What, for you, are the most obvious signs of stress?
A little stress is healthy but when you’re experiencing it for longer lengths of time, it can become a problem. Some of your most obvious signs of stress might be easy to pinpoint yet signs of stress can reveal themselves in more complex ways.
There are 4 categories containing a range of stress signs, which can reveal themselves in more subtle ways than you might at first think:
It’s particularly worth watching out for some of the mental, emotional and behavioural signs.
You might take it for granted that some of these signs are part of your personality. You might tell yourself, ‘I’m a worrier’, ‘I overthink all the time.’
If you give yourself the chance to sit and explore some of these signs, they might reveal that they’re connected to stressful thoughts or circumstances and they’re a habit.
Harness your Body’s Amazing Systems
Don’t be so Hard on Yourself
Your body wants you to be well. Its signals to you are messages that stress is becoming too much and the body is struggling. Listen to your own body and bring a greater awareness to the signs. You can learn to trust yourself and your own wisdom, by sitting still and listening in to your thoughts, feelings and physical experiences.
And as humans we are designed to be compassionate, so be sure to bring this same self-compassion to yourself.
So rather than being hard on yourself, with negative language and thoughts, imagine you’re sitting with a good friend. Your natural capacity to be kind and thoughtful towards them if they are going through difficulties, can also be extended towards yourself.
Your body naturally knows how to do this, with tenderness, warmth and kindness.
Meditation is one of the rare occasions when we’re not doing anything. Otherwise, we’re always doing something, we’re always thinking something, we’re always occupied. We get lost in millions of obsessions and fixations. But by meditating—by not doing anything – all these fixations are revealed and our obsessions will naturally undo themselves like a snake uncoiling itself.
Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche
A Matter of Life and Death
Your body’s inbuilt defence system is commonly known as the Fight/Flight/Freeze reaction. If a ferociously barking dog came running towards you, your body might respond by running away as fast as it can.
That would be a moment of stress where your body reacts to save your life. The adrenaline and cortisol that floods your body is a temporary measure to let you escape the danger. Your increased heart-beat ensures you can pump more oxygen round your body and your muscles tense up to allow you to run.
A range of other shifts in your body occur, all in order to support you in essentially reacting to a life or death situation.
But for many of us, day to day existence consists of a constant stream of perceived stress. This might be your own negative self-talk, or a job where demands on you are almost impossible to complete. It could be that you’re experiencing bullying, loneliness or fear.
A whole spectrum of experiences make up our lives, yet we forget to harness the body’s own ability to adjust our responses to these experiences.
Instead of getting caught up in the drama of stress, observe a few slow, mindful breaths. This engages the brain to reduce the stress response and let relaxation ripple across the body.
Are you able to do your best work or be your best self when you are happy and relaxed or tense and stressed? Of course, we know the answer! We can learn new information better, focus more keenly, be more creative and do a better job when we are happy and relaxed.
Although some people say they thrive on the adrenaline rush, it’s not sustainable forever. Your body will tell you so eventually! Allow yourself moments throughout the day to relax your body. This will keep you in a greater frame of mind and physically benefit you enormously.
Simple Stress Busters
So it’s essential to balance wellbeing and stress. Stress isn’t just the physical reaction, but the emotional and behavioural repercussions.
Let yourself be gentle in making effective changes. Rather than launch into new and sudden changes, try tiny, supportive ones. This might include placing reminders to yourself around home and work.
Stress Busters are tiny supportive changes:
- a few deep breaths each morning when you first get up
- a 10 minute walk in the open air at lunchtime
- a calming cuppa mid-afternoon
- on arriving home after work, let yourself experience a moment to sit in your car quietly before you go into the house
- a gratitude practice of writing down your thanks to guide yourself away from negativity
Seeking a Helping Hand
I work with people to help them manage stress and become more resilient to life’s challenges. There is always a great response to the range of simple yet effective actions I teach.
Many students point out that once they’ve learnt how to manage their stress in this way they realise how much stress they were unconsciously carrying.
If you live in the East Hampshire area, you might like to read a bit further about what a course might include and how you could work one-to-one with me. Our Weekly Meditation sessions are also a great way to experience how relaxed and inspired you can feel when you set time aside for yourself.
Don’t let stress get you down! Learn to be resilient and navigate life’s challenges!
Yvette Jane – Mindfulness & Meditation Coach
Learn to manage stress and be your best self with Place of Serenity
I found a few interesting links that you might like to follow: Increased heart-beat (called Tachycardia) has a range of reasons, but one of them is emotional stress. This little link gives some basic information.
Dealing with the overwhelm of emails every day is one of the current stress-triggers for many people. If this is you, here are a few links here about how an excess of emails in the workplace are clouding the issue of work.
- ‘Email epidemic’ is damaging UK productivity, says expert
- Why you shouldn’t let your smartphone be the boss of you