“Whenever you become anxious or stressed, outer purpose has taken over, and you lost sight of your inner purpose. You have forgotten that your state of consciousness is primary, all else secondary.”
– Eckhart Tolle
Stress and anxiety affect us all in many different ways and can be defined as: The bodies natural reaction to fear and change.
Some of us suffering with stress can easily identify which kind of stress whilst others suffer from a continual sense of anxiety.
Feelings of stress stem from frustration, anger or anxiousness whereas anxiety is the feeling of apprehension or fear and will usually affect our whole being, emotions, behavior and / or physical health.
Our current ‘socio-economic’ environment contributes to much of our stress symptoms and many of us carry stress around in our muscles on a daily basis.
There are several types of stress;
Episodic acute stress
During periods of stress, anxiety or panic we Think that we feel threatened – In reality it is our subconscious minds fight and flight mechanism taking over as a barrier and a form of protection.
It is during these situations when we decide whether to run or fight and these same brain-neurotransmitters either excite or calm us.
The Roper Starch Survey carried out in 1999 found:
~ Women who work full-time and have children under 13 report the greatest stress worldwide
~ Globally 23% of women executives and professionals and 19% of their male peers say they feel ‘super-stressed’
~ Nearly one in four mothers who work full-time and have children under 13 feel stress almost everyday
How we deal with our stress and anxieties is largely dependent on how we use or minds… our minds can be our greatest servant or our worst master…
Here are 5 effective ways to De-stress:
#1 ~ Mindfulness & Meditation
“Mindfulness. Your mind is full. Just what is it full of?” – Byron Katie
Studies led by Harvard-affiliated researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) demonstrated that just 8 weeks of mindfulness meditation — focusing on ‘non-judgmental awareness of sensations, feelings, and state of mind’ can increase gray-matter density in the hippocampus, known to be important for learning and memory, and in structures associated with self-awareness, compassion, and introspection.
Participants also claimed reductions in stress with decreased grey-matter density in the amygdala, which is known to play an important role in anxiety and stress.
Unsure of meditation? Checkout my 6 basic steps to meditation here:
#2 ~ Breathe
This may seem an obvious one, However the way which we breathe in modern society is infinitely shallower in comparison to how we were supposedly breathing thousands of years ago.
Stress and anxiety levels can be directly attributed to the way in which we breathe, which places us directly in the present moment, out of stress and anxieties way.
Like meditation (which also utilizes the breath in similar fashion) just 5 – 10 minutes per day of conscious breathing, known as “Ujjayi” breathing in yoga can certainly help keep stress and anxiety levels at bay.
Unsure? Google “Ujjayi and/or Yoga breathing”
#3 ~ Go Walking
Walking isn’t just good for exercising your body, it’s good for exercising your brain, too.
Taken from an article on the Huffington Post;
Neuroscientist Gabriel Axel discusses how walking energizes the brain and can stimulate creativity.
“When we’re walking, essentially, the default mode network in the brain — which is involved in self-referencing and episodic memory — is given a rest,” says Axel, “and walking starts to then attune us into the surroundings in a more relaxed way.”
The default mode network is deactivated when we’re walking and tuning into our environment. But when we finish walking and go back to a more inward-focused state of mind, the default mode network activates again.
“All of a sudden our frames of referencing to ourselves and our lives are different,” says Axel.
This change in perspective can give rise to creative thought.
Walking gives you an important mental break from your normal distractions and preoccupations, which can also stimulate creativity, says psychologist Susan Krauss Whitbourne.
#4 ~ Yoga
“When the Breath wanders, the mind is unsteady, but when the Breath is still, so is the mind still.”
– Hatha Yoga Pradipika
Yoga of any style, is simply food for the mind, body and soul! Yoga can most definitely be seen as a unisex practice.
Yoga, being similar in its approach as meditation and mindfulness – in the respect of watching the breath and each of our movements, consciously, invites us to feel what is going on inside, without judgement or attachment.
Pranayama is the art of yoga breathing and one of the five aspects of yoga is breath control.
According to pranayama yoga, there are three kinds of breathing: High, Low and Middle, and there are four phases to proper breathing.
As already mentioned above, controlled breathing is a great first step to mastering stress. Even a few minutes a day, done for two weeks, can have amazing effects.
There are several styles of Yoga to choose from, such as; Anusara, Vinyasa, Kundalini and Pranayama. A short google and visit to YouTube should demonstrate the various types and help you in picking the style best suited for you.
#5 ~ Practice Gratitude, Compassion & Affirmations
“Gratitude is a powerful process for lifting your frequency and bringing more of what you want into your life. Be grateful for what you already have, which will shift you on to a higher frequency, and voila! You will attract much better things.” – Rhonda Byrne, ‘The Secret’
It is said that having a sense of spirituality in our lives – the outward expression of something bigger than ourselves, leads to a healthier more refined life.
Practicing gratitude and compassion, as well as affirming positive outcomes and beliefs will without doubt attract more of what we do want by setting us up in a new, attractive frequency.
“You cannot receive vibrationally something that you are not a vibrational match to.
And so, bless those who are finding abundance.
And in your blessing of them and their abundance, you will become abundant too.
But in your cursing of their abundance, you hold yourself apart from it.
It is a law – it is a powerful law.”
– Abraham Hicks
Emile Coué, a french psychologist and pharmacist who lived from the mid 18th century to the early 19th century was renowned for his mantra-like conscious autosuggestion,
“Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better” Today we would call this an Affirmation.
Coué noticed that in certain cases he could improve the efficacy of a given medicine by praising its effectiveness to the patient and realized that those patients to whom he praised the medicine had a noticeable improvement when compared to patients to whom he said nothing. This is a clear example of today’s modern scientific concept of the placebo effect and shows that what we tell and speak to ourselves, we really do believe…
These 5 steps aside, one other tool which is becoming increasingly popular in helping to fight stress and anxiety is Hypnosis, and as a qualified hypnotherapist myself I feel obliged to detail this invaluable tool briefly here as well.
Hypnosis can help us directly by altering our state of awareness in a way that relaxes the conscious part of the mind – while simultaneously stimulating and focusing the subconscious part.
This heightened state of awareness – reached using skilled, spoken relaxation techniques allows the therapist to then make appropriate, positive suggestions and the results have been proven to be highly successful with clients of all backgrounds time and time again.
The Subconscious mind (accessed during hypnosis) is everything, controlling 95-99% of our daily lives. It is the database of information and experience taking up a total ten-elevenths of our overall mind.
The subconscious mind almost always wins over the conscious mind in our daily decision making, therefor seeking true contact with the subconscious as to clear out; negative beliefs, thought patterns, habits as well as trauma is essential for true and successful progression.
To simplify to its most basic form in this instance, we can view hypnotherapy as a deeply guided meditation, where we are fully allowed and permitted to relax as well as be simultaneously given positive suggestion to move forward with – this includes techniques to better deal with our anxieties.
Please feel free to explore my website here – and discover the many ways to help keep stress and anxiety at bay.
More on hypnotherapy here:
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