Dealing with stress (or... How NOT to be boiled alive like a frog! - part 1)
The second in a three part series of articles from Vanda North about how to recognise and deal with stress.
There is a story which says that if you put a frog in cold water and then slowly heat it, it just stays there and quietly boils to death! (Note: NO frogs were hurt because of this article.)
And so, what about you?
Are you about to be boiled to death?
In the first article in this series I shared 8 ways to know the water was getting very hot, now I want to share how to cool it down.
The stressors start to mount and you hardly realise that the water is getting hotter and hotter and you keep thinking that you can manage, you can take one more stressor, until the day when the needle breaks the camel’s back (just to mix our metaphors) and some seemingly inconsequential thing causes you to snap / break / boil!
So, here are the same 8 warning signals with some positive actions you can take to counterbalance four of them, the next article will cover the other four.
How to create coping strategies for four of the eight warning signs:
1. You have frequent insomnia
Occasional insomnia is no problem, if in 30 minutes you are still awake, then get up and have a ‘party’! Make a cup of a non-caffeinated night time drink, maybe have a small protein snack, cheese is great! Or do something you enjoy and is a hobby or treat, something that can absorb you - a good book, a jigsaw puzzle. If a load of work is on your mind, either do a little work or map/list the steps to be done. After a while you start to feel the ‘black velvet fingers of sleep’ quietly calling you – just slip back into bed.
If insomnia has become a regular problem, then the first two steps of the Mind Chi Basic routine have helped many already. They are: Step 1 - 1 minute of square belly breathing – in for the count of three, hold for the count of three, out for the count of three and stay empty for the count of three. Next comes Step 2 - focus on thinking ‘One’ for one minute, as soon as another thought comes into your mind, go up a number. Count each thought. Your aim is to stay on one. Many people do not get to completing the second minute – because they are asleep! Result!!
2. You feel angry and hostile
Anger is the tip of the iceberg of your emotions. It is the ‘safest’ to express. Next time you feel anger, stop and ask yourself, ‘What is the emotion that is causing this feeling?’ What is the large part of the iceberg, the part that does not immediately show? Is it embarrassment? Lack of confidence? Frustration? Fear? Insecurity? When you are in touch with your real emotion, you can decide what is the appropriate action. When you talk and act from this place, it can be healing and positive. Whereas anger sometimes encourages a reciprocal response and a rapid downward spiral.
Stop! For 30 seconds breathe! Say nothing! Consider what your real emotion is and then move forward. Remember that you are in control of you, no one can make you feel anything!
From the Mind Chi 8-minute routine, Steps 5 and 6 are the best to employ in this situation. Step 5 is to check your BEAT - BEAT is an acronym for Body; Emotions; Actions and Thoughts.
Do a quick Body scan of what is happening inside you; discover the Emotion that is under the anger; think about the Actions that were just happening and finally, your Thoughts filling your head, those voices chatting away.
Step 6 is to choose the BEAT you want. Maybe consciously relax your Body; choose a helpful Emotion; consider what your next Actions will be and ask your Thoughts to support and assist you.
These two steps can be done in a few seconds and you have gained the priceless gift of control over you in the now.
3. You feel anxious, fearful and/or uneasy
The best way to deal with these emotions is to look them in the face and ask yourself, ‘What is the cause of this?’ It is like a shadow watching you or a mist surrounding you, constantly undermining your well being. Take several days to prod these feelings to discover what is there as they are often tucked away. Maybe start a map or a list, when do you feel it most? Can you describe it? Maybe give it a name and start a conversation with it!
Many find that when they face these doubts, they are actually unfounded – they melt away. You may need to repeat this several times as it has become a learned behaviour, however you can replace them with a gentle contentment – Which would you rather have?
In the Mind Chi 8-minute routine, Steps 3 and 4 are best here. Step 3 is to look back over the past 24 hours for times when you were aware of these doubts, what were the triggers? What did you do? Then having quickly identified the moment, what did you do? Say? Think?
More importantly, what would you have rather thought, said or done? Concentrate on what you would like to have when/if it occurs again.
And Step 4 is to look back over the same past 24 hours for times when you did manage well, felt confident and secure. What did you do, say or think in those instances? Remember these moments and save them in your ‘success bank’.
Over time these two steps will provide you with the strength to know that you can handle any situation.
4. You’re frequently sick
Germs are all about us (and within us) all the time. The factor that changes is whether your resistance is high or low. It all ties together, if you are not sleeping, are often angry and fearful a side effect is low resistance and easy susceptibility to all the germs about. Have you noticed that the more positive people tend to get sick less? Is it worth giving it a try?
Apart from taking the positive Mind Chi steps from 1 – 3 above, the other aspect is to fill yourself with as much positive energy as you are able. How? Well Step 8 of Mind Chi is one minute of gratitude. It has been found that just recalling some of the things for which you may be grateful, has a very positive effect on building your resilience. During the day you will be noticing little acts which you will want to put into your minute. Maybe keep a little book of gratitude cultivating moments, re-read, re-remember them, they will make you smile and have a warm glow in your heart.
These are easy to do steps, cost nothing and yet the positive effects can make your life so much more enjoyable and satisfying. You have turned the heat down on your water temperature, and in the next article I look at what simple, constructive steps you can take for the remaining four boilers.
Please visit our partner www.MindChi.com for a daily 8 minute routine which can counter these negative effects and see the other articles in this series.
Contact Vanda at firstname.lastname@example.org