5 Stress Hacks You Didn’t Know About That Can

Everyone feels stressed sometimes. Maybe you had a rough day at work, or you’re going through some financial difficulties due to circumstances outside of your control. Stress can negatively impact your mental health, as well as your physical health.

If you’re having a hard time coping with stress in your life right now, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ve compiled 5 helpful stress hacks you probably didn’t know about!

1.    Do Tense and Release Exercises

Stress tends to manifest in certain areas of your body, especially your neck and shoulders. You might not be aware of it, but you’re probably carrying a whole lot of tension in these parts of your body. We tend to hold our emotions in under stress, either trying not to address it or not wanting to upset someone else – this constricts the red blood cells and the muscles so you feel ‘achy.’

Thankfully, a quick 15-minute tense-and-release exercise can help you loosen up and relax a bit. Starting with your toes (or you can start with your hands) and working your way up to your neck and face, tense and release your muscles, really focusing on the relaxation you feel. Once practiced, it will be like Pavlov’s dog, where you muscle-memory will kick in and relaxation will be automatic. It’s a an easy routine to establish.

2.    Go For Plenty of Walks

This is great advice for those who get stressed out at work from having to sit so much. Walking not only relieves stress and clears your head, but it has also been proven to improve sleep and inspire creative ideas. If you don’t have time to walk for thirty minutes or an hour, try taking three 10-minute walks throughout your work day. This is a great way, also, to take a brain break to increase your productivity.

3.    Listen to Music

The power of music is pretty amazing, as it engages our whole brain. Listening to calming music is a fantastic stress reliever, and it can even put you in a better mood. Lo-fi music has actually been proven to help people focus more efficiently on their work, especially those who suffer from mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, and ADHD. You can listen to Pharrell’s song, Happy, as a great mood-lifter, along with dancing or movement.

4.    Focus on Your Breathing

You might have heard this one before, but that’s only because it’s such helpful advice! Our breathing patterns tend to change drastically when we’re excited, stressed, or scared. Focusing on your breathing and doing so, in a calm way, can promote relaxation. Listen to the sound of your breath, with your eyes closed, to relax your brain and body, along with boosting your energy. This is a great exercise to try when you’re sitting at your work desk.

5.    Start Journaling

Even if you haven’t kept a journal since junior high school, you can always get back into it! Recording your thoughts and keeping track of your feelings is a great way to relieve stress. Write about your day in your journal each night when you get home from work. That way, anything stressful that might have happened during the day is out of your mind and on the page. You can also set your goals and recognize accomplishments, or gratitudes, which can relax any stress you may feel in the moment.

Coaching Tip:

Managing stress is not easy, as it is an automatic response but, with time and effort, you can master these stress management tips, You will, then, be able to handle any stressors that you face with more ease and live a calmer, less chaotic life.

 

 

If you’re struggling with stress, don’t delay in getting help as it can overtake your life and lead to emotional and physical symptoms. Visit our website to learn about our programs and services. Mastering these can start today!

 

 

5 Tips for Getting Out of a Rut and Starting Fresh

Do you ever feel as if you are in rut – nothing seems to change, almost as if you are experiencing groundhog day daily?

If you feel like life has become predictable, unfulfilling, and boring, maybe it’s time for a fresh start. Deciding to make a change doesn’t mean you have to turn your life upside down, but it is an opportunity to stand back and revise your current way of life. With the next year upon us, this would be a great time to re-evaluate your life circumstances and take steps to break out of the ruts that are tying you.

Whether it’s a lifestyle, location, or career change, there are some simple things you can do right now to get out of that rut and get some positive energy back into your life.

  1. Work out What Makes You Happy

Have you ever sat down and ruminated about what makes you happy? What lifts your spirits and puts a spring in your step? What makes your heart sing and your energy levels skyrocket?

Some people feel happiest out in nature, while others prefer sports or reading. Maybe you love the arts, dancing, or helping people. Or still, perhaps you have skills and talents that make a difference in your work. Make a list of what makes you happy and take action so you can focus on bringing more joy into your life.

  1. Practice Saying Yes

Most people are so busy with the everyday life that they don’t make time to get out of their comfort zone and do something different. When was the last time you tried something new or challenging? Be open to new experiences, start saying yes to yourself, and choose to do things that feel good.

  1. Make a Stop Doing List

Once you start saying yes to the things that feel good, you need to practice saying no. You need a stop doing list! You’re probably well aware of the bad habits you’ve fallen into and the things you do that don’t bring you joy. While there are some things you have no control over, see what energy-draining tasks you can eliminate from your life. Write a list to remind yourself of the things you can choose not to do, and free up time for the things that make your heart soar.

One way to determine this is to do a ‘time study’ on yourself – track your actions from the time you wake up until you go to bed – this can help you determine not just time-wasters, but also your most productive times to take advantage of them.

  1. Declutter

Most people have way too much stuff in their lives. Look around you right now and see what’s holding you back. Clutter includes spending hours scrolling through social media, limiting beliefs, and bad lifestyle habits as well as all that junk in the kitchen drawer.

Purging is actually good for your mental health as it can cause stress and anxiety when living with too much unwanted ‘stuff.’ Get 3 baskets, one for keep, throw out, and donate, and then set a timer – say 20 minutes to start – and then get to work. You will be surprised at how free you will feel after.

  1. Say No to Fear

Perhaps the single most empowering thing you can do to get out of a rut is to walk away from fear. Fear will stop you from taking risks, big or small. It makes you too afraid to try anything new and holds you back from reaching your potential.

Identify your fear(s) and then look at one step you can take to start, as this will stop your fear-center from activating and holding you back. Slow and steady wins the race.

Coaching Tip:

Make a commitment to yourself to take back control of your life and leap into a fresh start. This is the perfect time to get prepared and ready to take action for the new year, that will set you up for success (if you can start now- great!).

 

 

If you’re struggling to move past your fear and get more out of your life, then reach out to get help – we’re here for you!

 

 

 

Learning the Emotional Impacts Of Stress

A new pandemic is unleashing, and with a vengeance – increased stress and emotional problems in the workplace. Or, should I say, from the workplace.

 

Everyday, there are new stories arising that relate to the negative impact that stress is having on workers, which is not industry-specific (although some industries seem to be suffering more, such as healthcare).  According to the American Institute of Stress, 80% of workers are experiencing on-the-job stress, some more severely than others.

 

Stress impacts every aspect of our lives, from physical health to emotional health. More than anything, stress negatively impacts our emotional health. It can cause you to be depressed, emotionally spent and exhausted, and a whole slew of other negative things.

 

In this article, we’re going to help you identify the emotional impact of your stress and what you can do about it.

 

Personality changes that may be caused by stress

The first way for you to identify if your stress is impacting your emotional health is by observing a few personality changes. It’s important to note that by personality changes, we mean long-term. Everyone experiences mood shifts, good days and bad days, etc. We’re talking about noticing these personality changes taking effect for days and weeks at a time, or longer.

 

The following are noticeable personality changes that could be caused by stress:

 

  • Irritability
  • Anger
  • Frustration
  • Hostility
  • Decreased interest in appearance
  • Aggressive feelings or behavior
  • Depression
  • Decreased concern in punctuality
  • Lack of motivation
  • The Reduced work efficiency or productivity
  • Obsessive/compulsive behaviors
  • Excessive auspiciousness or defensiveness
  • Lying or making excuses to cover up poor work or behavior
  • Communication difficulties
  • Isolation
  • Social withdraw
  • Impulsivity

 

If you notice any of the following changes taking hold on your life and emotional health, try to limit your stress and maybe seek additional help.

 

Anxiety disorders

Stress can cause certain anxiety disorders to creep up, come back, or flare up. Stress and anxiety are bed mates and rarely exist without each other. If you’re overworked and over-stressed and do nothing about it, anxiety can start to take hold.

 

If you notice that most everything causes you to feel anxious or even to panic, this could be a problem for you. If you’re unfamiliar with the feelings of anxiety, here are some common signs of panic:

 

  • Heart racing
  • Tightness in the chest making it difficult to breath
  • Stomach pain or feelings of butterflies in the stomach
  • Acid reflux
  • Shaking
  • Flushed
  • Hot flashes or chills
  • Numbness in your hands or other parts of the body
  • Feeling dizzy or light-headed

 

It’s important to note that anxiety and panic affect everyone differently. Each person has a different tell for their anxiety attacks; the best advice we can give you is to pay attention and note your signs.

 

Depression

Stress can also impact your emotional health by causing or worsening depression. It’s very important to address depression if it’s starting to take hold in your life, as it can worsen very quickly with little to no warning. If you’ve noticed any of the following symptoms creep up and not seem to go away, consider talking to a friend, loved one, or mental health professional for assistance:

 

  • Decreased interest in favorite things or activities
  • Social withdraw or isolation
  • Decreased interest in appearance
  • Interest in doing little other than laying around
  • Decreased interest in hygiene
  • Fatigue
  • Sense of hopelessness

 

What to do about it

If you’ve noticed that stress is impacting your emotional health, there are a few things you can do to help it:

 

Eliminate unnecessary stressors

Are you taking on more responsibilities than you need to? Do you stress about little things that you should probably just let go? Sit down and take a hard look at your life and what’s causing you stress. See what you can eliminate or work on not taking so hard or letting go of.

 

Keep to a schedule

Sometimes, what’s stressing us out the most is a lack of control. Scheduling your time and sticking to it can help to eliminate some of that excess stress that’s impacting your emotional health. Making lists each day will help you to keep focused on your tasks – you won’t have to think or worry about what to do – and helps with managing your time.

 

Take time for you

We’re all busy, but it’s important for us to work in some time for ourselves. Self-care is an important part of our emotional and mental health. If you’re having trouble with too much stress in your life, carving some time out for yourself may be just what you need to revive yourself and feel rejuvenated.

 

The most important step is to be aware of when you first start experiencing any of the symptoms listed, and not wait, as this will only lead to problems down the road. It is much easier to cope with them at the start, not waiting until they spiral out of control. Keep a journal or mood chart to capture these, including the time of day, what you were doing, etc. This will help you to be more aware and take control of your emotional health at all times.

 

 

 

If you, ore your team, wants to learn more about how to manage emotional wellness in the workplace, reach out for info on our programs and trainings. Awareness is key. We do work with individuals, both in-person and remote.

 

 

On Your Way to Being Happy – and Achieving More In Your Life

Happiness Is More Than Thinking Positive Thoughts

Everyone wants to be happy, don’t they? Reaching goals, making money, travel, finding love – they all bring happiness. Or do they?

While the dictionary defines happiness as “the state of being happy,” this gives you very little information about the idea or feeling of, or state of happiness. We all have heard of ‘living the dream’ – but does this mean being in a happy state?

Happiness is an internal state and will look different for each individual. Some look to fame and fortune to be happy, while others feel that way by just feeling the breeze. Defining what happiness means to you will lead you to seeking out what makes you happy and not just keep chasing it.

Let’s look at some different aspects that happiness can be, but realize that, in truth, happiness is in the mind of the beholder:

  • Your Needs are Met – When a person is happy, they usually don’t even have any needs that aren’t being met to the level they want them to be met. It doesn’t mean that someone is not having a hard time it’s all about how you make what you have fill your needs.

 

  • You Feel Satisfied – When you are happy you tend to feel simply satisfied with your life. You think about your life and feel good about it. You feel very satisfied when you look around your life and see all the fortune you have whether it’s where you live, who you live with, or just about yourself doesn’t even matter.

 

  • You Feel Content – A happy person tends to feel really content about the things in their life. They feel content about their job, their home, their things, their health – nothing is nagging at their mind about anything causing stress. But remember happy people do have stress, they’re just better at feeling content even when things aren’t perfect.

 

  • You Are at Peace – A happy person often feels a lot of peace surrounding their life and family. They tend to know that everything will turn out okay and are good at turning negativity around to positivity.

 

  • Your Definition – The truth is, happiness is how you define it personally for you. It’s not about getting tons of stuff unless you want that. It’s not about finding a spouse unless you want that. It’s not about having kids unless you want that. It’s all up to you and how you define happiness.

 

  • It’s a Journey – Happiness is not a destination that you get to one day and stay at. It’s a lifelong journey that will have many ups and downs and struggles. However, overall the ups and downs of life, you manage to feel good about it. In the 1989 movie, “Parenthood” one of the main characters, a mother, who is struggling states that she loves “the rollercoaster” of life while her husband is struggling and not as happy because he focuses on the downs instead of the ups.

 

  • It’s How You Act – When you are happy you tend to act in more positive ways over all. When happy, you eat better, you move more, you think differently. Don’t worry. You have it in your power to be happy where you are in your life right now.

 

Here are some quick tips to find your level of happiness:

 

  • Reflect – Take time to spend in self-reflection for your life – the good, the bad, the disappointments – each of these moments can show that you do have happy times throughout your life and, can then, focus on recreating that state to your present life.

 

  • Change Thoughts– reframing negative thoughts to positive ones will alter your neurons so you not only think happy, but feel that happy state of emotions. According to Mark Wahlberg, a neuroscience researcher, you need three positive thoughts to override one negative. Challenging your thoughts (“is this true?”) will create a new habit of positive thinking.

 

  • Practice Gratitude – make it a habit to practice gratitude daily. Write down at least three things (more is better) you are grateful for, and then do the same at the end of the day. This will bring more calm and peace into your life; you will see the good, which creates a sense of happiness.

Happiness is more than thinking positive thoughts. Happiness is having your needs met, but it’s not about having everything, or even the best, it’s about being satisfied with what you have while also being able to work for the things you want. While you do have to do more than think positively to really and truly feel happy, it does start with your thoughts. However, it will manifest with your actions. Follow the steps to get started.

 

 

 

 

 

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