I have written many blog posts on the topic of stress management, thought management and expression of feelings. Anger management, grief, positive self talk, use of affirmations have been discussed in these blog posts. In this article I want to list strategies that will facilitate a carefree life style. We are faced with so many challenges in life and sometimes, it is so hard to tackle our problems effectively. The result of chronic stress is psychosomatic illnesses and medical problems like ulcer, asthma, cardiac problems, depression and mood disorders.
It may sound very simple when you begin to learn about these strategies but it is important to pay attention to them and begin to apply them when facing adverse situations for mental sanity.
We will discuss the most important strategy first, which is the habit of letting go and feeling relaxed. This appeared to be the hardest thing for my patients suffering from depression and anxiety disorders. In order for you to let go, you may need to cultivate the habit of achieving relaxation. Writer has discussed the practice of progressive muscle relaxation in other blog posts.
There are sixteen major muscle groups in our body and what you do is tense and relax each muscle group systematically. Tensing cycle is about 7-10 seconds and relaxing cycle is about 15-20 seconds for each muscle group. You start from your fists, and move to fore arm, triceps, neck, face muscles, shoulder, back, stomach, pelvic area, thighs, legs, ankles, and feet. Other forms of relaxation are just doing abdominal breathing for five minutes or meditation. When you relax your mind with meditation and progressive muscle relaxation, you create the alpha wave activity in your brain. Tensions and anxiety cannot live side by side with relaxation. Either you are relaxed or tensed so when you relax, you let go of the tension, worries and anxiety. The more relaxed and focused you are, the less defensive, controlling, and fearful you will be when adverse situations occur in life. Your child missed the bus, or you missed the flight, will not cause as much anger and frustration and you will be able to take the rational problem solving approach more effectively if your mind is relaxed.
Patience is another character trait that can be developed with self awareness. Are you the type who gets nervous when faced with minor challenges, do you tend to give up when setbacks happen? Most likely, you need to be aware of these tendencies and work on cultivating patience. You will be able to have patience only when you feel relaxed. Some amount of drive is necessary to achieve your goals but if you become compulsive and extremely obsessed, you lose the tendency to flex and bend and are more likely to react when setbacks happen. Be mindful and stay in the present to have patience. Losing patience and getting irritated on minor things, tend to sap your energy that you need to invest in your goal attainment
Humor is another technique that helps with stress management. You will see that people who are jolly and humorous have a light perspective of perceiving their life events. When they get set backs, they do not take it too seriously and are better able to handle them with their lively attitude. They laugh and enjoy life and deal with their stressors more effectively because they do not magnify the negative aspects of the situation. It is good to create a humor file and put funny posters that make you laugh in the places you spend lot of time, like office, kitchen, den etc.
Humor also helps in dissolving your anger. Sometimes visualizing something very ridiculous can change your mind set and make you laugh. If you are angry with someone, you may want to visualize that the person’s moustache is growing big or nose is becoming bigger and bigger and suddenly your mind set will be of humor rather than anger.
Laughter is closely associated with relaxation. Perfectionist people who put too much demand on themselves, forget to laugh and always obsess on perfection in life events, which is really not realistic. Research has shown that laughter releases the chemicals that help improve your immune system, it decreases the blood pressure and also increases the white blood cells, thus promoting our general well being. Watching comedy shows, reading cartoons and just smiling more, can produce endorphins and trigger positive thoughts and feelings. Depressed and anxious people fail to laugh and this weakens their immune system, making them more vulnerable to catch viruses and getting sicker. Learning to laugh and smile lightens up the spirit and takes the load off your chest.
Being Connected to Nature
When you feel stressed out and anxious, sometimes it is a good idea to take a nature walk, be close to the park or wood. Watching the water fountain, and lake water can be very relaxing too. It tends to distract your mind from your current problems and reduce your stress. Taking vacation at a beach resort and doing nature walk where you can hear the birds chirping, garden full of flowers can take your breath away and release the tension from your mind and body.
Develop Hobbies and Healthy Pursuits
When I worked with depressed patients, I used to give them an activity schedule in which they would put the activities that they did every hour. The end result of engaging in these healthy activities like reading, gardening, fishing, singing, playing an instrument was that they had less time to engage in fruitless worry talk. You will see a significant reduction in the frequency and intensity of depressive symptoms when one is engaged in healthy and creative hobbies. When you are bored, you are more likely to obsess on your problems and think negative. With the indulgence in hobbies, your mind gets preoccupied with activities and you begin to enjoy the positive outcomes. These activities serve as distraction and they are very conducive to changing the mood as you feel enthusiastic and happy when you engage in these activities and hobbies.
Be Pragmatic and Altruistic
When Maslow, a famous psychologist, discussed the five levels of needs, he asserted that we also have a need for self actualization. Our great leaders like Abraham Lincoln, and Gandhi were self actualized leaders and they spent so much time and energy in making a contribution towards serving their country. They were self less leaders and they sacrificed so much to give to others. It is true that anxiety and depression are also byproduct of excessive self indulgence. When you do something for others, you derive a sense of pleasure and it tends to decrease your every day tension. You come across needy people, poor people and you begin to notice how grateful you are for things that you have. It is a good idea to spend some time helping others by doing volunteer work, charity and donation. It tends to enhance your spirituality and makes you productive, as well.
Having Faith in a Higher Power, Trust and Spirituality
When you are faced with a crisis situation, sometimes it is hard to cope with it alone. Don’t be in denial. You may need additional support to give you the strength and energy to cope with the stressor. These crises could be a life threatening disease, death or loss of a loved one, serious mental or physical illness, and serious drug or alcohol addiction. When faced with these situations, it is important to have some faith in your Higher Power. A willingness to let go and trust in a Higher Power, can facilitate your growth and add a new dimension to your coping skills. The more afraid you are, the more you may want to exercise control and struggle with your stressor. However, when you drop the problems at the feet of your Higher power, and take necessary steps to remedy your problems, you will have less anxiety and begin to have faith in the power and wisdom of your Higher Power.
Furthermore, it is also important to be humble and surrender your ego. It is good to understand the ultimate powerlessness in the face of a severe and unrelenting crisis. Once you put your faith in the Higher Power, you will experience a sense of relief and be able to tolerate uncertainty. Most of our anxiety stems from not knowing what is going to happen in the future. Once you cultivate a faith, you will be able to live in the moment and have faith in your Higher Power. Prayers and meditation help in developing the faith and shifting the perspective from negative to a positive outlook.
In this way we see, these healthy steps can have an enormous effect in your coping skills to manage stress, anxiety, fear, and challenges of life. Additionally, they can help us lead a worry free life when you can relax and not stress about life challenges. These skills tend to empower you and facilitate spiritual growth. Hypnosis also helps in making long term changes. Please visit www.cognitivehealing.com/hypnosis-services/ to learn how it can facilitate growth and freedom from worries and anxiety.
Hypnosis can also with alleviation of anxiety symptoms by giving positive suggestions to the subconscious mind which get embedded and ebgin to modify the person’s behavior.Please visit our Blossom Hypnotherapy page to learn how hypnosis can help reduce symptoms of Anxiety disorders.