I don’t know about you, but I’ve had a lot of things come up this week that could have totally overwhelmed me and STRESSED ME OUT.
Not only have I had a lot of stressful things come up for me, but my son has been in camp and it’s almost like social interaction overload after a year of Pandemic. He’s been a bit stressed out, too.
So, I had to figure out how to let go of stress quickly, in the moment, for myself…. AND I had to teach these tools to my son so he could use them in his seven year old camp days.
Let me tell you, they have been so helpful!
If we hadn’t of put these tools into practice, I think our days would have been much more tumultuous.
First, start off by noticing when you are stressed. You may think, oh I know when I am stressed, but a lot of us are in a constant state of stress… so, it is good to take some time and figure out the signals our bodies are telling us to let us know that we are stressed.
- What do your muscles feel like? Are they tight and clenched in your jaw or your stomach?
- What does your heart feel like? Is it beating faster?
- What does your breath feel like? Are you breathing shallow and quickly?
These are all typical stress responses that you can notice in your body.
Next, notice what your reaction to stress is. Are you a “Fight or Flight” person or do you “Freeze”?
- If you are Fight or Flight, you might notice your heart racing, you might feel angry, anxious, or super-emotional. If this is how you respond, you need something to help you feel calmer.
- If you a person who Freezes, you might be unable to focus, feel sad or depressed, or want to withdraw. If this is how you respond to stress, you need something to help pick your energy up and take you out of your mind and into your body.
Okay, now that you’ve identified what your typical stress response is, how do you find relief?
- Ground Yourself. Literally notice what is underneath you. Feel your feet solid on the ground. Notice the support under you that you are sitting on. Touch the earth with your hands. This will help you feel supported.
- Notice Your Senses. When you notice things with your senses, it helps to bring you back into the present moment, outside of the churning in your mind and into what is around you. Tune in to:
- Sight – look around you and notice colors, nature, anything you can see.
- Sound – listen to what is around you. What do you hear?
- Smell – notice any scents in the air.
- Touch – feel how the air feels on your skin, touch something soft, touch the things that are around you and take in how they feel.
- Taste – notice any tastes in your mouth, or you could maybe keep something that soothes you on hand like a piece of gum or mint, or even a bit of chocolate or a piece of fruit.
- Move. Moving helps to bring us back into our bodies and helps to disperse the stress and tension we hold there.
- Dance around the room
- Do a yoga pose
- Take a walk or jog
- Shake your body out
- Stomp your feet
- Make some noise. When we make noise, it can soothe our stressed out nerves. When we listen to sounds, it can also be soothing.
- Hum. The simple act of humming has been scientifically proven to release stress and soothe our nerves.
- Sing out. Sing your favorite song or any song that you know.
- Play Music. Listen to some music that makes you feel good and lifts you up.
- Breathe. Take a few deep breathes, focusing on long exhales, and go to a safe place in your mind. Start now by thinking of a place where you’ve felt safe in the past, either in reality or just something you make up in your mind. When you are stressed, bring that memory back up, and breathe slowly.
Please try these tools out the next time you need quick stress relief…. And, if you do, let me know if they helped you relieve your stress.