Being stressed out is the single most damaging thing for our health, weight, relationships and well-being.
Take a moment and try this.
Say the following out loud if possible, or to yourself if you prefer: “This is horrible. I can’t believe this is happening. I can’t handle this.”
When you do that, what do you notice? What’s happening in your body? Does your breathing change? What muscles contract or tighten? How do you feel?
If you are like most people, the first set of statements evokes feelings of tension in the body, perhaps shallow breathing, feelings of irritability, or other signs of what we experience as stress.
Now say the following to yourself: “This is difficult, but I can handle it. I will find the strength to cope with this and move forward.” Ask yourself the same questions as above, and notice what your answers are. Take a few deep breaths. It’s amazing how different the reaction and result is. This is the power of words and emotions.
The words we say to ourselves are not simply mental events, but affect our emotions and our bodies, which in turn can impact our health. Stress chemicals such as cortisol can contribute to disease and lower our immune system.
The problem is the mind produces thousands of thoughts each day some of which we are not entirely conscious and many of which are negative. These thoughts can include worrying about something that might never happen and or being hard on ourselves.
The net result of this is what we call the stress response. This fight or flight response, was intended for human survival, the response you need to have if you are out hunting and see a lion, but in today’s world, it is out of control.
You have the power to turn stress on or off with your thoughts.
So dialing down stress is probably one of the most important things you can begin to do. If you want to lose weight, or attract a loving relationship or make the most of you work, you need to gain control over the stress response and the negative thoughts that can weaken a debilitate you. How can we begin to dial down stress?
Learning how to change your relationship with stress and that which causes you stress is one of the most important things you can do for your health and well-being.
That is why I created the course Creative Mindfulness.
I studied with Jon Kabat-Zinn and have extended the mindfulness practice he pioneered to empower the creative power of our mind.
Here are some tips:
- Become more aware.
Take a moment to reflect on some of your typical negative thought patterns throughout the day. Begin to notice them as you go through your day. Take one day and record what these negative thoughts sound like. Be particularly mindful of what you say to yourself whenever you start to feel stress building. I call this Mindful Journaling and cover this in my new course Creative Mindfulness.
- Pause and take some deep breaths.
Use the awareness of stress itself as a trigger to pause and drop into what is called mindfulness. Every time you notice stressful thoughts entering your mind, rather than getting caught up in an automatic reaction to them, it helps to take a few deep breaths and say the following affirmation to yourself: “I am strong, powerful, loving, harmonious and happy.” Even if you don’t believe it, you will be amazed how the power of these words will make you feel stronger.
Practicing this can help flip the switch on stress and turn each stressful moment into an opportunity to wire in more helpful words, and a more thoughtful response, when you face day to day stressors in your life.
- Ask yourself if there is anything you can do about it? If so, set the intention to try to address what you can do, if not let it go.
- You have the power to turn it on or off.
- Try allowing your mind to do what it naturally does — wander! You can bring it back to whatever is present or bring a more present moment response to the situation. The more you mindfully interact with turning off the stress switch, the more adept your brain will become at initiating it a more skillful response.
I encourage you to take my course Creative Mindfulness. Getting a handle on and learning how to dial down stress is the single most important thing you can do for your health, well-being and happiness.
Curious about hypnosis? Download the guided meditation I created called Stress Free and start feeling calmer right away! Click here to download Stress Free