Manage stress...from A to Z!
Know stress? Relax - You're in the zone now!
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Stress relief, where are you?
I'm on a daily treasure hunt for techniques to manage stress and achieve peace of mind. I'm all too familiar with stress and its friend, anxiety, and I don't like either one of them! If you're anything like I am, you've spent a lot of time despising those dreaded "stressed out" feelings. You know the ones: Swimming thoughts that can do laps around any Olympian, the butterfly collection in your stomach, tidal waves of heart palpitations, Niagara Sweat Falls, etc. The list goes on and on...
I've also spent a lot of time trying to make these feelings go away. I've done a lot of wishing and hoping to no longer be stressed and to be self-assured and at ease with whatever comes my way. Oh, to be as cool as a cucumber! Thus far, no one has figured out how to make stress vanish.
So, let's stop wasting any more time on trying to banish stress. Let's manage stress. Unless you live in a bubble somewhere - and even bubbles burst - there will always be stress. Instead, decide to take on a new approach to stress. Rather than trying to make stress go away, try to understand it - kind of like keeping your friends close and your enemies closer.
Okay, maybe "enemy" is too strong a word to describe stress. Maybe "frienemy" is more accurate. At any rate, dealing with stress is like hitting a patch of ice on the road. Your knee-jerk reaction may be to swerve to avoid the ice only to spin out of control. A better approach is to take your foot off the gas pedal. Take your foot off the brake, too. Face the ice with fortitude and glide over it.
I'm lazy so I stopped setting the bar so high
I admit I'm a pretty lazy person. I enjoy vegging in front of the TV. I really love lounging around on a lazy Sunday. Knowing that I have to put in effort to get what I really want seems daunting, at times. I think most people can relate to this. Many people fail to achieve their goals, whether it be a weight loss goal or a work goal, because they set the bar too high. But, aren't we taught from childhood to set the bar high for ourselves? Yes, we are. But, setting the bar too high often results in quitting or not even getting started in the first place on achieving our goals. So many of us have the misconception that working on goals needs to be an all or nothing process.
Take dieting for example. Monday comes along, and you're gung ho about your resolution to eat healthy foods. Three o'clock rolls around and someone brings in doughnuts to get through the afternoon slump. You decide to eat a doughnut and think, "Oh, screw it! Might as well have another one. I'll start my diet tomorrow." Tomorrow arrives with a similar experience and you think, "Well, I'll wait until next week to start." But there's a birthday party coming up or a holiday. The point is there will always be some occasion on the horizon that merits eating a doughnut.
Unfortunately, we tend to think that we have to either be 100% healthy or 100% unhealthy. We think we should either eat only healthy foods or only unhealthy foods. This same thinking creeps in with so many things we do in life. We either exercise for 30 minutes a day or not at all. We either clean the whole house or not at all. We either complete all our errands or none at all. You get the point. It's this "all or nothing" thinking that tends to lead people down the path of procrastination and failure.
I've fallen into this "all or nothing" thinking many times. I call it the "Perfection Myth." We believe that we have to complete things in a "perfect" way or not at all. I've had many gym memberships that have gone to waste because of the perfection myth. Just think of the all the home gym equipment collecting dust right now - or, better yet, being used to hang clothes on. Why does this happen? People are usually excited when they first get their new gym equipment. "This is going to be the beginning of a new healthy lifestyle." A couple of weeks into the new treadmill routine, and reality starts to set in. "I don't have time to exercise today. I'll do it tomorrow." But, you know how the story goes. Tomorrow never comes. Before you know it, that piece of gym equipment is looking like the vestige of a sunken ship sprouting barnacles.
Can the perfection myth be tamed? I think so. As I've mentioned, I'm lazy. This is what works for me. I've given up on setting the bar so high for myself. So, I've decided to set the bar low. - so low that I'm successful. To give you some examples, if someone were to tell me I needed to exercise 30 minutes today, my knee-jerk reaction would be, "I don't have 30 minutes to spare." But, if someone were to tell me I needed to exercise for one minute today, I'd think, "Okay, I can do one minute of exercise."
The brain is very adept at picking up on patterns and creating "apps" to help automate our thoughts and actions. By exercising for one minute each day, the brain has the amazing ability to pick up on this new habit and find other one-minute occasions for exercise. You can think of lowering the bar in this way as setting up mini goals for yourself. Mini goals are easily achieved and lend themselves to being done with more consistency than big goals. Exercising for only one minute will not train my body for a marathon, but that's not what I'm looking for. In my case, one minute of exercise is better than no minutes of exercise.
I set mini goals for myself all the time, not just to manage stress, but to manage almost everything. Another example is cleaning the house. Just thinking about cleaning the house makes me tired. It's something I would put off all the time until the house reached critical mass and really needed attention. So, what I do now is clean the house in parts. I don't have time to clean the entire house today, but I can manage to clean the powder room. Tomorrow, I have time to clean some mirrors. The next day, I may do a little dusting.
Setting up mini goals can really protect you from really stressful situations resulting from procrastination. Think about all the poor souls who put off getting their tax info together until the eleventh hour. No one likes to think about getting tax stuff together. Again, it's mostly because we think we have to either get it all done today or not at all. Guess what happens? Most people go for the "not at all" option but end up doing it all when the pressure's really on. There is another option available, a very simple one. Get some tax info together - not all the required info, but some. I find that setting time limits is extremely helpful. I don't want to work on taxes for hours on end, but I'm willing to give 15 minutes. Setting mini goals with time limits is a surefire way to beat procrastination.
Why am I saying all of this? Because lowering the bar and setting mini goals is a great approach to manage stress. People tend to believe they have to resolve all stressful issues in their lives in order to be happy. I tended to feel this way about my own shyness. I felt for so long that people are either outgoing or they're not. I knew I definitely was not outgoing. I often wondered what it would be like to feel self-confident and speak my own mind without caring. Somehow I believed the notion that self-confidence had to mean self-confidence to the extreme. A self-confident person should feel confident no matter what the situation. That's why I resigned myself to being shy for so long. I had the perfection myth deeply instilled in my brain.
Over time, though, something wonderful happened. I started to give little public speeches on the topic of stress. When I first started doing this, I never gave much thought to how this was helping me. I would give my little talks and really enjoyed them. I got better and better at presenting classes to small groups, and my confidence grew exponentially. It dawned on me one day that I was accomplishing a lot through this mini step. I realized for me this was all I needed. To be confident didn't require me to deliver speeches to crowds of thousands. I wasn't doomed to being shy. I could let my voice be heard. I'm no Tony Robins. But, I realize now that I don't have to be anyone else but myself to be my best. I can optimize who I am and my unique assets.
So can you...
What I know is life goes up and down. Sometimes, we have a collection of little stressors that gnaw at us. At other times, we have major crises that bring us down. Then we have the periods of tranquility, during which some of us may actually worry about what's going to stress us out next! At any rate, we will always know stress in one form or another. It's better to do something to manage stress than to give up.
What kind of tools will you find to manage stress here?
Know-Stress-Zone.com offers a comprehensive guide to help you manage stress. You'll discover many techniques for harnessing the power of your thoughts so you can gain control. Not all stress benefits from a "calm down" approach. Relaxation techniques can be beneficial, but sometimes your stress might require more of an "energy releasing" or active approach. At other moments, we need a really good laugh to diffuse stress.
Not every technique works for everyone and every "body" to manage stress. The work involved in stress management comes in figuring out what helps YOU the most. Whatever works, works. The good news is that this really is a go-to site for finding the right fit for you. There are so many strategies to help manage stress here that you're bound to find the sweet spot.
Here you'll find a curation of the best of the best techniques, insights and products to help you manage stress. You'll learn effective strategies to manage stress such as diaphragmatic breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, visualization, mindfulness, humor, exercise, healthy eating, aromatherapy, autogenic training, and hypnotherapy - just to name a few! You'll find easy access to all the stress relief products I have found to be great complements to the techniques I use to manage stress.
I like easy and quick methods to manage stress, so that's what you'll find here. As with anything else in life, habits get easier with practice. You can retrain your brain. You can do this!
Please join me at Know-Stress-Zone.com as we explore different ways of breaking down stress and really managing it so it doesn't break you down! Manage stress once and for all! As a person who knows stress, I'm always searching for new ways to deal with it, not just put up with it. Please visit often as I frequently add new information as I get hold of it. Let's manage stress today and take back control.
The development of this website has been a labor of love, with the intention of helping anyone struggling with stress and its related issues. I am excited to help as many people as I can in search of stress relief and look forward to being a small part of your journey.
Get Started! Manage Stress
Take some time exploring the different tabs on this page. Pick one topic on how to manage stress and delve into it. Try out a relaxation technique or read more about what stress really is. Take a mini step today to manage stress, and you'll start to feel better just knowing you're helping yourself.
Thank you for taking the time to read this page all the way through! I know I can be long-winded, at times. The fact that you've read all this speaks volumes to your commitment to change the way you manage stress.
Don’t forget to sign up for your Free Stress Management Course and ezine, Know Stress Press!
Stay in the (k)now,
Melissa Stefanski, BS, MA, CH