The following post is written by the staff at the Woman’s Center for Wellness.
With the new year comes new year resolutions, and one at the top of many people’s list is to reduce stress. But how?
Stress is a normal physical response to events that make you feel threatened or upset your balance in some way. When working properly it helps you stay focused, energetic and alert. Beyond a certain point, stress stops being helpful and starts causing major damage to your health, your mood, your productivity, your relationships and your quality of life.
How much stress is too much differs from person to person. Some people roll with the punches while others crumble at the slightest obstacle. You need to know your own limits and recognize when it is becoming too much.
We often spend so much time stressed; we don’t know what it is like to be calm. Notice how you are breathing. Notice your muscles. Are they tense? If so, you are stressed.
Once you figure out how you respond to stress, you can more easily manage your stress. Quick stress relief is needed in our busy world when we are not able to stop and meditate while in a meeting, argument or other stressful situation. We will figure out how to quickly manage stress through engaging our senses. You need to figure out which of the five senses is linked to your stress relief.
If you are a visual person, try to surround yourself with soothing and joyful images, such as pictures of your children, spouse/partner, favorite place, etc.
Surround yourself with colors that are uplifting, close your eyes and picture a peaceful/joyful situation or keep a favorite/encouraging mantra on hand. These are all excellent ways to battle stress.
Find a calming noise that will help distract you from life’s stresses. Sing or play your favorite song, listen to nature music (i.e. waves crashing, birds singing, etc.) or place a small fountain in your workspace
If you tend to freeze under pressure—surround yourself with smells that are energizing.
If you tend to become overly agitated when under pressure—surround yourself with calming smells
Wrap yourself in a warm blanket, pet your dog/cat, hold a comforting object, soak in a hot bath or give yourself a neck massage
Chew a piece of sugar-free gum, sip hot tea or enjoy a crunchy snack, such as celery, cucumber, pickles or chips. Just be sure to keep your stress relief tool box stocked at all times.
Make sure that you have go-to’s for stress relief. Whether it is a memory you can conjure up in a moment’s notice, a song on your iPod, a favorite smell, a comforting object or drinking hot tea, you will be thankful that you took the time to figure out what brings you quick stress relief and that you have kept it on hand.