you spend on all chores. Prioritize tasks. Decide on your immediate and long-term goals. Push yourself to be consistent, but don’t be harsh on yourself. Know that failure is a part of the process. Keep motivating yourself to improve as you go. Spend some time in pursuit of tasks that are a pleasure and give yourself a little breathing space. Declutter and organize your space. Listen to motivational pieces that both inspire as well as calm you.
2. Change the Scene
There are chances that the environment around you is causing you stress. Change your scene. Go out. Take a vacation. Even indoors, move furniture around to create an atmosphere that is conducive and energetic. Replace dim lights with bright bulbs. A comfortable work-chair is a must. And bring a plant indoors. A splash of green is sure to work magic on your nerves!
3. Change Your Mind
Examine your thoughts. Purge bad and self-defeating thoughts. Appreciate the little things in life. Surround yourself with positive and good people. Learn to laugh and smile often. Reads books that stir and inspire you. Hold hands and hug. Show your gratitude and word your appreciation. Cook your own meals and share. Be inclusive. Be imaginative.
4. Build Up Your Strength
Build up your stamina with the right food, appropriate exercise and good rest. Drink plenty of water. Meditation and yoga help you build your mental strength. Focus on the positives. Get your quota of the daily fresh air. Share your thoughts and don’t hesitate to reach out.
The Barbara Crosby’s Practical and Proven Exercise to Combat Stress
A simple relaxation technique, this method is easy to apply and execute. It is one of my favourite methods to follow when in a crisis, as it immediately de-stresses, soothes and calms. It begins with choosing a single syllable positive word to focus on, such as LOVE.
- Choose a comfortable spot, and sit in a relaxed manner. Squatting down on the floor or outside in a shady spot on the grass, both are great ideas.
- Close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing. Breathe through your nose. Maintain the tempo.
- Relax your body. Go over all parts of your body in your mind, from your head to your toes, and feel each part relax.
- Now, while breathing out say your positive word. Repeat this over and over until a calm comes over you.
- Continue reciting for 5-10 minutes. Over time, graduate to 20 minutes.
- When you finish, sit quietly for several minutes and open your eyes slowly. Stretch. Lie down if it helps.