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Reduce your stress ASAP.

Stress can affect us in many different ways and will stem from different threats each time it hits us. However... knowing how to deal with stress no matter the time, place or situation is key to overcoming it and life continuing without getting overwhelmed by it.

In this article, I will give you 4 stress less techniques that have helped me and some of my clients in a specific type of stress situation. These tools are for Panic, S.O.S. moments where we don’t necessarily want anyone knowing that we are actively trying to calm ourselves down, and don’t have time or materials to carry out anything that requires more than ourselves.

Each of these techniques work because they require you to be present and focused on the task at hand, while simultaneously calming the parasympathetic nervous system. Many of the moments where stress gets the better of us, we get caught up in it and it becomes all encompassing. Sometimes it completely takes over and we struggle to think about anything other than how stressed we feel, which is what we are trying to avoid through these techniques.

I like to remind myself of the saying ‘Where your attention goes, your attention grows’ during these types of stressful moments and then divert my attention somewhere more productive and positive.

So... try these tools and take your favourite beyond this article to apply in real life stressful moments!

Finger tapping - it sounds simple, but it requires concentration and activates pulse points. Use the pad of your thumb tip and systematically move it to squeeze the pad tip of your index finger then middle finger all the way along to your little finger. Hold each position for about a second, and push the cushiony parts of your finger together so that as much area is in contact with the thumb as possible. When you get to the little finger, reverse and go back the other way. Do this on both hands at the same time and repeat for a few rounds as you breathe slightly slower than normal. While you do this exercise, bring all of your focus to your fingers and think about how it feels, how the colour of your finger tips change colour, the sensation and the texture. By doing this you come into the present, focus on something other than your stress and come back to the body.

Box breathing - You may have heard of this one because it works and its easy to remember. So easy that all it requires is breathing in for 4 seconds, holding for 4 seconds, breathing out for 4 seconds and holding for 4 seconds before repeating. Repeat it 4 times and if you can close your eyes and focus solely on your breath while you do this it will feel even more effective. Do this at your desk, on the tube, on the loo or in a meeting with your eyes open.

Physicaly Move - I read something a while ago that was talking about anxiety and mornings. It was based on the fact that once our alarm goes off and we wake up, our mind switches on and almost instantly goes to our to-do list for the day.

Now… this is fine if the thoughts aren’t controlling you, and you can then use that list as motivation to get up and get going. However, the problem arises when that thought waterfall then paralyses and prevents one from getting out of bed. The article went on to say that in this instance, one should get up and get moving before the thought waterfall sets in. Why? to put your mind to showering, brushing teeth, getting dressed etc. By the time those things are done you’re less likely to get back into bed and hibernate with your thoughts for the rest of the day.

I thought about the physical movement aspect to the advice and began to apply it to my life. If ever I felt stressed, stagnant, stuck or getting into a rut I'd move. Just move. Not necessarily to go anywhere but simply to move my body and get the energy flowing rather than allowing it to get stuck in that moment... it worked! Now, whenever I feel myself getting caught up in a stressful moment I’ll stand up, shake my arms, jump up and down or just go to another room and wash my hands, load the dishwasher or put something away. I bring awareness to the process and remind myself of the intention to free a feeling that might be about to bubble up. Try it!

Positive brain scroll - this one is almost like a brain dump of anything bothering you but works in replacing the negative with something positive. All it takes is thinking of 5 things you’re grateful for or that have gone well and put a smile on your face recently. It could have been your walk to work, morning coffee, smile in the elevator, less full inbox first thing…. Anything. By focusing on the positive and bringing your awareness to what you’re thankful for you shift gears in the brain and switch it to something more positive and therefore relaxed.

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