Get A Grip on Stress

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Quick Tips for Stress Management

We’ve all have felt stressed at one point or another in our lives. Did you know that there are different types of stress? One is motivating, eustress, and the other is unmanageable, distress.

Regardless of which one you experience at a given time, principles of Yoga and a regular practice can help relieve you mentally, emotionally and physically of the toll stress can take on the body and mind.

Eustress: the good kind of stress...yes..it exists!  Eustres motivates us, drives us, and keeps us enthusiastic.  Think of the excitement before a big game, the feeling you get before doing something new, exciting, or unexpected.

Distress: The negative kind of stress. Distress feels like more than we can handle. It is typically associated with feeling overwhelmed, like things are out of your control. Distress is what most people are referring to when they say things like, “I am so stressed!”  Think of finding out you have a test that you forgot about, didn’t prepare for, and you have to take it. YIKES!

The amazing thing about physical practice of yoga is that it can induce stress. It is designed to create challenge so we can learn through the practice of yoga that we don’t have to freak out when we experience stress. 

We learn that we can stay, we can modify a pose, we can continue to breath mindfully and intentionally, and train our brains to know we are okay.

Building upon this, we can also take these lessons off the mat and into our lives. For instance, when we are stuck in traffic we can freak out, honk at people, convince ourselves the world is going to come to an end if we are late, or we can breath, stay calm, and drive safely to get to our destination. 

Quick tips to manage stress:

  1.  Breathe! 

    Take long, slow inhales and exhales deep into your lungs. Try counting 5 counts for each inhale and 5 counts for each exhale. If that seems easy, try increasing the count one at a time up to 10 counts in and 10 counts out.

  2. Stomp out ANTS! 

    ANTS are Automatic Negative Thoughts. We all have them, and noticing them and changing what we tell ourselves can make a difference. 

    If your automatic thought is, “I will never get there on time and everyone is going to hate me for it!” Try telling yourself something different, like, “Keep calm, do your best, and people will understand.” 

    If they don’t understand, you can deal with that when the time comes, but creating the worst case scenarios in our heads doesn’t tend to help.

  3. Meditate! 

    Close your eyes, take deep breaths, and focus on NOTHING.

    Let’s be real, your brain is going to think, because that is what it is designed to do, so when you have thoughts come up, just let them go as if they are floating by on a cloud. 

    Know that you don’t have to DO anything in those moments. Just sit, be still, and breathe. Let them float on by! If you can do that once, you can do it again, and again, and again.