What Is Stress?   It is a physiological response that is connected to an external event.   There has to be a stressor, for stress to begin. It is usually something like a deadline at work you must meet, or an exam you are sitting, too much to do or maybe it could be your in-laws are coming to stay. The word ‘stress’ is described as hardship, adversity, force or pressure. When our body is faced with this, whether it is from internal or external sources, a vital response process kicks in. This is referred to as the fight-or-flight-response. Going back in time- many, many years ago, the likeliest threat a human being would encounter to spark this response would be the fear that a wild animal was about to attack them, someone was screaming at them, or weeks without food. It made sense back then, that you’d need the strength to fight back or to run away fast. When our body is in fight or flight mode, adrenaline and cortisol is released. The heart rate goes up and blood gets pumped to our limbs and away from our digestive and reproductive system. Your pupils dilate to help you see and the mind becomes hyper-vigilant. The blood sugar levels go up as well. In a healthy stress response, the cortisol level rises and falls quickly – as soon as the presumed threat is out of the way.   Remember: Stress is a biological response that is a normal part of our lives. Chronic stress, is when your body stays in this fight-or-flight mode continuously (usually because the situation isn’t resolved, as with financial stressors or a challenging boss and work situation.) Chronic stress is linked to health concerns such as digestive issues, an increased risk of heart disease and a weakening of the immune system.  
  1. Limit Caffeine, Alcohol and Nicotine:
If possible, cut out caffeine, alcohol and nicotine but at least limit the amount you have. Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants and will increase your level of stress. Alcohol is a depressant when taken in large quantities, but acts as a stimulant in smaller amounts. These are often seen as being helpful to reduce stress but in fact have the opposite effect….and add to your stress level.  
  1. Physical Activity:
Exercise helps reduce the level of stress you maybe feeling. Even a brisk walk out in the fresh air can restore your body and mind to a calmer, more relaxed state. Make  allowing some time for exercise a priority into your daily routine as it is a great remedy for the stressors we face in the modern age.  
  1. Get More Sleep:
A lack of sleep is a significant cause of stress. Unfortunately, stress also interrupts sleep as thoughts keep going through our heads, stopping us from relaxing enough to fall asleep. So, stop doing any mentally challenging, demanding work several hours before going to bed, allowing yourself time to calm down. Do something to relax like maybe a warm bath, reading a book that tires your eyes. Also, a cup of chamomile tea or a hot milk drink might help.  
  1. Relaxation Techniques:
Each day try to relax with a stress reduction technique. Self-hypnosis is very easy and can be done anywhere. One very simple technique can be to focus on a  word or phrase that has a positive meaning to you. Words such as ‘calm’ ‘love’ ‘peace’ can work well or a mantra such as “I deserve calm in my life.” If you find your mind wandering to other thoughts, simply let them go and return your focus onto your chosen words. Sitting calmly and relaxed. Meditation done daily is life changing, taking this time to clear your mind of all thoughts…. It improves your mental and physical health and wellbeing. Don’t worry if you find it hard to relax at first. Relaxation is a skill that needs to be learnt and like everything improves with practice.  
  1. Talk To Someone:
Just simply talking to someone can be very helpful. Stress can cloud your judgement and stop you from seeing things clearly but when you voice what you are feeling into words, you can either see the answer yourself or the person you are talking to might come up with a solution. Maybe you might need to talk to a trained professional to put your problems into perspective. You can release some of the built-up tension by discussing it with someone.  
  1. Keep A Diary:
Keeping a diary and writing down your thoughts and how you are feeling each day can be a very effective stress management tool, as it helps you become more aware of the situations, which cause you to become stressed. Use your diary to understand and identify what triggers a stress response in you and how it is that you react. You can see how effective you are in stressful situations. This can enable you to seek the help that you might need or to develop better coping mechanisms yourself.  
  1. Manage Your Time:
Make a list of all the things you need to do and list them in order of genuine priority. Then ask yourself….do you really need to do this job or can you delegate it to someone else? Accept that you cannot do everything at once and that it is not necessary that you do everything yourself. Lack of time is one of the No.1 things listed as causing stress to people. Every single person has the same amount of time, so, the issue is not a lack of time but a lack of being organized. To manage your time and to get more done in a day you need to set a workable plan of your prioritises for your day and stick to it.  
  1. Learn To Say ‘No:’
Learning to say ‘No’ is vital. Saying ‘Yes’ to the things you don’t want to do also causes a lot of stress. As a common cause of stress is having too much to do and too little time to do it, it makes sense to get comfortable about saying ‘No.’ To make it easier to say ‘No’ you need to understand why you find it so difficult. It can be you want to be kind; you don’t want to upset anyone. Or maybe you have a fear of conflict, rejection or not being liked. When you identify the reason, you can then help yourself with the root cause of why it is hard for you to say “No.’ Perhaps it would help to have some prepared phrases ready that you can use that would make it easier for you. Learning to say ‘No’ is saying ‘Yes’ to yourself and showing yourself some love and giving yourself more freedom!  
  1. Take Control:
Stress can be triggered by a problem that you see as unsolvable. Learning how to problem solve effectively can put you in control. Again, writing the issue down is a good way to begin and then come up with as many possible solutions as you can. Then go through each one and ask some questions? …Would that work? Would that be the answer? Why wouldn’t it? How can you do this? What do you need?  When you are satisfied that you have the right answer, put a plan in place detailing each action step needed and the date it will be completed by….then you can have the control of the situation.  
  1. Take Care Of You:
Take the time to rest, just to chill and do nothing. Have some pamper time…go for a massage, or to the hair salon, barbers, a walk beside the sea, out to a restaurant for a meal– do whatever is a treat for you. A short spell of rest & rewards can do wonders for your body & mind!   Karen Sydnè Coaching & Co.               High Performance Success Coach                        Professional Hypnotherapist/NLP               Certified Virtual Gastric Band Practitioner               E:karensydnecoaching@gmail.com P:+64 275143212               W:www.karensydne.com
Karen Sydne

Author Karen Sydne

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High Performance Coach
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