Taking Control of Stress

Whether you like it or not, stress is a part of everyone’s every day life. Whether it be major or minor, stress is there ready to attack, so it seems. When you think of stress, often times there is a negative, anxious feeling tagging along. Changing your perception of stress is sometimes all it takes to change that negativity, because remember that it IS healthy to have stress in your every day life – it’s when it’s not being handled in a healthy way that it becomes a problem. This can cause many emotional as well as physical burdens in your life. So next time you feel yourself stressed out, here are a couple tips to keep yourself in control and tell your body “Thanks, but I can do this!” 

Practice deep breathing. This is something that many people, including myself don’t even realize we aren’t breathing the most beneficial way. Instead of breathing in with your chest, focus on breathing in from your abdomen. You get more oxygen in your body this way, and in turn will feel less anxious and and tense.
HOW: Sit up straight and put one hand over your chest and the other over your stomach. Breathe in through your nose and pay attention to which hand moves more, the hand on your chest or abdomen. It should be your abdomen. If you notice your chest is rising more than your abdomen, be mindful to breathe in to your abdomen instead of your chest. Breathe out all of the air through your mouth as possible, which should contract your abdomen. Repeat this all while being mindful of your abdomen rising rather than your chest. After so long of practicing this, it will become a habit. 

Get adequate exercise. This seems to be one that gets thrown at everyone who says they feel stressed. But that is because the truth of it is, exercising and just simply moving has been proven to decrease anxiety and harmful effects of stress, along with physical illness. 
HOW: This doesn’t have to be strenuous exercise, it can be as simple as walking around the block, going up and down your stairs a few times, or even just taking 5 minutes to stretch and just move from the position you may have been in. Keep in mind, staying in the same position, especially sitting, is not good for your body and it is recommended you stand up or stretch every hour, at minimum. 

Say NO to stress! I realize this sounds silly, impossible, even. Especially when the stressor is out of your control. However, if you sit and think logically about your personal stress response.. it is in your control HOW you respond to the stress.
HOW: When you’re in a tough situation and feeling stressed out or anxious, take a step back and think about it from an outside view. Is this something you are in control of? Most times it is not. So now you have come to the realization that the stressor is out of your control, lets focus on what you CAN do instead! A little bit of positivity goes a long way. 
We all have those days where it just seems nothing will go right no matter how hard you try, but remember to stop and realize the anxious feeling you have is your body’s way of trying to help push yourself through what is faced in front of you. Be sure to help your body out, though, and take every step you can to turn your stress response into a positive one. As hard as it may be to not worry, remember you are in control of how you feel and respond. This response does NOT have to be a negative one! 

Alyssa Hart
Clinic Coordinator Assistant 
Physical Therapy Consultants 

December 29th, 2015

Posted In: General

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