Real Solutions for Stress
Why you cannot “just let go of stress” and what to do instead
Mary, a highly accomplished professional woman, is having a good day: a successful meeting at work, her project finished and daughter doing well in college. But on her way home from work, she runs into her ex and that makes her blood boil.
She does what she was told in a stress release class: breathe deeply and count to ten. She calms down – but ten minutes later the stress comes back. She can’t shake the anger and resentment she still feels after a bad divorce.
She keeps trying the breathing but it only calms her down for a few minutes.
Carol, another professional woman, is worried about her teenage son, Nick. No matter how much they discuss strategies he can use to manage his time better in the morning, he keeps being late for school. Carol’s husband is a disciplinarian and wants to punish Nick for being late which only makes Nick angry. Carol’s blood pressure shoots up when this happens. She wants to stop these conflicts but no matter how much she explains to herself that Nick is capable of handling the situation, she just can’t calm down.
Can you relate to these stories?
What situations did you try to solve with breathing, reasoning with yourself or counting to ten?
How did that work for you?
Have you ever wondered why these techniques are not sufficient to eliminate stress?
The answer is really simple – and we will get to it shortly.
First, let me tell you that our culture of help and self-help assumes that the mind is the ruler and if you use your mind “correctly”, you will solve all your problems. You see this everywhere!
Whether it’s stress, or weight loss, or controlling your emotions, all advice boils down to this:
- Change your thoughts,
- Think positively,
- Don’t give in to fear,
- Have a better mindset,
Have you been given this advice?
Before I knew any better, I tried very hard to do it.
But it wasn’t working.
The stress would always sneak back in, even when I thought I was over a stressful situation.
Has that happened to you?
It has happened to my clients.
There are three reasons why stress usually comes back:
- Stress is often caused by external factors such as work, relationships, or financial problems. Until those situations get resolved, “letting go of stress” will always be a temporary solution.
Let’s say that Sally has a demanding boss who never appreciates her work while praising other employees. She always feels stressed when she needs talk to him.
- There are conditioned stress responses from the past that make us handle situations in habitual way.
My client Louise used to be put down by her family and bullied in school. Now, she feels intimidated and unprotected when she deals with authority figures or just people who are taller than she is.
I will address these factors in my upcoming articles.
Today, let’s talk about the most important reason why these mind-based approaches don’t work:
- Stress is not a mental state! Stress happens on the body level.
It boggles my mind why the “experts” don’t talk more about it.
Stress has been a very thoroughly researched by the famous medical doctor Hans Selye way back in 1950ties.
He was doing research at the McGill University in Montreal, and in his publications described stress as a specific physiological reaction, affecting blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tone, digestion, elimination and many other physical functions.
These functions are obviously not under your conscious control!
If you could control them with your mind, you would probably win the Nobel Prize in medicine.
But that’s exactly what the experts are telling you to do!
So if the mind-based approaches haven’t worked for you, don’t worry, it’s not you – it’s the techniques!
So what to do instead?
You need to use body-based approaches.
In my practice, I use several activities that immediately lower stress.
I’ll share one here.
Before you do the exercise, give yourself a quick evaluation of how the stressful situation you are working on is affecting you:
- Where do you feel the reaction in your body
- What is the type of emotions you feel
- How is your mind working
And give yourself an overall number from 1-10 on how stressed you are.
Now do this:
- Cross your ankles, reach forward with your arms and cross your wrists. Turn your thumbs down, interlace your fingers. Bend your elbows to turn your arms inside out and bring them to your chest. Close your eyes and touch the tongue to the roof of your mouth. Hold for 1 – 10 minutes.
- Put your feet flat on the floor, hands tented with fingers touching. Close your eyes and touch the tongue to the roof of your mouth. Hold for another minute.
Now repeat your evaluation. I guarantee that you will feel differently!
A new client recently did this for five minutes and her stress level went from of 9 to feeling “calm and happy” (her words).
I wish the same to you!
For more information about other techniques that create those kinds of Radical Rapid Results™ to help you resolve your stress, feel free to email me at paula@BrainUpgrade.biz
The tomato behind The Three Tomatoes.
Cheryl Benton, aka the “head tomato” is founder and publisher of The Three Tomatoes, a digital lifestyle magazine for “women who aren’t kids”. Having lived and worked for many years in New York City, the land of size zero twenty-somethings, she was truly starting to feel like an invisible woman. She created The Three Tomatoes just for the fun of it as the antidote for invisibility and sent it to 60 friends. Today she has thousands of friends and is chief cheerleader for smart, savvy women who want to live their lives fully at every age and every stage. She is the author of the novel, "Can You See Us Now?" and co-author of a humorous books of quips, "Martini Wisdom." Because she's lived a long time, her full bio won't fit here. If you want the "blah, blah, blah", read more. www.thethreetomatoes.com/about-the-head-tomato