by guest blogger Doc Childre, internationally renowned stress expert
It's no secret that a lot of people are experiencing increased stress these days. There are many reasons--financial worries, health challenges, unsatisfying work, and family or relationship problems, to name just a few. Then there are major stressors, often resulting from loss of life or property, as many recently experienced with Hurricane Sandy.
From my years of researching stress, I have seen that when not attended to, stress accumulates and often leads to feeling overwhelmed and uncertain about the future. Fortunately, there are simple tools we can use to transform our stress response and stress accumulation. I'm going to share a few of them with you.
Tool #1: Release frustration, impatience, irritation, anxiety
When you feel impatient, stop and still your body and mind; then imagine you are breathing in the attitude of patience. If you feel anxiety, breathe the feeling of calm and inner balance. Do the same with frustration and irritation. This resets your emotional system and stops the stress response. The practice will make you more conscious of when you are out of sync, and soon you can replace many of these emotions quickly and move on.
Tool #2: Say "no" to drama
The most important part of this step is to become conscious of when you are preoccupied with excessive worry and drama. Then, when you sense drama coming on, try to slow down and take pause (again, be still in your body and your mind, just for a moment). When we slow down the emotional vibration, it makes it possible to replace the drama with attitudes of peace and calm. When you are calmer, tell yourself, "I choose to not participate in this energy." Do it a few times when needed, as drama often has a strong magnetic allure. You might not be able to stop all the internal drama, but with this exercise, you can effectively reduce energy drain and offset your stress deficit.
Tool #3: Reduce self-judgment
Tool #4: Reopen the heart feeling
An effective way to reopen our heart feelings (one that you've probably heard often) is by offering kindness and compassionate support to others or volunteering to help others in need, though we are in need ourselves. Acts of care, kindness, gratitude, and compassion can make a big difference. These acts of care are behaviors of our spiritual heart and provide a wholeness benefit to ourselves and to others. Research has shown that care, compassion, and authentic connection with others reduce stress and release beneficial chemicals that balance and revitalize our systems--mental, emotional, and physical. Practicing these and other behaviors of the heart should be at the top of our list for maintaining a lower stress level.
Tool #5: Watch and read the news with balanced emotion
The following practice can be helpful in keeping emotional poise while sorting through the news: Consciously prep yourself before looking at the news, setting the intention of maintaining balance and inner poise. Then, consciously observe your feelings during the news and you will become more aware of when you are too emotionally invested in issues. When this happens, stop, and take a time out for a couple of minutes.
It's our individual responsibility to learn to manage our response to news and other stressful situations. I hope these tips are helpful. Please visit my website, www.heartmath.com, to learn more.
Doc Childre is an internationally renowned stress expert and the creator of the HeartMath System, considered by many hospitals, organizations, and healthcare professionals to be an effective practice in stress management. Doc is CEO of HeartMath Inc. and founder of the nonprofit research and education organization, the Institute of HeartMath, as well as coauthor of a dozen books on stress, wellness, and heart-based living, including The HeartMath Solution, From Chaos to Coherence, and the Transforming series of books, including: Transforming Stress and Transforming Depression.
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