S T R E S S: the problem
Whenever we experience emotional distress arising from the four core wounding experiences – loss, rejection, betrayal and humiliation – we have a choice of “hiding” from or ignoring these upsetting experiences.
Our ability to effectively cope with challenges and upsets requires learning and practicing skills so they become everyday coping tools. Just learning about these principles is not enough. Remember about 75% of what you do is out of HABIT.
Training our brain to use health coping methods means we can heal our own emotional wounds so we also feel better about ourselves.
We need all three coping brain functions, thinking, feeling and self-protection, to get over experiences that make us stressed, worried, angry or upset.
C O P I N G: principles
- Recognize that no thought or feeling is wrong in itself, it is what we do with it that really counts.
- Become aware of the way your body feels as tension begins to build up— remind yourself to breath.
- Recognize that you don’t have to go through this alone — help is available from a wide range of sources.
- Work to improve communication with your family and friends
- If you are experiencing fatigue or feeling overwhelmed, reduce your responsibilities for a period of time.
- Recognize that family and friends have to deal with their feelings too.
- Share honestly and lovingly how you are feeling
- Do things each day that are nurturing to you. Include fun activities, relaxation, time alone, and exercise.
- You can work to solve some of the problems that are causing you stress.
- Accept that guilt and worry about things you CAN’T change are useless and energy-draining.
- Give yourself credit for whatever level of coping you are achieving.
- Remember, there is no “instant fix” for stress.
- Develop a love and respect for yourself — because each of us is, with our strengths, a special and worthwhile person.
L I F E S T Y L E: body – mind – spirit
You can’t always avoid stress but being able to identify what causes it is the first step toward helping yourself cope better. If you have difficulty pinpointing the causes or “triggers” of your stress, try keeping a record to help you identify patterns of stress.
To effetely use this chart, make a note of all your activates during the day and how you felt at the time. Fill in the chart whenever a stress symptom occurs, noting what happened just before. At the end of the week evaluate when you felt stressed and when you felt relaxed.
R E L A X A T I O N: restores balance
For long-term stress relief you need periods of mental and physical relaxation throughout the day. Relaxation is a set of skills that teach you how to combat the effects of stress and restore the balance between body and mind to enable healthy, happy living.
WHY: long-term stress changes the balance of hormones in the body and leads to exhaustion. A suppressed immune system, slower metabolism and slower cell repair, result in rapid aging, weight gain, and greater risk of degenerative disease.
S I M P I L E: coping skills
- Learn to become aware of when you are experiencing stress — listen to your body
- Practice deep breathing – just 3 deep breaths will change your body chemistry
- Muscle relaxation
- Mindfulness practices – the state of being attentive to and aware of the present moment only
- Guided Imagery or Visualizations
- Journal about your feelings, thoughts and worries
- Use Positive Affirmations to change negative self-talk
- Exercise daily
- Get a Massage
- Pick a hobby
- Cut down on activities
- Unplug from technology – turn down the noise
- Get outside – your brain is created to respond positively to nature — soothing your soul
- Get enough sleep
- Seek social support – talk to someone