The Three Secrets to Managing Stress

Managing stress is all about taking charge of your thoughts, your emotions, and the way you perceive the problems in life…

It may appear that there is nothing you can do to reduce your level of stress.  Bills, career, family responsibilities — these are always going to be demanding your time and energy.  But you do have more control than you think.  You can begin to take charge of stress simply by changing the way you perceive the stressful things in life.

Your Emotional Guidance System
What if much of the stress you experience was simply your “emotional guidance system” telling you that you have strayed a little off the “designated route” and that you need to “reprogram” yourself to get back on track?  Feeling overwhelmed, unhappy or low in energy are all signals that change is necessary.

Reframing “Stress”
However, undertaking change in life can appear to be stressful too!  Moving out of your comfort zone and into new, unfamiliar territory can bring up resistance, so we choose to stay where we are, comfortable, yet stuck, in the stress we know.

But the stress that gets us “unstuck” in our life is actually “good stress”!  Think of a seedling that pushes up and out through the earth, or the pressures an Olympic athlete must undergo to prepare for a race… A little bit of stress can provide the momentum we need to break through to the next level.  From this point of view, stress has been re-purposed as positive and productive — and actually becomes supportive to your growth.

These days, there are so many “good stress” techniques to choose from, based on our personal preferences and goals.  As a gift to yourself, take on at least one of the activites listed below, for 21 days — the time it takes to change a habit.  Do so with passion and commitment, and not only will you reduce the “bad stress” in your life, but the “good stress” you take on will provide the energy boost you need to bring forth the inspiration, freedom and change you are looking for!

1.  Get Energized!
We must regularly cleanse our energy and get it flowing in order to be healthy and happy.  The “bad stress” in life  causes our energy to become stagnant or even blocked, leading to illness or depression. Incorporate one of the following “good stress” practices into your daily routine, preferably in the morning before you eat breakfast. Remember:  make your energy practise manageable.  You are far more likely to stick to a 10-min daily practise than a two-hour Iron Man routine!

Walking – A simple walk offers so many benefits:  from improved cardio-vascular functioning and lowered blood pressure, to reduced levels of cholesterol with heart disease.   Choose a park or trail or city walk near you and enjoy the fresh air!

Yoga – From Hatha to Power to Kundalini, there is a yoga studio near you to suit your taste.  Attend 1 -2 classes a week and do a short routine daily at home.

Tai Chi / Chi Gong – Both of these are ancient practices based on the healthy flow of life force energy that will keep in you in great shape — well into your “sunset years”.

2.  Change Your Thoughts
Our stressful thoughts are driving us crazy!  They can lead to us feeling off balance and disempowered.  The solution:  pay attention to your self-talk.  If the words in your head are non-supportive, then ask yourself:  What would you say to a friend who needed support?  Or, say to yourself:  I can choose peace instead of this.

3.  Remember to Breathe

Caught up in the fast pace and of modern life, most people tend to breathe in too little and then breathe out too soon…and they are usually unaware they are doing this.   The solution is to take a few moments each day to breath consciously, allowing the life force energy (chi) that is drawn into the body with the breath to be retained and to circulate throughout your energy system.  Here is a simple technique called Box Breathing that has instant results.  Try it and see how quickly you can re-connect to your Source.  Appreciate the sense of calm this practise brings.

Box Breathing

Picture a box.  For each line, you’ll count to four.  On the first line, inhale.  On the second hold your breath in.  On the third line, exhale.  Complete the box by holding your breath out for the fourth line.

Coping with stress is all about taking charge of your thoughts, your emotions, and the way you perceive the problems in life.   The ultimate goal is to create a balanced life, with time for work, relationships, relaxation, and fun – plus the peace of mind that comes with knowing that you really can choose the life you want.

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