5 Appropriate Ways to Deal with Stress
Claire - Thursday, May 30, 2013
If you had a chance to read this blog on Primal Responses to Fear, you may have recognised some of your own patterns to how you respond to stress. Stress is a normal part of everyone’s life. Small amounts are what get us out of bed in the mornings and motivate us to make positive changes in our lives. It is chronic high levels of stress and responding to stress in a self-destructive way, self-defeating way or both.
Being able to recognise what our default response to stress is good, but what is even better is working our which forms of stress relief will have the biggest impact to help us move towards a happier healthier life. Each of the stress responses requires a different counter action.
So, here are 5 suggestions on how to de-stress based on your default responses:
1. For the Fighter: The fighter often gets caught up in how bad it all is and can cave under the intense feeling of how unfair life is. A gratitude journal is the perfect way to counter the stress of life. Start by writing down what is good, but then really focus on why it is good. Feel into your body the emotions that come with the good stuff, the deep sense of love and joy.
2. For those that take flight: Running away can be a great response to being chased by a lion, but most of the time in our modern lives we are just trying to dodge and avoid problems that will keep springing up until they are fixed. Meditation is the best way to stop running. Seeking that stillness within your mind and your body will help to balance the adrenaline of flight.
3. For those that freeze: No matter how little you change things, the world has moved around since you became stuck. There is no status quo; things will never be the same again regardless of your stillness. Move, move your body, run, dance, jump, skip, climb. Move your furniture, swap you cupboards or draws around. But move.
4. Disassociation is a lack of connection. When being connected has created pain and fear in the past, you will move away from it and from yourself. To release this link between connection and pain, you need to connect in love. A great way to do this is to sit cross-legged opposite someone you love and trust and look into each other’s eyes. There is no need for words, just hold each other’s graze and allow any emotions to bubble to the surface. You could also try dipping strawberries in chocolate and feeding each other to release extra oxytocin, the hormone of love and bonding.
5. Tend and Befriend. When your value is completely attached to how others see you, it creates a huge amount of pressure to perform for them. If this is your default stress response then to de-stress requires some alone time. Getting out in nature, without phones and friends just time for you is a good way to counter the expectations of others. Nature has no judgment and no expectations of you. Nature doesn't care if you are Christian or Japanese or hairy or skinny or a thief or write poetry. Being on your own in nature is the best way to counter tend and befriend.
Looking at it this way, you can see why it is important to tailor your stress relief to how you respond to stress. Meditation for those that freeze will do as much good as running for those that take flight. Now is the time to look at your patterns to work out what will work for you.