We All Experience Stress
It’s not always logical the way some people can have a tremendous amount of stress and seem to be very at ease with it, whereas others can have a seemingly easy life, with little stress, but feel miserable. Stress for some of us, builds its own momentum. Have you ever said to yourself,” if I just didn’t feel this way, I would be fine”?
How can we make it easier to live with the anxieties and stresses of everyday life, as well as the physical aches and pains that seem to go along with them? If we break it down, it’s not as overwhelming. What we don’t like about stress is the results, things like tight neck and shoulder muscles, anxiety, backaches, sleeplessness. There are probably hundreds of different physical and mental responses to stress, since we are all unique individuals.
What can you do to alleviate the negative feelings of stress?
When you begin to feel stressed ask yourself three things:
- Where do I feel my breathing?
- What do I notice about my physical tension?
- What am I saying to myself?
I am not asking you to change or do anything, but to notice, become an observer. You may feel very little, and for some bringing attention to the questions above, may create a feeling of anxiety. That is not unusual. It’s not a test. It may take 20 seconds. Don’t fix it feel it.
Be as specific as possible. For example, when I had chronic pain, I was constantly holding my breath, unknowingly. That created more tightness in my muscles which then created more pain and negative thoughts. My chronic pain made me very anxious. I felt trapped. But I was only focused on the result of the stress, not what I was doing to perpetuate it and make it build momentum.
Deep breathing alone did not work long term because its only one part of a stress reaction. Your breathing might improve, but if your thoughts continue to be on the look out for more sensations you will find them. Then you will continue to label those sensations negatively and the loop goes round and round.
I describe this in my books as the Cycle of Pain. We get under stress, we begin to breathe less, and then our muscles tighten. Once you are caught in this loop it continues. It may start out slowly and then gradually get worse during your day. Or it could happen in seconds where your thoughts, breath and muscular sensations all come to a peak very quickly.
Alleviate stress – have a personal experience with your body
There are probably thousands of different ways people can tell you to alleviate stress, deep breathe, exercise, meditation. I do believe these things only work when you have that personal experience with knowing your own body. The three questions I mentioned earlier build a personal experience with your body. Then you can apply the information in a way that works. You will not return to your habits because its no longer a mystery what sets the cycle of stress and pain in motion.