by Frances O'Brien, C.Ht.
Calmness Is Yours
We've all experienced stress. We know how awful and uncomfortable it feels. It seems, at times, like there's no way to avoid it and nothing to do about it once it hits. But there is some good news: Knowing what's actually happening can be the first step to avoiding, reducing or even eliminating stress.
Stress is actually a triggering of your fight-or-flight mechanism. It's as though your primitive mind is telling you that you are about to die, and you had better act right now to stay alive. You may not feel at stressful moment like you're about to die. You may not think about death consciously, but your primitive mind thinks otherwise and has already clicked into action.
Several things change in your body when you're in this state. You might lose your appetite or you might get a sudden urge to eat something with sugar and/or caffeine (stress eating); your heart rate and breathing might become more rapid, your body may release stress hormones; and it might become difficult to think clearly. You may not even be fully aware of these things, you just know you're miserable.
Because of these changes, you may feel frightened, panicked and have difficulty focusing, and it's all because your primitive mind thinks you're about to die and has triggered fight-or-flight inappropriately.
Now that you know what stress really is, what can you do about it?
1. Acknowledge that whatever happened and your emotional response to it are two separate things. This makes your response a conscious process, rather than an autonomic one. It puts you in control.
2. Take long, slow, deep breaths to counteract the rapid breathing. Breathe into the area of your abdomen below your navel. By doing that, you'll engage your diaphragm and fill your lungs properly, instead of shallowly.
3. Say these phrases to yourself, out loud or silently: "I am safe." "It's all right." "All is really well with me." Since your primitive mind is telling you you're about to die, reminding yourself that you're safe is enormously helpful.
For more information on quick and effective ways to reduce, eliminate or evade stress, please visit my website: http://www.relieveyourmind.com/.
Frances O'Brien is a certified hypnotherapist, Emotional Freedom Technique practitioner, teacher and author. Her private practice is located in Tarzana, California, but she also conducts phone sessions anywhere in the world. Her website is: http://www.relieveyourmind.com/.
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