It doesn't matter if you're a firefighter, a farmer, a clerk or a kindergarten teacher, these days everyone complains about stress. As much as we all live with stress, many of us do not understand the basics about stress and its role in our lives.
Here are a few myths about stress that you really need to know about...
Myth 1: Stress comes from the outer world.
We usually blame stress on outer situations and circumstances including the tyrant boss, crushing traffic and kids that don't listen. But most stress comes from within. Worry over things we have no control over, trouble shooting the future and feeling the need to always be perfect are examples of inner stress. Dealing with stress can be simply recognizing the sources of stress (your thoughts) and then asking a few question.” Is this thought serving me? How would I feel if I didn’t have this thought? One of the easiest ways I’ve found to shift out of overwhelm is to focus on what I am thankful for. As you get your kids ready for daycare, appreciate their health, their smiles and the time you have with them becomes precious instead of hurried. When you’re at work, love what you are doing in the moment, appreciating the fact that you are serving life and earning money. When you clean the house, appreciate the abundance that surrounds you and the time you have to take care of it. Realize there is no future there is only the now.
Myth 2: Being “stressed out” makes you more important.
Usually when people ask us what we’ve been up to we automatically answer,” I’ve been so busy...so very busy.” Some people believe that being vital to their community or workplace means to be busy. But stress does not make your life more significant. What point is there running from one activity to the next? Do we really want the world to dictate how busy we should be? Multi tasking and taking on too much actually leaves you less productive. In the long run, stressed out people are sick more often, less creative, less efficient and more distracted, making it difficult to make good decisions.
Myth 3: Stress is cured by focusing on the problem.
The more you focus and micro-manage every tiny problem, the more you exacerbate it.
Focus on what brings you more joy, more peace and calm. Of course make simple changes where you can to make life easier. Leave a few minutes earlier to avoid traffic, check your emails less frequently or wake up a few minutes before your kids to collect yourself before your day begins. Incorporating simple breathing exercises only take a few minutes and also help to reduce anxiety, improve your memory skills, increase effectiveness and create a greater sense of calm throughout your day. As you tune into the breath you’ll begin to notice your body gives “early warning symptoms” of stress. As chaos shows up you may notice tension in the neck, an upset stomach or tight shoulders. This is the moment where a few simple breathing exercises can ward off the stress before it turns into illness.
Try this when the tension or overwhelm show up...
1. Put yourself in a comfortable position, and place your hands on your abdomen.
2. Inhale slowly and deeply, you will feel your abdomen expand like a balloon.
3. Feel the navel move back towards the spine as you release old, stale air by exhaling slowly
4. While inhaling, imagine that you are breathing into a tense or painful part of your body.
5. With each exhale; imagine tension streaming from your nostrils.
4. Begin to count your breath allowing your breath to be an equal count:
Example: Inhale-one, two, three, four; Exhale-one, two, three, four...Continue counting equal breath until you feel calm and relaxed.
Breathing exercises are an ideal way to relieve stress in that they’re fast, simple, free, and can be performed by just about anyone. They can also be done anywhere and at virtually any time. This makes stress relief breathing exercises one of the most effective ways to create more vitality, calm and ease throughout your day!