Want to spend more time this year smelling the flowers? Did you spend some of the past year feeling slightly out of control? Would you want this year to be the one where you are in control, rather than something or someone else? It is possible...read on for some simple, yet effective ideas to keeping calm and free from stress - focus and start implementing them right now.
5 Smart Ways to Remain Free From Stress and Keep Calm During 2015
At the end of last year, in the week before Christmas, a person rang to see if I could see them within the next couple of days. They realised it was short notice but would be very grateful if I could squeeze them in. The word 'stress' was mentioned....
When I met with the client it was very apparent that the year's stress had accumulated as the months rolled by and was now presenting as a major health issue... not sleeping, binge eating, a feeling of anxiety, and generally feeling 'wired'.
So what can we do to remain calm and reduce the build up of stress? There are lots of ways to control stress. I thought maybe if we focused on just one of the aspects today we could start shifting some of the triggers that cause our system to 'stress'.
The key to keeping calm is to SLOW DOWN! To do things more SLOWLY!
Here are 5 smart ways to slow down so we can remain more calm during 2015:
1. Think more slowly
Our minds are programmed to handle huge amounts of data and information. Most of the action happens unconsciously so we don't even realise the full extent of what our brain is interpreting. Become aware of what you are attending to...and remember the conscious mind can only pay attention to no more than 5-9 things at any one time. So focus your attention on one thing at a time. If you're doing a task, give it your full attention. If your mind wanders to something you must do tomorrow for example, bring your attention back to the present. Lists may be useful for some.
2. Engage more slowly
When involved in a conversation with someone give them your full attention. Focus on what they are saying, listen to the words they use, try to understand the meaning behind the message spoken, ask great questions to show you're fully engaged. The same rules apply whether it's your boss, employee, partner, child, or the person serving you at the supermarket....when you do this your interactions will have more meaning and your brain will feel more relaxed.
3. Eat more slowly
How often do we gulp down our food? Are you eating on the run or standing up at the bench grabbing a quick bite? Are you starting your meal only to leave it half finished because your attention is needed elsewhere? Food was meant to be chewed and savoured, to be smelt and looked forward to...the teeth do all the chewing, saliva provides the enzymes to start breaking down the food and these two processes alert the stomach to produce the acid needed for the digestive system to work efficiently. If food is 'inhaled' it's a signal to the brain that there's stress ahead.
4. Breathe more slowly
If we want to be calm and relaxed our breathing needs to be carried out more purposefully. Quick rapid breathing, which is shallow and higher in the chest, alerts the brain that there's some kind of danger ahead, real or imagined. So it's good practice to do some deep breathing whenever you have a spare moment, to keep you in a calm state. Breathe in to the count of seven and out to the count of eleven - this will start to negate the state of stress.
5. Get ready for bed more slowly
After a busy day, often bedtime comes along and you're exhausted! Worn out from too much to do and not enough time to do it in! And so you finish up everything that needs to be done, remembering all those last minute things too, and crawl into bed expecting to fall right to sleep. Sometimes you might go to sleep the moment your head hits the pillow, only to wake up at 2am with your brain totally 'wired' and you can't turn it off, or you get into bed and struggle to turn the brain off as you go over all the stuff you did do, didn't do and more! The brain needs to be turned off slowly for restful sleep to take place. Go about things more calmly, turn of the computer/smartphone an hour before bed, read a book or a magazine, relax for 20 minutes to signal that you're preparing for sleep.
If keeping calm is on your 'to do' list for 2015 then you need to re-programme your mind and body to reassure the nervous system that all is well. If you found this article useful then please feel free to share.
If this is something you need help with, then please contact me
firstname.lastname@example.org or go to my website
www.outcomesunlimited.co.nz for more information.