Monday, June 11, 2012

Two easy changes that help you deal with stress

So... as I mentioned last week, I had blood tests done a week ago to see what the heck was draining me so much.

I did a blood sugar test, a hormone test and a blood level test.... and.... I got put back on my hormone medication that I'd stopped about a year ago.

But here's the kicker. The hormones that are out of whack have nothing to do with energy levels. Which basically means that this severe exhaustion that I've been suffering from for most of last week was in my mind.

If I think about this, it makes sense. The work I'm doing goes from no stress to pressure-cooker pressure in five minutes and back again. The people are demanding. The amounts of money involved is HUGE. And the product can rot in transit. No one in the industry respects the concept of office hours or even lunch time. So on bad days, the pressure starts at 7 a.m. and doesn't let up until I sleep.

Last week was the first calm one after a full week of pressure and I think what I suffered from wasn't exhaustion. It was lethargy. I was tired of doing thing non-stop. So my subconscious made up my mind for me and told my body I wouldn't do anything.

Amazingly, when I dragged myself to church last night, we had a wonderful guest speaker, Peter van Jaarsveld who's a world authority on emotional intelligence and stress management. Basically he discussed things that made intuitive sense to me.

But because I never realized the importance of these things, I never paid a lot of attention to putting them into practice.

Things like positive thoughts. Or breathing deeply and thinking happy thoughts.

I used to think that it's just something people used to say, but when he had us practicing in church, it really made a big difference.

So I decided to put what I learnt into practice this week and see how it goes, since it pretty much involves taking charge of my stress and through that, my life.


First portion of dealing with my stress is to release positive hormones that come from positive thoughts. I do that by picking 10 positive statements in my life. They don't have to be true right now. All I have to do is mean what I say.

My ten statements are:

1) I am a great person.
2) I am in control of how I think and what I say.
3) I am in control of my life and can achieve anything I set out to do.
4) I will look after my physical, emotional and spiritual health.
5) I am talented.
6) I am going to lose the weight I've been trying to shake.
7) I am going to publish my books.
8) I am going to perform and sing.
9) I am happy.
10) I have a great sense of humor.

Now I have to read them to myself every day.

The second portion is breathing. Yep. I'm going to take seven one-minute sessions to just focus on being calm and happy. Three steps to this one:

1) Sit still (and straight) and just focus on your heart to calm your mind.
2) Breathe deeply with your diaphragm. Six counts to inhale. Two counts to hold. Six counts to exhale.
3) After a few of these breaths, think of something that happened in the past week that made you happy, every time that you exhale.

Easy right? The best thing for me is that there's a sound scientific reasoning (and research) behind these two solutions to stress. Just not going into it right not because Dr. van Jaarsveld took most of two hours to explain it all.

Now I just want to see how well it works. Are you going to join me? What are your ten positive statements?



Lynn Proctor said...

that breathing stuff, really does help!!

Claudia Moser said...

Sometimes the help comes when we less expect it. I believe you are on the right track, keep doing what you decided! And I am sure you will succeed!

J.L. Campbell said...

I'm glad I stopped in. I need to take my stress to a manageable level. My problem is that half my stress comes from self-imposed deadlines and what ifs. Gotta slow down and think positive thoughts. The breathing exercises sounds spot on too. I realized a long time ago that I never just sit and do nothing. I need to do more of that.

Peaches Ledwidge said...

I think I understand how the mind works that way. My mind took on a number of seemingly stress related illnesses. Some came only because of my thoughts, I believe.

Jennifer Lane said...

I'm often inspired in church as well. ;) Stress is VERY powerful!