Stress Less

Simple Stress-Busting Tips & Tools

Everything in our environment can be a potential source of stress, but ultimately stress is generated from within us. Identifying what is creating the most stress in your life & then creating a game plan is the first step to getting a handle on it. Here are just a few simple tips & techniques to help you get started.

The STOP Tool

In his book, The Inner Game of Stress, author W. Timothy Gallwey suggests a simple approach termed STOP. It's a surprisingly simple tool, but effective nonetheless. The intention is to stop thinking & reacting unconsciously and make a shift to being conscious. Here are the four parts:

  1. Step Back. Stop the momentum & put some distance between you & what is happening.
  2. Think. What is the truth about what is happening? What's causing you to feel stress in this situation? What are your priorities, options & obstacles?
  3. Organize Your Thinking. What's your plan of action?
  4. Proceed. Move forward, with increased clarity and understanding.

Accept That You Can't Control the Universe

We put a lot of energy into trying to control the universe. We try to assert our control on traffic, the weather, our children, our boss, our coworkers, our spouse, and the list goes on. It's exhausting.

There are lots of things that we can't control, but there's one thing we always have control over - our own thinking. What we think & choose to believe about a circumstance is what causes us to either feel stress, fear & anxiety or on the flipside - peace & contentment.

Find freedom in letting go of trying to control the uncontrollable.

Here's an example: Your boss dismissed an idea that you thought was brilliant, & immediately you feel a surge of resentment? Why? Most likely, your mind has perceived that you've been dealt a huge injustice. Thoughts immediately flood your mind, such as, "My boss should listen to my ideas more." or "She doesn't respect me."

Practice taking back power over your own emotions by acknowledging that you don't have control your boss's thoughts and actions, & that choosing to believe the thought "She doesn't respect me." is a painful thought that creates more stress in your life.

Separate out and identify only the facts of the circumstance. Then ask yourself:
  • Am I trying to control a circumstance or another person's thoughts or actions?
  • What is my negative thought causing my stress?
  • Who would I be without this thought?

Resist the Seduction of Stress

In our fast-paced, busy world, we've become very accustomed to a certain level of stress in our lives. Living with chronic stress has become our "normal" mode of operating.

Without realizing it, we become adrenaline junkies, and we're worried we'll become to laid-back without some level of stress to give us an "edge".

Be cautious about becoming an adrenaline junkie, because the stress system of the human body is only meant to kick-in for emergency, life-threatening situations. Too much long-term stress on the body creates a chemical imbalance that will eventually take it's toll on our emotional, physical & mental health.

Learn to Relax To Recharge Your Batteries

Learning to relax is easier said than done for some of us, but developing relaxing daily activities into your life can be incredibly beneficial in managing stress.

Here are some of the most common relaxation techniques to get you started: Yoga, Massage, Meditation, Guided Imagery, Progressive & Deep Muscle Relaxation, Self-Hypnosis, Autogenics, Journaling, Practicing Gratitude, Hot Bath, Sauna or Steam Bath, Music, Walking & Reading.

Practice relaxing & taking short breaks through out your work day as well. Stepping away from your work area and taking some long, cleansing breaths only takes a few moments, but can stop the momentum of stress & physically relax your body.

Be patient with yourself and the process & try not to expect too much too soon. Learning to relax takes time, but the results are well worth it.

Mari Anne Auwarter

BodyWise ~ Fitness For Body and Mind

Yoga, Fitness, Weight Loss Coaching & Healthy Living


Phone: (612) 730-8065