Introduction to Stress Management Tools

Stress is felt when we perceive that we do not have the resources to deal with a particular situation. This includes not having sufficient money, time, energy, or capability.

By utilising a number of stress management tools and techniques, we effectively take back control of the situation and "fool" our brains into believing that we are in total control.

Smile - sure its fake, but it work. Smiling releases the stress in the facial muscles and it does amazing things to the physiological triggers. Go for a walk and smile at those you pass. It makes you feel good and those you smile at.

Interrupts - sometimes we need to remove ourself either mentally or physically from the stressful environment and do something totally different. When i recently had a situation beyond my control that diverted my ability to focus on my work, I took the day off and spent it on all those extra household chores that I don't normally get time to do. I changed my phone plan, arranged for an appliance repair, water blasted my driveway, cleaned and polished my car and tidied my garage. At the end of the day I was so pleased to have all those tasks done, my body had a good physical workout and although the situation still remained I had diverted my physiological responses to prevent all those stress hormones playing havoc.

Anti-Stress Nutritional Supplements - I cannot over emphasise what an impact boosting your Vitamin C, Vitamin B , L-Tyrosine and Magnesium can do to quieten those frazzled nerve endings.

Music - they say music is great for the soul. It really is mood altering. Just avoid those love ballads if your stress is a relationship breakup!

Contact Others - write down the names of three people you haven't spoken to in a while. Phone them or arrange to meet and avoid discussing the stressful situation. Plan your conversation topics before you arrive to help with this. Offer to help someone else with a task. Focus on them instead of yourself and feel the satisfaction of giving in the process. Remember to smile! Even on the phone, smiling changes the tone of your voice.

Exercise & Massage - both help to relax body tension. I generally avoid sports such as golf or tennis on these days. The explosive muscle response required, when your body is tense, can lead to injury. And your golf swing really is not good when you are stressed. Yoga, running, pilates, a work out at the gym are all good body diversions. I love putting on some good music and just dancing. Sounds crazy - but really, I just don't care about that at the time, I just want to feel good.

Meditation - this art is worth learning BEFORE you get a stress situation.

Simple "How to Stop Worrying and Start Living Exercise"

[Adapted from Napoleon Hills book]. I have found this book to be one of the most powerful things I have ever read. The core tools I extracted, which proved invaluable were:

  1. Live in Daytight Compartments - take one day at a time. Don't think about tomorrow, just set todays goals and strive to reach them.
  2. Do the 3 step analysis on all problems. Write down the answers to:
    • What is the worst possible outcome
    • Accept that outcome mentally
    • Write an action plan to resolve the problem.
  3. Get the Facts, Analyse them, Make a Decision then Act Upon it. Use the 6 honest men to analyse problems: What, Why, When, How, Where and Who
  5. Write out your worry and file it for two weeks – then check to see if its still there, if it is, file it again.

To conclude, I want to share a wonderful gift given me by a special friend. I was going through a difficult time in my life, and my friend gave me three sealed envelopes with instructions to open them only when I was in complete despair. I imagined that they included some joke or funny story to help interrupt my thinking pattern. I did go through those moments and each time, I resisted opening an envelope. I asked myself, do I want to use up one of my special gifts now, or is my current situation not really that bad. The real gift turned out to be knowing that whatever my life felt like at the moment, there were people out there who cared about me enough to go to the effort to put these special gifts together. Thank You Richard. Your gift lives on!

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