In my private practice, I have had the privilege of helping and guiding clients to reduce stress and create an effective stress management plan that works for them. I would like to share that information with you and provide you with tools and techniques that I use with my clients to help you reduce stress.
As we know, stress is our internal reaction to outside stimuli. Literally hundreds of factors can cause stress, from noise to resentment to fatigue to emotional upsets, lack of sleep and even a poor diet. If we cannot change the situation or environment that is causing the stress, we do have the power within us to change our reaction to it. It is helpful to notice ahead of time that we do have choices during stressful times. So now let’s concentrate on some techniques which will relieve your stress, helping you to feel in control, calm and centered during stressful times.
Grounding cord technique: Removing homework, to do lists, people , even the laundry from your immediate vicinity is a helpful way to reduce stress. Using your imagination,let’s create a sound cord. Take a deep breath and close your eyes. Picturing, imagining , or just knowing it to be, visualize a cord attached to the base of your spine and traveling all the way down to the center of the earth. Allow the cord to expand to size that is comfortable for you. And now, release and stress, tension, or anxiety that you may be experiencing. Release and let of of those irritations, the extra home work or to do do list sitting on your desk, release and let go of all negative emotions. Now, sigh deeply, letting out a sound of deep relief as the air rushes out of your lungs. Don’t think about inhaling —-just let the air come in naturally. And again, sigh deeply. With each sign you are releasing stress, tension and negativity. Continue to sigh until you feel more relaxed. Remember where you are in your room, wiggle your toes and fingers and when you are ready open your eyes.
Visualization: Visualization is a powerful key to reducing stress because the subconscious mind does to know the difference between a visualization and an actual event. Combine with humor it has even more impact. Let’s do an exercise now which will demonstrate this technique. Take a deep breath and close your eyes. Imagine someone who irritates or annoys you. As you watch this person, become aware of any tension or negative emotions that you may be experiencing. Now, imagine this person with an elephant nose or Dumbo like ears, or anything else that amuses you.
In what way does that change your experience ? What happens to the negative emotions? How do you feel physically ? Emotionally ?
Now remember where you are in the room, wiggle your fingers and toes and when you are ready , open your eyes.
Practice acting rather than reacting to the stressful situations you encounter. If you want to feel calmer and more in control, for example, see yourself with that behavior . If you wish to feel calmer think about under what circumstances and with which people you need to be calmer. Now write down one stressful situation you encountered recently. The first one that comes to mind. Then write down a new response to this same situation ; responding in a way in which you are calm and in control. Describing exactly how you wished you had handled that situation in a relaxed and calm way.
Take a deep breath and close your eyes. Now remember the scene your created on paper a few moments ago. See yourself calm in control. Notice your surroundings and fill in as many details as you can. Notice what you are wearing. Feel all the emotions. Spend a few moments here allowing yourself to rehearse this new behavior . Notice how good it feels to act and react the way you want. You are in complete control of your own responses.
Finish up your scene now, and remember where you are in the room. Wiggle your fingers and toes , and when you are ready, open your eyes.
I hope you find these techniques very helpful and I look forward to sharing some more techniques next time!