The company goes through yet another downsizing and your job might be one of them. The cost of food and gas climbs. The kids need shoes for school. The mortgage is past due. The older kids called to tell you they’re moving back home because they can’t find a job. The doctor left an urgent message to call back. The everyday pressures of life can get overwhelming if you don’t have a plan and practice to deal with them.
Regardless the source of stress, we know it can be damaging to both your mental and physical health. Everyone needs a way to blow off the steam that everyday activities create in the pressure cooker world we live in. Keeping the stress levels on high for too long will make you blow your gaskets in more ways than one. So how do we handle stress effectively?
For some people, the answer to stress relief is their hobby. They may head to the golf course and whack golf balls until the pressure of the day disappears. Some choose painting or reading or a million other distracters to help take away the tension and run down feeling that overwhelming stress brings. Often people try to just live through it and hope relief will come soon. Perhaps its just getting away from the object that brings on the stress is the right answer for some.
The bad news is that stress will continue to be part of everyone’s life. We can’t get away from it. Some things will always set us on edge because of the realities of life. The good news is that there are ways to handle stress with some relatively simple techniques. The generator for stress may not change, but the way you handle the situation, event, person, or whatever causes the stress can make a world of difference in your mental and physical outcome.
One easy way to reduce the effects of stress in the moment is to use “square breathing.” Square breathing is a simple means of clearing your head, relaxing the body, and finding some relief from the events of the moment. Here’s the technique you can try for yourself. Breathe in slowly counting to four. Hold that breath counting to four. Breathe out counting to four. Hold your exhale for another count of four. Then repeat the process four or five times.
By concentrating on slowing your breathing down just a little, focusing on your breathing instead of the immediate problem, and getting increased oxygen into your brain, you can ease the tension you’re feeling in the moment. It won’t change the situation. It won’t be a cure-all. But it can help you in a crisis moment and help reduce the immediate stress reaction.
If you want to learn more about stress relief, coping skills, and resilience, call me at (210) 854-3978.