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Managing Stress - A practical guide

Claire Belton - Thursday, May 02, 2013

Understanding and managing stress is important for health and wellbeing. When you can be aware of what is creating stress in your life, you can begin to work with ways to reduce the stress. If the situations in your life that are creating stress are beyond your control to change, you can learn to respond differently to the stress. No matter where the stress is coming from you do have the power to respond to stress in a way that allows you to stay calm and aware.

Fight or flight

Studies have shown that when people are stressed their bodies respond with the fight or flight response; increasing levels of cortisol and adrenaline in the body. High levels of these stress hormones in the body over an extended period of time brings about lowered levels of immunity, greater incidence of illness, and premature aging. This fight or flight response also brings about higher incidence of emotional intensity; creating lower levels of emotional intelligence and fuelling negative communication patterns beween stressed people. This of course leads to strained relationships. Unfortunately strained relationships can then lead to higher levels of stress, and there is a downward spiral that happens. This is why it is so important to learn how to manage stress.

Managing stressful situations

There are ways that you can manage stressful situations. To begin with it is important to become aware of when you are becoming stressed. If you are not aware that you are stressed then you also won't be aware of your reactions to stress. Your reactions may be creating more stress in your life. Become aware of what happens to your body when you are stressed. Take time to notice what your body is experiencing. Notice your breathing and levels of muscular tension. You can respond differently to stress by practising mindfulness. Being mindful of your body's response to stress, you first take time to give your body what it needs to be calmer and think clearly. When you are able to calm your body down you learn to respond differently to stress. Taking a moment to check in with your body takes your mind off the stressful situation and trains your mind to begin to give yourself what you need to successfully manage stress.

Tips to stay calm and aware

  • Be mindful of your body's response to stress.
  • Take time to breathe deeply and instruct your body to relax.
  • Become mindful of the messages you are telling yourself that are creating stress. Change negative messages to positive messages.
  • Learn meditation and relaxation techniques, practice them regularly so that when you are in a stressful situation your body remembers how to relax when you instuct it to. Scientific studies into meditation have shown that it boosts immunity, and has powerful anti-aging benefits.
  • Take a series of coaching so that you can become more aware of the way that you are habitually thinking and responding to life and stressful situations. Through awareness you can choose to think differently. It may be that the way you are thinking is the biggest creator of stress in your life.
  • Take the time to release pent up stress from your body. Breathing properly, and therapeutic breathing is one of the best ways of releasing pent up stress.


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Claire Belton, Breathwork Practitioner and Trainer, Energetic and Shamanic Healing Practitioner, Yoga and Meditation Teacher, Life Coach, Workshop Facilitator and Trainer.