Not so long ago, we seemed to be wearing stress like a fashion accessory. Like all fashion accessories, has it had its day? New research is now indicating that it is perhaps not so good for our health, relationships and happiness to wear ‘stress’ on a daily basis. Maybe it is time to adopt a new fashion accessory. Then again, it can be useful at times, can’t it? OK, but how do you feel when you wear it? Frazzled? Overwhelmed? No time? Tired? Is this how you want to feel? If not, we have seven alternative accessories for you to try out.
First though, a little more on stress. The stress response is there to get us out of danger – to fight, flight or freeze. It does its job really well. Only it isn’t meant to be ongoing. Having removed our self from danger, we are safe to switch it off and relax again. It is triggered by any feeling of threat (real or imagined.) Today, many of us feel overwhelmed, unsafe or pressurised by our jobs, commute, bills, family, mobile phones and keeping up with social media. This creates an underlying feeling of insecurity which keeps our bodies in a state of stress. We feel on edge and anxious for no reason, and our stress escalates even more. We now need to consciously choose to step out of the stress and into relaxation. One way is to focus on creating a feeling of inner safety. These seven stress-busting accessories are designed to start doing just that.
- Laughter. Laughter lightens our mood and relaxes us. Let the situation be for a moment and just laugh. Laugh for no reason. Maybe you can even see a funny side to the situation you are in. After a good laugh things tend not to seem so big and unmanageable.
- Kindness. There has been a lot of research on the positive effects small acts of kindness can have on both the giver and the recipient. Kindness reminds us of the best in ourselves and in others. It reminds us that we are one human family. One small act of kindness every day can change our whole outlook on life.
- Curiosity. If you are reading this, you must be at least somewhat curious about this thing called stress. Are you curious enough to stop running and turn towards the situation, person or whatever it is you believe is creating your stress? When we do, we often find it isn’t as bad as we were imaging and that, in fact, our imagination (thoughts) were making it scarier than it actually was.
- Self-Knowledge. The more we know ourselves, the more comfortable we feel in our own skin. Observe yourself objectively and acknowledge your positive qualities. OK, you may not be perfect. Is anyone? Can you accept that you aren’t perfect? When we feel grounded in our best self, we are then empowered to face and change our negative habits for more positive and supportive ones.
- Resilience. This is our ability to respond positively to situations and others: to see the solution, benefit or how to make things right. To forgive is also resilience. Forgiveness is a powerful weapon against stress. Start building your resilience today by looking for the gift in a challenging situation, or one good thing about the person who is stressing you out today.
- Self-Care. This is to acknowledge and nurture the best in you on a daily basis. When we do this, we find that, over time, the things that used to stress us no longer do. We see things differently. We see the bigger picture. We see how, what we once thought were monsters, aren’t monsters at all and how they helped us to grow and become stronger.
- Meditation. Meditation practice enables us to step into feelings of relaxation, calm, peace and silence. It enables us to change the patterns of stress within our self to ones of acceptance, peace and stability. It creates and inner security. Maybe, stress can even become a thing of the past.