Life tends to pull in several directions at once: how to complete a work project by tomorrow, what to cook for dinner, when to pick up your children up - all flowing through your mind at the same time. Your mind may become overloaded, your emotions might get the better of you, and you may react negatively or just plainly shut down. In moments like these, it is crucial to take a step back and examine what got you to this point.
So, how do you recognize your stress trigger points? How do you become aware of what overwhelms you, limits your productivity and affects your health whilst standing in the middle of it? Stop, stand still, and shift your attention towards your breath and the sensations in your body; then come back to the present. Creating a gap between thought and action helps you deal with the challenges of life.
To develop a sense of awareness of what you are feeling - and develop the skill to return to the present moment - you need to identify what provokes feelings of stress and anxiety in you, and then learn to prevent them from controlling your emotions, thoughts, and wellbeing. Here are three tips for you to identify your stress triggers and solutions to cope with the different situations that may arise in your everyday life:
#1 Don't Forget to Breath
Do you ever find that you are short of breath? Or perhaps you have had a conscious moment where you noticed that you were holding your breath without realizing? Have you ever noticed what happens to your breath in a stressful moment? Breathing itself can be a very informative tool to help you understand how you react to an unpleasant situation and can double as the tool that helps you overcome it.
Taking a moment to bring attention to your breath when dealing with a dilemma can allow you to make better and healthier decisions. So, the next time life provokes you, pause and notice your breathing. Take a few seconds/minutes to take a few deep breaths and give your mind a moment to rest. This will enable you to calmly handle the situation.
#2 Loosen Up a Little
Have you ever had tension in your neck, shoulders, or back after reading an email, leaving a meeting, or while dealing with a crisis at work or home? Your body sends you messages about your health. Tightness in your body can be an indicator of where you hold your emotions. Difficult situations can cause you to tighten your muscles, which then leads to soreness or pain.
Moving and stretching throughout the day can help to alleviate tension and strain throughout your muscles and joints from stress. It is important to remember to get up and move; take a moment to stretch or go for a walk! Remember to focus on your breath while you exercise!
#3 Think it Out
Does an overwhelmingly busy day make you feel anxious or develop a negative narrative leading you to convince yourself that it is impossible for you to prioritize your day and complete your tasks? Taking a moment to pause and be present when faced with this challenge. Being present enables you to change the narrative from one that is negative to one that is positive. Taking advantage of a 'time out' gives you the opportunity to ask yourself "how can I deal with the task at hand in the best possible manner?"
Remember, once you have paused, it is beneficial to use the tools mentioned above to clear your mind and body before continuing with your responsibilities. Once you are aware of your habits, you can develop a practice to cope with the challenges of life. Incorporating accessible and straightforward tools such as breathing, physical activity, and mental awareness in your everyday routine can have a significant impact on your overall wellbeing.
For more information on learning resiliency and developing the tools to alleviate stress, join Karina and Tom Johnston in their upcoming course How to Thrive in the Corporate Jungle, taking place on January 25, 2018.
About the Author
KARINA MULLER, founder/CEO of Maripossa Wellness, has over 18 years experience within the Sports Industry and Health and Wellness Industry. Karina is a Certified Corporate Wellness Specialist, a certified RYT-500 Urban Zen Integrative Therapist, a certified Vinyasa Yoga teacher, certified in Body Tuning (alternative physical therapy techniques) a Reiki level II practitioner as well as a Stress Management provider for the Dr. Ornish Reversal of Heart Disease program.
Karina has utilized all of these techniques working with adult patients as well as children, at Beth Israel Hospital, St Damien's hospital in Haiti and Dr Tazt's physical therapy office in Manhattan. Karina specializes in leading "wellness breaks" with attendees of corporate conferences throughout the US.
In addition to continuing to educate people through Maripossa Wellness corporate wellness programs and Training programs, Karina's goal is to make this work accessible to everyone, improve workplace wellness and create a healthier workforce.