April is Stress Awareness month. Awareness of your stress is the first step to make the changes needed to reduce it both in the short-term and the long-term.
Symptoms of stress
There are many stress relieving methods available to help you “manage” your stress, most of which provide only short-term relief. If your stress problem is chronic, and causing difficulties in your physical and mental health, and difficulties in your relationships, job, personal interactions, and life in general, then identifying and eliminating the root cause of stress would be a long-term solution. Below are some symptoms of stress of which you can become aware.
Effects on your body:
- Muscle tension or pain
- Chest pain
- Change in sex drive
- Stomach upset
- Sleep Problems
Effects on your mood:
- Lack of motivation or focus
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Irritability or anger
- Sadness or depression
Effects on your behavior:
- Overeating or undereating
- Angry outbursts
- Drug or alcohol use
- Tobacco use
- Social Withdrawal
- Exercising less often
Keep track of your symptoms
To have more stress awareness, you may want to begin to keep track of your symptoms in an easy to use anytime method. Use a small notebook that will fit in a pocket or purse, the memo app on your phone, or other device of your choosing. Plan on doing this daily for at least a month to become familiar with how you are reacting to a variety of different situations in your personal and professional life.
The information you collect can be as simple as listing the day, the time, your symptom and what is going on in your life that could be triggering the stress.
Doing this simple activity will force you to stop for just a moment to step outside of what you are involved in and view yourself.
- If I were someone else looking at me, how would they perceive me?
- Do I like what I am seeing?
- Do I like how I am feeling?
- What consequences am I or is someone else paying for my behavior right now?
You may create any questions you desire that will help you dissect the effect stress has on you.
Identify and correct
Once you have this information you can begin to identify patterns of what is triggering you. With this knowledge, you can begin to make changes in your life to relieve the symptoms. A combination of short-term and long-term solutions will help.
Short-term stress relief
One of the simplest short-term stress relievers is breathing. Below is how to do the 4-4-4 Breath
- First, stop what you are doing and sit up straight or lie down.
- Next, breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds.
- Hold your inhale at the top for 4 seconds.
- Then, exhale through your mouth for 4 seconds.
Do this breathing exercise four times. It will distract your mind and help to calm you, allowing the flow of thoughts that can help you in the current situation.
Long-term stress relief
Long-term stress relief will require a deeper dive. Stress reactions are based in the subconscious mind which is trying to keep you safe. When you encounter a current situation that your subconscious mind recognizes as similar to a perceived trauma in the past, you will be triggered and react the same way you did to the original experience. This becomes a long-standing pattern of behavior. To break these patterns of behavior, it is essential to identify the life experiences that are driving it.
EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) also known as Tapping is a top stress reduction technique that is long-lasting and used worldwide. EFT_Tapping helps identify the experiences in life that are the origins of stress and aids in neutralizing the emotional connections to them. Once this is accomplished, the things that used to trigger stress no longer do.
If you would like to learn more about how to have more stress awareness and drastically reduce your stress long-term and not just “manage” it, please contact me, Christine Hunt, Life Wellness Coach and Certified EFT Coach, for a free, no obligation consultation at www.HuntForHopeWellness.com/contact.
I would love to help you create a life you love.
Life Wellness Coach
“Helping you get over it so you can get on with it.”
- Stress symptoms: Effects on your body and behavior – Mayo Clinic
- The 4-4-4 Breath Meditation – Michelle GB