Reduce stress - Five easy steps

In today’s world, more people are finding it harder to cope with day to day stress. Regardless of occupation, seniority, or salary, we’re spending more of our days feeling drained and out of control, instead of focused and calm.

While some stress is a normal part of the life (which is why resilience is such a great skill to have) high levels of stress can reduce your productivity and have a negative effect on your physical and emotional health.

Signs and symptoms of stress
  •   Feeling anxious, irritable, or depressed
  •   Apathy and loss of interest in work, hobbies and activities
  •   Problems sleeping
  •   Fatigue
  •   Trouble concentrating
  •   Muscle tension or headaches
  •   Stomach problems
  •   Social withdrawal
  •   Loss of sex drive
  •   Using alcohol or drugs to cope
Time to change

Another way of thinking about stress management is “state management”. In NLP the term “state” is used to describe our way of being at any moment. It is made up of our physiology, thoughts and feelings, and is greater than the sum of its parts. States are the most immediate part of our experience; they vary in intensity, length and familiarity. There is good news, our state changes throughout the day, meaning it is impossible to stay in any stuck state for very long.

States affect our ability to perform to our best, when under stress our performance can drop by 20-30%. Learning how to manage your state will leave you feeling more in control of the external influences that impact on our general well-being and capability to perform, experiencing both the highs and lows, whilst knowing that you have a choice of how you react to any given experience.

1. Change your thinking

Think of a time when you felt the way you want to feel. Associate with the experience; be there again, seeing out of your own eyes, feel the positive feelings.

2. Change your Physiology

Change your posture, adopting a positive posture will make you feel calmer. Smile, this simple act makes you feel happier, because when you smile you release the body’s natural feel good chemicals in the brain.

3. Move

Exercising will release the body’s natural mood enhancing chemicals beta-endorphins, which are powerful mood enhancers.

4. Change your breathing

Breathing more deeply releases a hormone called Oxytocin which sends a signal to the fight and flight area of your brain to say that danger is over and you are safe. Close your eyes and breathe in for a count of five and out for a count of seven.

5. Relax your muscles

Relax the shoulders and muscles in the face and neck and this will help you to feel calmer.