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Holistic Stress Management

 

 Stress

 

Every Health Coach / Wellness Coach has one particular focus area that they want to work with.  Some specialize in weight loss, others prefer fitness, still others like to focus on nutrition.   While it is true that all health coaches cover each of these areas just mentioned, there is still one main topic that a coach specializes in.  For me, my main area of specialty is in Stress Management.

You are probably very familiar with the traditional “stress remedies” like taking deep breaths, learning to “relax”, learning to say “no” to requests to allow you to ease some responsibilities.  All these are GREAT ideas and I do not discount them.  In fact, they are an important part of an overall stress management program.  However, without addressing some other core issues first, all else you do to manage stress will be short lived or less effective than they otherwise could be.

What “core” issues am I talking about?  These core issues have to do with both understanding and learning how to control some key biological functions.  This is why I approach stress management by utilizing biofeedback techniques and biofeedback technology.

Stay tuned for some more information on this as well as a re-launching of my Burnout Breakthrough program coming later this month (March 2015).

 


Are You Managing Stress or Is Stress Managing You?

 

stress

Is Stress Managing You?

Stress management is an essential skill to learn these days, because stress is such a powerful factor in everyday life.

Stress can be subtle, chipping away at your decisions, your emotions, and your ability to get things done correctly. It’s a simple concept to understand, but exactly how does stress affect you? Quite often it seems that your mental state rules over you, but frequently emotions will determine your choices and behaviors.

Not only can stress undermine your ability to make decisions and see clearly, but it can actually cause physical problems. These physical problems can be subtle or very apparent, creating challenges that require you to develop new skills to overcome. However stress afflicts you, there is one constant factor: you perceive stress through your universe of feelings, or your “feeling world”.

Feelings of overwhelm or burnout brought on by stress will drown your creativity, and fog your mental clarity. You will feel disconnected from how you normally feel. Physical symptoms such as aches and pains will develop. Your thought patterns will be disrupted, your sleeping is disrupted, even digestion is altered. In a word, you won’t feel in control.

But all of these things are secondary responses. You first perceive stress from within your world of feelings; that inner space where you experience feelings and moods. If you can learn how to develop an awareness of your feeling world you will find a treasure-trove of value in the information awaiting. However, you must first learn to read your feelings, which for most requires a new set of skills.

Most people believe that stress begins in the brain, but this is not so. Stress actually starts earlier than the brain; it begins with a certain feeling, or emotion. For instance, tension, apprehension, aggravation, feelings of too much to do and too little time, or worry first become apparent, which then lead to feelings of anxiety, anger, and irritability. In the end, the result will be exhaustion brought on by an overload of stress.

When you develop unresolved feelings, they don’t just go away. They accumulate little by little. The more you allow unresolved feelings to build up, the faster these unresolved feelings develop into stress. These previously mentioned feelings are neither good nor bad. You just need to interpret them correctly.

Various feelings can directly cause stress, such as fear, worry, sadness, loneliness, edginess, reactivity, irritation, anger, boredom, moodiness, hurt, jealousy, guilt, greed, envy, and resentment. And any negatively reinforced emotions, fist perceived in your feeling world, can give rise to stress.

People like to bottle up their emotions and feelings, especially men. Some people feel it is a sign of weakness to acknowledge even to themselves, that their emotions are in control. Being open enough to admit that you are feeling terrible can be embarrassing. What is our typical response to the greeting “How are you?” It sure isn’t “I feel frustrated, drained and unfulfilled”. Instead the answer is “FINE”. It’s easier in some cases to just ignore the feelings and emotions, squashing them deep inside you.

Once you put a cap on the bottle that you’ve stuffed your emotions into, it is only a matter of time before the emotional energy builds up and manifests in other ways. You may find yourself starting to judge people, projecting hostility, or blaming others or groups of people for example, when otherwise these actions would not be present. If you don’t remove the cap from that emotional bottle, you will either explode or emotionally draw yourself away from others. This is the fight or flight response in action, 21st century-style.

When emotions lead to stress, this jump-starts the fight-or-flight response and your brain quickly unleashes a flood of hormones that prepare the body to protect itself. Situations that are stressful not only will build up emotions mentioned earlier, but stress-hormones build up and start to take their toll.

The good news is, there is a way to avoid this.

There are ways of coping with stress. You can eat healthy, cut down on stimulants, stop smoking, develop an exercise regimen, meditate and focus your mind, take breaks from intense situations, or just relax with friends. Everyone knows this, but rarely do people actually do these things consistently to reduce their stress.

Change isn’t easy, even if we know it’s necessary. Even changing our stressful routines can be stressful! It’s all about the bottom line which is feeling happy and energized, but how do we get there? Feeling the pressure from work, home life, and whatever else you have going on that demands your time seems like it can’t be put on hold all so you can catch your breath.


 

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