Stress is the feeling you get when your heart starts to race and you become nervous or anxious about something coming or something that has just happened. Stress is not caused by anything that is happening in this very moment, it is created by our mind using fuel from the past or the future. We all experience stress and we all handle it differently. Below is my simple 4-Part Process on handling stress:
- Stop: The first thing I do when I notice the symptoms of stress (heart accelerating, palms sweating, nervous movements, etc.) is STOP. Identifying these symptoms and just stepping back for a second is the first and most important part of the process. If I can’t recognize when I’m stressed, there is nothing I can do to help it.
- Breathe: After I have identified that I am feeling stressed and stopped whatever it is that I was doing or thinking that was causing it, I take a deep breath and really focus on my body inhaling and exhaling for a few seconds. This helps me re-focus on the moment rather than the past or future event that my mind was stuck on and using to create my stress.
- Reflect: Now that I am back in the moment and realize that it is my mind that is creating the stress, I reflect on what it was that made me feel this way. Reflecting on my emotions in a constructive way instead of dwelling on them helps me more quickly identify them in the future and prevent them from causing additional stress the next time that thought pops into my head.
- Relax: Finally, having overcome my stress and knowing that I will be better equipped to handle it the next time those thoughts come about, I sit back relax and enjoy my life. I realize that there is always many more things to appreciate and be happy about than there are to be stressed over.
The next time you feel the effects of stress I hope this helps bring you back to a calm state of mind!