Stress is all around us. Everywhere you look and everywhere you go. It is relentless. It seems to have also become a badge of honour. Yet, all you want is to lead a calm and peaceful life where everything flows smoothly. So, how do you step off the merry-go-round? By understanding stress and what it actually means for you.

understanding stress

The thing to remember is that you can’t avoid a certain amount of stress in your daily day life. However, you can learn how to deal with stress. And of course, the best time is when your life is on track and you have the energy and where with all to do so. It takes time to introduce life-changing skills into your everyday life. And you won’t regret that when you most need them as they will be available in your toolbox for you to draw on in your time of need.

Stress is how you interact with your environment. It is how you interpret any given situation. And everyone is different. So what is stressful for one person, isn’t for another. That is when love, compassion and acceptance come into play when supporting a loved one through a stressful time. There will be times when you just don’t get it as it isn’t your reality. However, what is important is being there and being present when you are turned to for help and support.

When you are stressed you are disconnected from reality. You are disconnected from what is and being in the present moment. When your nervous system is overwhelmed by stress your body is flooded with chemicals (adrenaline and cortisol) that prepare you for “fight or flight.” Where this becomes damaging is when you remain in this heightened state. You don’t give your body, mind and soul time to slow down, relax and come back to its natural equilibrium. You will be amazed how much tension you hold in your body when you are on constant high alert and hyperactive.

pointers you are stressed

When the stress response is activated and you are ready to fight or take flight:

  • Your heart rate increases
  • Breathing speeds up
  • Blood pressure rises
  • Your muscles tense up
  • Decrease in digestive activity

When you don’t take the time to create balance again in your body, you can experience any of the following to some degree or other which can lead to serious illness:

  • Excess worry and anxiety, feelings of panic
  • Stomach pain or cramp
  • Constant low-level headaches
  • Depression, sadness, anger, frustration, irritability
  • Sleeplessness with constant exhaustion and tiredness
  • Excessive sleeping
  • Lack of concentration and focus, reduced productivity
  • In denial
  • Excess food or alcohol intake, smoking
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Shallow, shortness of breath
  • Procrastination

3 meditation techniques to support your stress levels

A variety of different relaxation techniques can help you bring your nervous system back into balance by producing the relaxation response. And help you understanding stress.

Deep breathing

When you finally take the time to sit quietly and take invaluable time out, you allow your breath to slow down and find its own lovely deep natural rhythm. However, to get the best results you need to breathe deeply from the abdomen. This way you get as much fresh air as possible in your lungs inhaling more oxygen. In turn, you will feel less tense, anxious and short of breath. You will find you won’t be gulping for air all the time.

  • Find a comfortable space where you can sit comfortably with a straight back.
  • Place one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach.
  • Gently breathe in through your nose. The hand on your stomach should rise. The hand on your chest should hardly move at all.
  • Gently exhale through your mouth, releasing as much air as you can while contracting your abdominal muscles. The hand on your stomach should move in as you exhale, but your other hand should hardly move at all.
  • Continue this for a few breaths (eventually for a few moments) inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth.

Three-part breath

  • Find a comfortable space where you can sit comfortably with a straight back.
  • Take a deep inhalation and sigh as you breathe out to help you relax.
  • When you are ready begin to inhale expanding the abdomen like a balloon, moving the breath into your rib cage and all the way into your upper chest.
  • As you exhale do the reverse; begin at your collarbones and exhale down through your rib cage and into your abdomen. As you finish exhaling, squeeze that last bit of breath out.
  • As with the previous exercise you may like to place on hand on your belly and the other on your chest.
  • Begin slowly by practicing for one minute. When you feel more comfortable incrementally lengthen your practice to five minutes.

Body scan meditation

I love taking time out to scan my body as it not only calms me down, it also keeps me connected to any sensations I may be feeling and what it is telling me. When you are stressed you ignore your body and its telltale signs (see list above). I ended up in hospital years with a complete break down as I hadn’t been connected to my body. So it did it for me forcing me to take time out. Never again!

Here is the link to a short guided meditation for you to enjoy.

This is by no means an exhausted list of stress symptoms or exercises. It is about giving you a nudge to take a look at what stresses you, how do you respond and what you can do about it. Start now whilst you can. Don’t wait for a life changing experience. It is simply not worth it. Click on this link to get you started with a Stress Release Guided Meditation.

I would love to hear how you went and what you do already to support and love yourself.

Love this post? Or know someone who needs to read this? Please share away! I would also love to hear what you think about my post, leave me a comment below ♥

meet chantal

Chantal Vanderhaeghen is an intuitive guide, small business owner, creator of an international skincare brand, passionate philanthropist and meditation, reiki, tapping and mindfulness teacher. She works with women ready to make changes, shatters perceptions of beauty and perfection, and inspires people ready to become mindful entrepreneurs. She lives with her talented man in the Perth Hills and can be found online at www.unfoldyoufreedom.com.au

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