Stress is totally normal and something everyone will experience in their lifetime, myself included! The one aspect we all have in common is our struggle to control the emotions that team up with stress. Such as anger, hysteria, sadness, depression, anxiety (and more) these emotions hold hands with stress and the scary part is you may not even realise these are signs of stress. Believe it or not there is a very simple technique that will help you, it’s a building block and takes time to develop but there is a solution. Not everyone can master the technique and it has certainly taken me a while to nail it! Don’t judge, keep open minded and read on because there is a good chance this is just what you need in your life right now so give it a go. What’s the harm?
Emotions and Stress
We experience mixed emotions when we feel stressed and this encourages some unwelcome side effects such as; memory problems, lack of concentration, moodiness, irritability, low temperament, body aches, diarrhoea or constipation, changed eating patterns, nausea, etc. Things no one really has time to experience and certainly could do without. Our suggestion is so simple, Meditation. It isn’t easy at first, but EVERYONE can do it, you just need to find the right way for you and this is where you will start. Are you ready?
Where to begin with Meditation
1 in 4 of us in the UK suffer with a mental health disorder, in a group of 300 people 230 will visit their GP for help, leaving 70 people fending for themselves maybe not even realising they need help. A shocking 70 million work days are lost due to mental health which makes it the leading cause for absence from work. Proving it is time for the UK to tackle mental health full on, make a change and start looking after yourself today.
A great starting point would be to simply have a chat with yourself in your head. We all do it, maybe even out loud now and then, guilty! It’s a very simple first step into the world of meditation and an even bigger, calmer, happier world for you and your family. So let’s crack on and give it a try.
Start right here right now!
- Get into bed/ somewhere you feel cosy and comfortable
- Close the curtains, turn out the lights
- Listen to bird songs or something with no words just calming sounds
- Have it very quiet so you have no distractions
- Then chat with yourself! Now there are do’s and don’t to the topics which we cover next…
What to talk about
I tend to ask myself what the best part of my day/week was. Sometimes when I am extremely depressed, I convince myself there were no good parts of my day and I am a waste of space. What a load of rubbish aye! If you can’t find a best part of your day, try this… you’re alive. Lucky us, how many people have we said good-bye to too early and here we are able to see a new day. Everyone has different circumstances, so this may be a little out there, I just mean to appreciate the here and now.
Once you have decided what the best part of your day was, we then start to think about the best part of ourselves, what do you love about you? Again, we’re not dishing out sympathy here. But no excuses, there is always something the pick! For myself, bold as I am, I pick my kind heart. Not all people are kind and I am so thankful that I am. When you are very low and stressed, you’ll only think of negative parts of you, so think about your children, your job, your relationship. Find your positive and go with it.
Identify your triggers
These may be the reasons you are stressed so go back to the basics, do your children say please and thank you? You taught them that. Do you have a job? Well done, you passed the interview process and got a job! You have friends, family or an intimate relationship? More than one person loves you, how nice to know that you’re not alone. This does include animals, they are the best therapy! Continue to pick the best parts of things, the list of topics is huge get creative, think outside the box and before you know it you’ve relaxed!
I know it sounds silly to openly admit you’re talking to yourself. Encouraging your mind to think of other topics, even better when they are positive, forces you to let go of your tension and relax. It’s a great baby step into meditation when you can’t get into it straight away and most people don’t succumb to it easily. It does take time and commitment knowing that it’s helping save your body from stress and all the problems that follow makes it’s well worth it, right?
What not to talk about
Avoid bad days, avoid people who you have negative emotions with, avoid anything where there could be negativity at all. Even though mediation is all about venting your negativity, a new comer to meditation won’t be ready for that. It takes skill believe me, something I am still working towards. Especially when the topic you’re reflecting on may be the reason why you are stressed/anxious. Thinking about this during mediation would be counter productive and a big no no! Keep it simple start small and strip everything back to the basics.
Another interesting technique that has worked for me best and still does now when I’m in a hurry or feeling lazy (yes this is most days) is labelling. I love this so much because of its simplicity, no thinking at all just simple words. Want to know more? Well here goes;
- Start at your toes, with eyes closed and say toes
- Then say feet (out loud or in your head you pick)
- Next your ankles etc. Work your way up your whole body, saying the body parts as you go
This will make you think about your whole body and forces you to appreciate you! Naturally you will think, I need to paint my nails, I need to lose some belly fat, I need to get my roots done, I need to go to the doctor about that mole. All silly things but… this is what happens when you force your mind to consider you.
If this is a technique to can really connect with, try thought labelling. This is amazing for expressing yourself and identifying what and why your mind is thinking in certain ways. If you feel ready for this have a look at verywellmind, Elizabeth Scott has written a perfect article with another step by step guide.
What’s my motivation to try?
You are your most important possession and you’re thinking, ‘no I’m not my children are!’ (my husband/wife, partner, cat, house, car blah blah) then you’re really going down the wrong route. What good are you to them if you’re not ok?
Try a mixture of both these techniques or just the one that works best. You could spend 1 minute or 10 minutes doing this but if you have time for longer go ahead. It just gives your body and mind a rest. So many illnesses stem from stress, so if we all work harder to control this, we’re giving ourselves a better chance in the future. I’ve also written a guide on how to deal with other people and their negativity so once you’ll nailed this, crack on with the next guide, Positive Sparkle Stealers.
Interestingly, there is a lot of science behind stress and how our brains protect us from danger. We’ll cover that another time as it is very in-depth. This does confirm that stress is normal, however our reaction to the stress is what a lot of us need to work on. Give this baby step a try and begin today looking after number 1 because THAT’S YOU!