I wanted to take some time to talk a bit more about stress. To truly work on reducing stress or anxiety in the moment, it’s important to be able to identify our unique triggers and then make note of how our bodies and minds react.
In this video I talk about identifying stress triggers as well as the specific physical and emotional reactions we may have to each. I also discuss four techniques to help reduce stress and/or anxiety in the moment, which are:
This is great for situations where you need to bring your heart rate down. It can work very quickly and can be done anywhere! If you haven’t already seen, here are some links to previous things I’ve done where I talk about diaphragm breathing in more detail:
This works well to lower heart rate and has the added benefit of mental distraction. Often with stress, we don’t necessarily need to distract our minds, but that’s very often the case with anxiety, which is why technique is particularly effective for increased heart rate due to anxiety. It’s also usually combined with diaphragm breathing. The point is to try to breathe as deeply as possible; that’s how the system is jump-started to begin the process of bringing that heart rate down.
Visualization is primarily geared toward addressing the mental/emotional aspects of stress and/or anxiety. The idea for each is to imagine the situation or scene in excruciating detail. There are two primary ways I discuss using this technique:
· Situation/scene as preparation – this one is generally associated with an upcoming stressful situation such as taking an important exam, giving a speech in front of people, using a feared mode of transportation, etc.
· Happy place for calming – this is generally associated with quelling anxiety and is used to provide an escape for a racing mind or distraction.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Progressive muscle relaxation is unique and can be performed different ways. The purpose of this technique is to force physical relaxation of the muscles that we tense from stress and anxiety. In the video, I reference an article I found from University of Michigan, which I am linking here. They give very specific step-by-step instructions and a list of body parts to tense each time if you want a full body experience!
Each of these techniques have specific advantages and can be quite effective when used at the right time – we just have to figure out which we need for ourselves in any given situation. And hey, just as with anything else, we get better with practice!
Did you like the vlog instead of the blog? Anything you want to hear about in the future? Let me know in the comments!