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Let Go of Stress

Let Go of Stress

I want to share with you some easy tips that I have offered to my clients who come to me for counseling in Asheville, NC.

Your body is brilliant. When faced with a threat it prepares you to fight or run away. This process is called the “fight or flight” response. Our emotional reactions to situations trigger the fight or flight response so that in many individuals it is set off several times a day. Often, each response often lasts much longer than your body can easily handle. This creates wear and tear on the body. According to research conducted by the Mayo Clinic, the end result is that your body is more susceptible to health ailments such as infections, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, depression, insomnia, and memory impairment.

How to Calm Stress
Breathe. Breathing can slow down your thoughts and give you more clarity. It also helps you to be more focused in the present moment, instead of ruminating about the past or worrying about the future.

Make-up a reason that feels good. For example, if your boss is grumpy, instead of worrying about why your boss is grumpy and thinking, “What if she is grumpy because I did something wrong?” Make up a reason that feels better, such as, “Maybe she didn’t sleep well last night.” This is a much more palatable thought and less stress provoking.

 
Learn to say no. Doing something for someone when you don’t want to, because you believe you will feel guilty if you say “no” to them, is not a healthy foundation from which to offer assistance. Instead, saying “no” when you don’t want to do something or don’t have the time to do it can be an empowering experience. The result is that you reduce your stress and build your self-respect. 

 
Ask for help when you need it. Asking for and accepting help is not a sign of weakness. Instead, getting help with a task often completes it more quickly and easily. Also, talking to a qualified therapist can be valuable for gaining a different perspective on a situation in your life, and finding solutions for increasing your well-being.

 
Acceptance. Accepting “what is” helps to reduce stress, whether that is accepting how you are feeling, the fact that it is a rainy day, or that your computer isn’t working. If you let go of needing the current, perceived problem to be some way other than it is, and you accept the fact that in the moment you can’t change it, at least not instantly, you will feel calmer. Moreover, and the answers to solutions often come more easily when you give up struggling.

 
Take quiet time for yourself. Sitting quietly and breathing, taking a quiet walk, writing in your journal, and listening to your thoughts and feelings are important. When you are too busy to notice how you are feeling inside, that is an easy way to create stress. By listening to your feelings and paying attention to them, you will be less likely to act out impulsively from them. Being more aware of what is going on inside reduces reactivity and enhances conscious choices about your thoughts and behaviors.
Deborah Barnett, Ph.D.
Positive Psychology in Asheville, NC
Phone Coaching for Personal Growth and Relationship Success
www.DeborahBarnett.com

In my private practice counseling clients in Asheville, NC, daily, my clients are coming in and telling me about how difficult things are these days. This is a time of economic hardship for many. Many people are worried about their jobs or desperate because they don’t know how they are going to put food on the table for their family.

Flowers3It is so easy to look at the situations in our lives and feel, “This is the way things are and therefore they are going to continue to be this way for a long time. . .” When this thought goes through your head it is easy to feel that the “bad stuff” in your life, whether that be poor health, the economy, being unemployed, etc.” is out of your control. This can easily lead to a feeling of helplessness.

Control is such an interesting concept. The truth is that there are many things that we are unable to control. We can’t control the weather, what our boss or friend thinks of us, we can’t control the traffic on the road. What we can control is our attitude toward what does happen to us and our expectation we have toward future events in our lives.

Our expectation that we have of future events in our lives is like a story that we tell ourselves that is optimistic or pessimistic. So what story are you telling yourself? Are you telling yourself, “Things are really bad in my life and there is no sign of them getting better anytime soon.”? Or, are you telling yourself, “I am going through a really rough time right now. I don’t like it, but I am going to be okay. I anticipate that things are going to turn around for me soon. I am going to start appreciating what is working in my life and I am going to look for evidence of my life improving!”? Your attitude makes a huge difference. The field of Positive Psychology has conducted research on the benefit of having a positive attitude and of having optimism and hope. Dr. Hilary Tindle, in her research found that optimism is related to increases in health and longevity. Optimism has also been linked to less depression in caregivers.  So think about the story you are telling yourself. Is it optimistic?
Deborah Barnett, Ph.D.
Positive Psychology in Asheville, NC
Phone Coaching for Personal Growth and Relationship Success
www.DeborahBarnett.com