I don’t know about you, but stress gets the best of me more often than I care to admit.
Stress can get the best of you while planning a wedding, raising your first (and then maybe your second and third) child, starting a new job, going through a break-up, college, buying a house (especially in this market!)… the list goes on. Stress is a part of our lives, and we can either choose to ignore and suppress it until it rears its ugly head, or we can face it, breathe it in and be the boss of our reality.
Owning my own business, I have chosen to surround myself with like-minded people who can offer input, advice and understanding to help me manage my stress. One of those people is my good friend Gina Zappariello of Pathfinder Coaching: today she is going to break down four easy ways for us to de-stress. Thanks Gina!
“She had finally allowed her negative feelings to surface, feelings that had been repressed for years in her soul. She had actually FELT them, and they were no longer necessary, they could leave.” Paulo Coelho
How many times have you shut out the feelings you are having when you are under stress, believing that if you just ignore the feelings they will eventually go away? How often is that method successful?
For many of us, we have learned over the years to suppress our negative feelings, and not fully experience them, believing they were bad for us. In doing so, we are merely putting them aside briefly, but we’re never really getting rid of them.
All feelings, whether positive or negative, have validity and should be experienced. From experience comes learning. From learning comes growth. It’s how we handle the negative feelings that will have a detrimental effect on us.
The next time you are feeling stressed, try these 4 Easy Steps to De-Stress. The more you practice these steps, the more they will become a natural part of your life.
BREATHE. When you feel that tightness in your chest, neck, shoulders, etc. that comes with stress, pause and take in a deep breath through your nose counting to 5 slowly and let it out through your mouth, counting to 5 slowly. Try to fill your lungs to capacity each time, and feel your stomach extend. Do this 3 times.
NOTICE. Without judgment, notice and name what it is that is causing your negative feelings. You could feel stress, guilt, overwhelmed, angry, anxious. Just be aware of it. Don’t try to explain it. Simply say to yourself: “I’m feeling _______.” Say it out loud.
AFFIRM. Again out loud, affirm yourself with an affirmative statement or mantra. Make one up yourself or use one of the following statements:
“I am doing the best I can.”
“I can handle this feeling and manage my day.”
“This feeling of _____ will soon pass.”
“I am safe and I am loved. I can handle whatever I am feeling.”
“I love myself. I will take care of this feeling later on today.”
Steps 1-3 help you notice what you are feeling without judgment, and be present so you can move through your day in a calmer frame of mind. However, as I previously stated, there may be a powerful learning in the stress or difficult feeling that you might want to explore. So therefore, I recommend moving to Step 4, even if it is later on in the day. This step proves you can take care of yourself, and as you get better at it, your stressful or difficult feelings will become easier to handle.
REFLECT AND LEARN: for this step, find a time where you can reflect on your feelings uninterrupted. It may only be a few minutes, but it should be in a quiet place free of distractions. Consider:
What is important about the feeling of _____ that you had today?
What do you need to learn from it?
Avoiding our unpleasant feelings and stress may help us get through a difficult day or week, but it can be a destructive habit which actually increases our stress in the long run. Our feelings show us who we are – and when we avoid looking at what we feel we literally abandon our ‘selves’ – removing the ability to learn what our feelings are telling us. When we allow our feelings and look at them without judgement, we not only learn from them but we also find that our feelings ‘move on’ – because we’ve got the message – and they’re not needed any more.
About the Guest
Professional Coach, Experienced Educator and Transformational Leader.
I coach people who are struggling to move past personal and professional obstacles and move toward LIFE: Living In Full Empowerment.
*Interested in working with Gina? Here’s how to get in touch with her!
Website: pathfinder-coaching.com (PS I did her head shots!)
Book Coaching Sessions Online: http://pathfindercoaching.
Coaching Referral Service: www.noomii.com/users/gina-