Friday, April 12, 2013
Did you know that 75% of adults responding to a recent American Psychological Association survey said they experienced moderate to high levels of stress in the previous month? More than half the respondents claimed their stress had increased over the past year!
Doing the tax dance can produce positive or negative stress. We like the positive and work hard to eliminate, ignore, or deny the negative. But we’re still stressing.
Recognize You’re In Stress:
Identify one area in your life where you’re living with chronic stress. Each time a thought or experience creates agitation or dissonance, you’re stressing. Learn to recognize the difference between ease of mind and agitation. The constant internal chatter of “I like this, I don’t like that” breeds stress.
Make Friends With Your Stress:
Get to know your stress. Be curious about its texture, flavor, focus, and themes. Invite the Stress into your home where all guests are welcome. Sit with your stress on the couch. If you don’t familiarize yourself with your stress, how can you transform it?
When You’re In The Stress:
1. Develop a daily mindfulness practice. Whether you sit for ten minutes or one hour it’s the quality of the practice that counts. John Cabot Zinn materials provide a nourishing place to begin your sitting practice.
2. Time Outs. We assign them to our kids when they’re acting out, why not assign one to yourself
3. Exercise (cardio or yoga). Try both to see which activity fits your need. Regular exercise conditions your body to serve yourself and others.
4. Find a Way to Release The Pressure: Many of us attach to our stress, re-telling stories in numerous ways so that the story gains more fury. Like a pot of coffee cooking all day on the stove, the stories/secrets we harbor become acidic, leaving us weaker, less powerful to take action. We become victims to our stress. Find a committed listener, who has no personal agenda. Whether you choose a therapist, coach, or mentor, the one requirement is that your listener passes no judgment, provides no feedback unless you ask for it.
5. When in the middle of a storm, do damage control. If you’re getting swept away by your destructive emotions, pull the plug. This step is not always easy to do because when we’re experiencing negative emotions, we enjoy going for the jugular. Stabbing someone we think is hurting us feels good, even when we know it’s not how we want to be. Again, take a time out. Even if the person you’re stabbing is yourself!
6. Acknowledge the event. Apologize to yourself or to others who got caught in the fire. Make amends. Promise not to repeat the pattern for a specific short period of time (hours, not days). Whether you can change your behavior or not, acknowledge that you tried. Forgive and forget.
7. Sticks and Stones Can Break Your Bones. But names can never harm you. Our egos are big even when we think they’re not. If you say something regrettable, or someone has spoken harshly to you, remember, words alone do not harm us. It is your ego, your pride that’s taking what is said personally. Developing a mindfulness practice will help you roll with life, instead of fighting.
What would it be like to be free of negative emotions causing stress? As April 15th draws close why not look at areas in your life where you are chronically stressed. Then ask if the tips and techniques you’ve tried have alleviated your stress? If you’re settling for temporary relief, call me.
Rhona Post, a master certified coach with the International Coach Federation since 1999, has traversed the landscape of coaching with certifications in ontological, somatic and intuitive energy healing. A mindfulness practitioner, she provides a unique approach that supports clients to be comfortable in their own skin. Rhona hosts a monthly Energy Work & Coaching Community of Practice for ICF coaches. Her current book, Navigating Tomorrow, a self-change manual is available in print and eBook on Amazon.com. She maintains an international individual and group healer coaching practice in Sarasota, Florida, working by phone, Skype and in person. Learn more: www.thehealercoach.com.