how to manage stress during a busy week

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The Power of Our Thoughts

Has your week been a super busy one? Or maybe it’s been a busy year! I was thinking about you and the different ways I can support you right now, and I was the given the impression that you might need a pick-me-up. So how about inspiration and tools to support you in living a life that feels internally balanced?

Imagine with me that you just realized, “I completely forgot my appointment!” You might start to think about the person you accidentally stood up and how you missed your vital and anticipated appointment you made months ago! What kind of emotions flood into your body and mind? For a lot of us it would be along the lines of anxiety, panic, stress, confusion, etc. Notice these feelings when you think about forgetting your appointment, you might even be experiencing those feelings right now.

And then you pull out your phone frantically to double-check your calendar and you realize that the appointment is next week. Do you feel a sense of relief and peace come over your body?

This example demonstrates the natural up and down of your feelings. Feelings can change rapidly and that is normal for us to experience throughout the day. Another important part to notice about this exercise is that we get to create the experience of our daily life through our thoughts. There was not a real appointment in that exercise, but did you notice your feelings change between forgetting the appointment and realizing it is next week? This is because our thoughts affect our feelings. Whether those thoughts are perceiving a situation that is real or imagined. Our thoughts are the powerhouse of our well-being for this reason.

Why are positive feelings important for stress management?

Feelings are going to affect your biochemistry in positive or negative ways. When you are constantly flooded with stress hormones, your body is being poisoned from within. And this is going to affect your mood, your endurance, interactions with others, and your overall happiness. Which makes sense right? Because who can easily have thoughts about the beautiful parts of life when their theoretical house is burning down? Precious energy is diverted. Wouldn’t it be a relief if all of that “trying to make it through the day” energy went into thriving?

Managing Stress Through Breathing

To banish the flight, fight, or freeze response of a stressed system, one simple technique is to breath. And I know you might have heard this before and maybe it’s old news. But have you tried it? For some of you it can sound tempting to discard the idea because it is simple and obvious. But don’t let that aspect of it fool you. When you take 3 deep breaths in through the nose, and out through the mouth like you are blowing through a straw, this sends signals to the brain that the pending threat is gone, and your nervous system relaxes. If you find you are having an especially difficult moment, you can do this for as long as you need. I challenge you to try it right now and notice the difference from before and after. This is the first step of your stress management power moves.

Creating a Positive State of Mind

After you have calmed your system through intentional breathing, the next step is to generate a powerful state of positivity. Remember how I mentioned that our thoughts create our feelings, and ultimately our experience? When you are deciding the thoughts you hold about yourself and the world around you, you are creating your feeling patterns and your state of being. You get to create your internal personal experience, whether you decide for an Pigglet (anxiety) or Tigger (joy) style of experiencing life, that is up to you. Kick those stress feelings to the curb and design a feeling-tone to life that you would love!

1-2-3 Positive State Formula

These are the 1-2-3 steps to generating a positive state:

Write down 1 reason you are proud of yourself this week.
Write down 2 ways you helped someone.
Write down 3 things you are grateful for.

Again, these are simple steps you can take, along with the breathing, to kick out the stress and to give yourself a stable footing to face your day with clarity, confidence, and positivity.

If you are a busy bee, you might be seeing that this takes time and you are already swamped. If you are thinking along these lines, it is important to understand that taking 5 minutes a day for this practice can transform how you experience your entire week! And I challenge you to do this for 7 days in a row to see the added positivity this practice adds to your life.

Why These Steps are Powerful for Stress Management

First, noticing what you are proud of about yourself is going to raise your focus from the low points you might be feeling, to seeing yourself in the positive light you deserve! Because you are accomplished. And I am sure there is more than one reason to be proud of you, but we will keep it simple with one “proud of” for this exercise. It’s about time we are celebrating the successful person you truly are!

Second, noticing how you helped someone else is going to rejuvenate your sense of purpose. You are making a difference. There is good in the world and you are a part of making that happen! Another fun aspect of helping others is that your subconscious will send signals that you are open to receiving help as well. Allow yourself to be on the receiving end too once in a while! Lone ranger syndrome or not, having support is a huge asset. This is especially important when we are overbooked and busy. Accept the help too. Be the giver and the receiver.

Third, gratitude is the ultimate power move for stress management. Focusing on what you do have in your life is going to help you to take your focus off of what you wish was different (which creates stress) and it is going to re-focus you to what you do have. How many times have you taken something for granted until it was gone? This is a great way to appreciate what we do have, to embrace it, and this will also make room for more positive things to enter your life. Like attracts like.

Take time to use these life-changing tools during your stressful week, and you are going to have abundant emotional energy to face your day with confidence and serenity.

Be the extra-positive powerhouse you were always meant to be!

And most of all, enjoy the journey.

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