I get a lot of people who tell me, nowadays, “You’re really good at going with the flow.” Or, “You always seem so calm.”
The truth: I used to be a major perfectionist and an all-out, worry wart. I was often consumed by anxiety, but was good at hiding it.
That anxiety still surfaces today, on a daily basis. But, it doesn’t stick around very long anymore because I’ve discovered the secrets to true stress relief.
Knowing these tips, and putting them into practice, has literally changed my life and my body. In the past, stress and anxiety would make me sick and sluggish. It would stop me from taking risks, thinking clearly, making healthy changes, being kind, thinking outside the box, and advocating for a life filled with adventure.
Now, stress doesn’t have the same power over me. I know I’m bigger than it is. And, I know I have a bunch of ‘tools’ in my ‘toolbox’, so to speak, that I can utilize both to prevent stress from taking over an otherwise good-feeling day and in response to stress when I’m feeling less-than clear minded and invincible and want to regain my focus and power.
I want the same for you. You totally deserve a good-feeling life. That’s why I’m sharing my simple secrets…so you can experience less stress and more fun, beginning now.
#1: YOU’VE GOTTA GET MOVIN’, GIRL!
Magic happens when you move. (For real.)
Good-feeling chemicals are released. Stress hormones (that also cause weight-gain) are reduced. Blood, energy, and ideas start flowing.
Not taking time to move is almost like sending an invitation to awful emotions. “Stress, please take over my life today. Anxiety, Disempowerment, and Depression, you’re all welcome to join too.”
I prefer to move and send that same invitation to different feelings. “Hey, Peace-Of-Mind, Sense-Of-Security, and Fun, wanna come to my party?!”
It sounds simple. And, it is. If you don’t believe me, try it the next time you’re stressed.
Breath is one of the most powerful tools to get your body out of fight-or-flight mode and into rest-and-digest. (Did you know, when you’re stressed it’s super hard for your body to digest properly? And, when things aren’t digested properly, that, unfortunately, wreaks havoc on your body.)
Here’s a simple breathing practice Dr. Andrew Weil ‘prescribes’ to almost all this patients:
Inhale for 4 Counts – Hold for 7 Counts – Exhale for 8 Counts – Repeat
#3: DRINK A GLASS OF WATER
Sometimes our sense of stress can come from a physical response to a caffeine overdose. Or, may be the result of indulging in some not-so-great food or beverage substances.
Drinking a glass of water will help.
#4: ASK YOURSELF, “WHAT DO I WANT?”
When you’re in the midst of a stressful situation, it’s easy to get stuck in the problem. When you laser-focus in on everything that has gone wrong or could go wrong, there’s no bandwidth left for solutions (or good feelings) to sneak in.
When you know what you don’t want, ask yourself, “What is it that I want?”
Here are a few examples:
When there’s chaos in your life, you probably want more order and organization.
When you’re feeling sick, sluggish, and overweight, you want to feel lighter, more vital, and energized.
When you’re embarrassed, you want to feel proud.
Simply acknowledging what’s wanted in a situation, can shift your focus and offer some relief.
#5: SAY TO YOURSELF, “IF I CAN OBSERVE IT, I’M BIGGER THAN IT”
Think about it: in order to notice something, you must not be that thing.
When you’re stressed, remind yourself, “I’m not stress, I’m just experiencing it right now. There must be some untapped power here.”
#6: REMIND YOURSELF THAT RESPONSIBILITY AND ANXIETY ARE 2 COMPLETELY DIFFERENT THINGS
It seems many of us are quick perpetuate the myth that worrying about something is the responsible thing to do. How did we come up with that silly-ness?
When I’m in a state of worry, I’m definitely not thinking clearly or kindly. Making choices from that state is not responsible.
Give yourself permission to calm down before putting out ‘fires’. Tell yourself, “The most responsible thing for me to do right now is to take care of myself.” Take some time to regain your composure and sense of well-being before taking action or making a decision.
#7: TELL YOURSELF A BETTER STORY
Have you ever wondered why two people, experiencing the same thing, can have completely different responses? One might use a situation as a reason to be angry. The other uses the same situation as a catalyst for massive, positive impact.
Why? How? It’s because your life is not about what’s happening to you, but the story you’re telling yourself about what’s happening to you. Your thoughts about yourself are powerful.
The next time you’re feeling less-than stellar, see if you can figure out the less-than-stellar story you’re telling yourself. Then, tell a better-feeling story.
You recently gained some weight.
Here’s your less-than-stellar story: I look so gross. None of my clothes fit. Why can’t I figure this weight-thing out? I’m not even datable anymore. Who would want to go out with me?
Your better-feeling story: I like the thought that my weight has nothing to do with my worth…or my beauty. I like the thought of dating someone who believes that too. I guess this is a good reason to call a girlfriend and plan a fun shopping day. I know my body is adaptable. I don’t always have to live with this extra weight if I don’t want to. I didn’t gain it because I was “bad”. I’ve just had different priorities lately. I know a few baby steps I could take to start feeling healthier today. This really isn’t that big of a deal. I still really like my smile and my hair. I bet I can find some new, cute clothes I feel comfortable in.
#8: ASK YOURSELF, “WHAT WOULD MY 110-YEAR-OLD SELF SAY ABOUT THIS?”
When we broaden our view, life feels more spacious.
The next time you’re stressed, envision yourself at 110 years old. You’re sipping tea on your front porch, with a slight smile on your face. You’re thinking about your long and happy life. And, you’re remembering all the different situations you moved through, that were stressful.
That version of yourself would likely tell you:
– You know, in the grand scheme of things, this really isn’t that big of deal.
– If you’re worried about what other people are thinking about you, just remind yourself that everyone is 99% consumed with their own lives. They’re not thinking about you that much. So, get over it.
– There’s definitely a silver lining.
– There are always second chances.
– Things have the tendency to work out. So, you could worry about it. But, why?
– When you feel stressed, you’re usually aligning with someone else’s rules or definition of ‘success’. Create your own.
#9: BUILD YOUR GRATITUDE MUSCLE
Building certain pathways in your brain is like building a muscle: if you don’t work it, it won’t work for you.
If you’re ‘lifting’ the cynical, self-critical ‘weights’, that’s what you’ll build; it will be easy for you to go down that anxiety-ridden pathway.
If, on the other hand, you practice speaking to yourself kindly and finding things about your life and people in your life that you appreciate, you’ll train your brain to look for the positives and you’ll start noticing them without even trying.
SHARE WITH US:
Tell us about your stressful days. How do you manage to get back on track?
Annalicia Lynn is a yoga & Pilates instructor, health coach, writer, speaker, and founder of YogaAndPilatesOnline.com. She is a health & fitness contributor to CBS Minnesota News, The Huffington Post, Mind Body Green, and ELITE DAILY. Through her Free 21-Day Movement Challenge, online yoga & Pilates membership program, and writings, Annalicia helps women across the globe transcend the fears, doubts, and excuses blocking them from the fit, healthy lifestyles they desire. With 10+ years of teaching experience and a life’s journey of lessons to share, she guides women on their path to achieving the lives & bodies they’ve always wanted – on terms rooted in deep self-understanding and self-care. For more from Annalicia, drop by YogaAndPilatesOnline.com and wave hello on Facebook and Instagram!