6 Ways to Relieve Stress

Stressed to the Point of Implosion

Does hair-pulling, shoulder-tensing stress have you wadded into a ticking time bomb? Diffuse that stress with these 6 easy tactics to relieve stress.Does hair-pulling, shoulder-tensing stress have you wadded into a ticking time bomb? Diffuse that stress with these 6 easy tactics to relieve stress.

I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that money issues often stress me out. Two-thousand-fourteen had a whopper of those. I closed a retail business at the end of 2013 to start my coaching practice. I had enough in savings to get me through the year while the new business got started. Unfortunately two roofing issues and some major house construction (a result of the roofing issues), ate into that savings quite a bit. To further add to the mix, my husband’s job was no longer as secure as it was six months ago.

6 Techniques to Relieve Stress

Without the techniques that I’m going to share with you, I would be a nervous, tense, sleep-deprived wreck at this point. Such a state would certainly hinder any momentum to move forward, both personally and with the coaching practice. Thankfully I began implementing several of these techniques even before the stress factors kicked in full force.

  1. Breathe. Slow, deep breaths. If you are a regular reader, you know that I preach breathing. I am aware of when a situation is causing my blood pressure to rise or my muscles to tense, and before I react in any way, I breathe. Three slow, deep breaths. Try it right now. It’s very calming.
  2. Drink water. If you’re dehydrated your level of the stress hormone cortisol increases. Aim to keep your base stress level as low as possible, and water will aid you doing that.
  3. Meditate. If you don’t have a regular meditation practice, start out easy: five minutes of quiet deep breathing. Alternatively you can listen to soothing music, practice yoga, or participate in a relaxing aspect of a hobby or sport (gardening, knitting, singing, cooking, drawing, dancing, running, kayaking, swimming, etc.).
  4. Be aware of what you can control and what you can’t. Staying up all night worrying about things I can’t control isn’t going to solve any problems. Believing that I will find a solution to any problems that arise, and getting a good night’s sleep so that I can be clear-headed in the morning is much more beneficial. Not always easy, but certainly a  calm and rested mind can make better decisions than one that is fraught with worry.
  5. Say positive affirmations every day.  This has helped me so much that I wrote a book on the power of positive affirmations and how to use them. Here are a few to help you if you are feeling stressed:
      • I am responsible for the success I achieve.
      • I am confident, competent, and calm.
      • I am capable of any task given to me.
      • I deal with problems immediately.
      • I live in an abundant universe.
      • I invite and allow money in my life.
      • My days are rich with opportunities.
  6. Express gratitude. I wake up and think about three people for whom I am grateful. Before bed I think about three things for which I am grateful. The day before Thanksgiving 2013, I stood in my basement surrounded by 12 large plastic tubs that were gathering the gallons of water pouring in from our roof issue. I stood and cried, not because of the water coming into my house, but because I was still going to be able to spend Thanksgiving with my husband and children. A pastor’s family in our community was not. That same day a man set himself on fire and ran into a local church, setting the church offices on fire. The pastor didn’t make it out of the building in time. So be thankful for what you do have, and make a conscious effort to think about people you are grateful for every day. Go beyond just thinking about the people, actually express the gratitude: write a letter or a short note, give the person a call, or if they’re no longer living, write about them in your journal.

Practicing these techniques has given me a safe and calm anchor point. I can find that anchor at any given moment which helps me keep things in perspective. I’m less likely to overreact and more likely to make rational decisions based on fact and not emotion.

Try to implement one of these techniques today (I’d start with the breathing). Continue practicing that technique daily while adding in a new technique every couple of days. Do you have any techniques you already use to help you cope with stress? Please share in the comments or on our Facebook page.

Awareness of Influence

Who Are You Spending Your Time With?

“You are the average of the five people you spend most of your time with” says Jim Rohn, renowned businessman and motivational speaker. Are you aware of who you are spending most of your time with?

Take a moment to write down the five people with whom you spend the most time interacting on a regular basis. Perhaps it’s co-workers, your spouse/partner, or friends. Now rate how much of a positive influence that person is on your life. Do they help and support the goals you are trying to achieve? Or are they usually sabotaging (even if innocently) your efforts for self-improvement? You can assign each person a numerical rating on a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being most positive influence or makes you feel most uplifted), and take the average.* Are you happy with the result?

Who’s Opinion Influences You?

I would go so far as to say it’s not just the amount of time, but even more so the person’s influence on you. How much do you rely on this person’s opinion and character in making your decisions? You may only spend 20-30 minutes a week conversing with your mother (and in contrast spend much more time each week with co-workers). If your mother is always putting you down or being unsupportive of your goals or questioning your relationships, you may place more value on her opinion than you do a co-worker with whom you share a cubical, and spend 40 hours with every week. Your mother is, after all, your mother. So now go back to your list and revise to include those with whom you may not spend an exorbitant amount of time with, but whom have a strong impact on your decision making process – positive or negative. Add no more than two or three, and it’s possible you aren’t adding any as they may have already been included in your original list. Rate the new people added, but don’t average them in.

Now compare their rating to your average; is the rating higher or lower than your average? If lower, than you will want to lessen the amount of time (further) or lessen the amount of influence that person holds over you. If it is higher, than you will definitely want to spend more time with this person.

You Influence Others As Well

It is important to be aware of what influence your interactions have on others as well. Are you supportive and inspiring with others? Are you contributing to the negativity? Strive to be helpful and positive. Your gestures don’t have to be grand, as many small actions can add up. Improving and growing yourself will in turn help others to improve and grow.

Take time this week to really think about who you spend most of your time with. Are these the people that are going to push you UP or drag you DOWN?

* add the five ratings and divide by 5 to get the average.

Awareness of Food and Eating

Your relationship with food matters

You are what you eat – or so the saying goes. So how aware are you of what you are consuming on a daily basis? How aware are you of your relationship with food? That’s right, relationship. A lot of people do not have a good relationship with food, and I don’t mean that sometimes eating onions gives you indigestion. While being aware of what foods cause you gastronomic distress is a good thing, it is critical to your health and well-being to have a good relationship with food.

Think about how you feel in regards to the following statements:

  • Food’s purpose is a source of nutrients that fuel my body
  • I forget to eat if I’m busy doing something else
  • I find myself snacking all day, especially on things that are sweet or salty (or both!)
  • I’ve been known to polish off a bag of chips or pretzels while watching television
  • I can’t get my day started without coffee. Lots of coffee.
  • I love food, but food doesn’t love me
  • I listen to my body for clues as to what I should eat

Food as the necessary evil

This was my relationship with food for a long time. I had better things to do than spend an hour in the kitchen whipping together a meal that would take ten minutes to consume. That just didn’t seem like a good return on my time investment. As a result, I either skipped a meal, or chose something quick and usually processed to consume.

In the past year, I’ve begun to change my mindset about food. Instead of looking at food preparation as a chore, I’ve come to view it as an opportunity to take a break and meditate. I’ve chosen to make my health a priority, and in doing so I’m more concerned about what foods I’m putting into my body. This shift has allowed me to look at food in a different way: more as a life sustaining force and less as a means to stop my stomach from growling. Food preparation has become a sort of meditation practice: the chopping of the vegetables, stirring the soup or sauces, smelling the herbs and spices, spreading the nut butters on toast – whatever action of preparation I do, I do it fully aware of how it is transforming the food which will in turn nourish and transform me.

How you eat is as important as what you eat

I am also mindful as I eat. I chew each bite as much as a can, savoring the flavors and texture that bite of food has to offer. This also allows the enzymes in my mouth to begin breaking down the food, which means a bit less stress on my stomach enzymes and easier digestion. All that chewing takes time and slow eating makes you feel full with less food consumed.

Although I’ve been undergoing this mind shift about food for almost a year, it is still a process that I have to think about; it doesn’t come naturally to me to think of food as a friend. For a while that bothered me. Surely if I “practiced” my good eating habits I should start prepping and eating healthy meals without giving it much thought. But I realized it is the giving it thought that is the healthy part. The awareness of the preparation and eating is the very thing that is nourishing my soul while the food itself is nourishing my body.

Spend some time this week being aware of what you are eating and how you are eating. When you are aware, you are more likely to make healthier choices and to not overeat. Share your thoughts over on our Facebook page.

Becoming Aware of Who You Are

Your personal growth is greatly enhanced by becoming more aware of who you are as a personPersonal growth is the process of improving oneself through activities that develop talents and potential, which in turn make you more employable, enhance your quality of life, and lead you to realizing your dreams and aspirations. Your personal growth is greatly enhanced by becoming more aware of who you are as a person.

In order to develop your talents, you have to be aware of what they are. Your awareness cannot stop there, you must also realize the best way for YOU to develop that talent and potential. Your method of learning may not be suited to someone else.

There are a multitude of online “tests” that will give you insight into the type of person you are. It is best to use these results not as a definition of who you are, but rather as a way of understanding why you are the WAY you are. I always like to read over the results to see with what I agree and disagree. Lots of insight can be gained just from that! There are links at the end of this article to some of the personality tests you may find insightful. Remember, no one personality type is better than another.

Action is born out of awareness

Actions that you take, particularly positive and forward-moving actions, are a result of your being self-aware. If being around crowds of people makes you anxious, and you are aware of this, then you know what actions you can take to avoid or minimize your interaction with crowded situations. I don’t go shopping at the local mall between Thanksgiving and Christmas because I don’t like crowds or the noise or the rush. This means that in order to get my Christmas shopping done, I have to shop early and/or shop online. Do I miss out on some great deals? Maybe. But I keep my sanity, and for me, that is worth more.

As you start to think about your goals for the coming year (you are starting to think about them, right?!), you will better be able to set up actionable steps if you are aware of what works and doesn’t work for you. If you have consistently failed to reach goals in the past, it may not be the goals themselves that are the issue, but rather the actions you are taking to try to achieve them.

How self-aware are you?

The definition of awareness is “knowledge or perception of a situation or fact.” Self-awareness is not just about being aware of what you are doing; you need to be aware of what you are eating, who you are associating with, and how you react to stress and other emotional triggers. Being fully aware is minimizing the amount of time you spend functioning on autopilot.

I’ll be spending this week posting about awareness, particularly self-awareness in the aspects of eating, personal associations, and stress triggers. The discussion is ongoing over on our Facebook page and on Twitter. Please join us and share! Sign up for our mailing list to receive links to all the Awareness Posts.

Links to online personality type “tests”:


Big Five (I found this one quite insightful, even though I didn’t agree 100% with my results)

Ayurveda (more about body type, but insightful to personality traits are well)