Tag Archives: stress

Save water, drink wine

imageYou get home from another long day at work. After you’ve done the things you must (fed the kids, put them to bed, sorted out dinner etc) you sit in front of the TV and grab the bottle of wine that you opened last night, that is now half empty. You and your partner chat about the day as the mindless television allows you to switch off and escape from the stresses of the day. You mess around on Facebook a bit at the same time.

Pretty soon it’s bedtime, you grab the empty bottle and stick it in the recycling. For a moment you think that maybe tomorrow night you will skip the wine, but like Groundhog Day, the next evening you find yourself doing the same thing.

Thing is, you are not the only one. Your friends do it to.

This is the socially accepted norm these days. A glass of wine or two, or three in the evening after work. It helps with the stress.

Pretty soon you are getting tagged on Facebook against images of t-shirts about wine drinking. “Lol” you reply “that is so me”

The arrival of so many T-shirts tells us a lot. Drinking wine in the evening has become a socially accepted norm. Not an addiction. Not a growing epidemic like weight. Just a fun thing to. A fun thing to do to relieve stress. A fun thing that results in weight gain and health issues. A fun thing that you need to cope. Maybe not such a fun thing. Maybe it is closer to an addiction than you have realised.

An addiction is where you use a substance to get  feeling or to escape from a feeling. So what is wine to you?

The problem here is not the wine, it is the fact that there is something in your life that you are struggling to cope with. Wine could easily be replaced with food, drugs, smoking, shopping, gambling, etc.

So when you find that you need that glass of wine to relax in an evening, consider this: why do you need it? What would you feel like if you didn’t have it.

Let it go

Today I went to see Disney’s Frozen at the cinema for the second time. It is one of the more musical films they have released with songs all the way through.

One of the main characters is a Queen who has powers over snow and ice and when she hurts her little sister by accident she ends up locked away from everyone to keep her and them safe.

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She lives by a set of rules and constraints imposed on her by the people around her who are supposed to care about her…and by herself.

Then an incident happens and she runs away and for the first time in her life she is free to be herself.

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And she sings the song “Let it go” which is such an uplifting song with some great lyrics. I think it’s a really clever song and lovely to listen to. I have been playing it on repeat ever since!

And it got me thinking about the rules and constraints that we live our lives by. I think they are especially apparent at Christmas where we spend time with our family and friends. Often that time is a challenge. We can feel like we are being constrained by the way people treat us. Maybe we are still treated like a child. Or we have to behave in a certain way to please other people or not upset them. A way that is not how we choose to behave the rest of the time. 

What would happen if those constraints and rules didn’t exist?

“It’s time to see what I can do, To test the limits and break through, No right no wrong no rules for me. I’m free”

To help I have developed a little download for you. Just go onto a PC or Mac, click the picture below and save the MP3 file down to your computer. You can then stick it on any device you want to listen to whenever you need it.

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Christmas is just a couple of days in a whole year. What can you do this Christmas to step away from the stress and just enjoy yourself?

Bottle that feeling

Have you heard the phrase “Bottle that feeling”? When things are going well you want to find a way to keep that feeling so you can use it when things are not so good.

Well the good news is you can. It’s called an anchor and it might come in particularly useful over Christmas where there tends to be more stress around. 

Imagine if you could recall a feeling of being calm and in control in the heat of the moment when everything is starting to get on top of you. 

Well here you go…this is my Xmas gift to you. A YouTube video to help you build your very own bottled feeling.

Oh and if you have examples of how well this worked for you feel free to share them here and/or like the video on Youtube and share it with your friends. (you can get the link here if it’s not showing)

A-levels

It’s that time of year again where the A Level results are out.

It always reminds me of my results. I was ill for the last year of school and ended up taking my exams at home. I’ve always passed exams. I’ve never done really well but I’ve always passed.

This time I passed 2 and failed one.

I got into University through clearing and never looked back.

Because you see, you can never know where your future will take you.

Everything we do is a stepping stone but sometimes it’s hard to know where the next stone will be until you take the next step.

For me it felt like my world had ended not getting the grades I needed.

But actually it was a good lesson.

Often those doors that shut on us lead to another more interesting door opening.

In this case I met my husband. And started the most amazing life.

Think about it, if you look back on your life and think about those moments where everything seemed to go wrong…where it felt that doors were slamming in your face…if you were able to reach back and think about what other doors opened instead…what might you remember?

And knowing that it is often the case that things seem to happen for a reason, next time everything is looking grim, maybe you can remember those other times and find it easier to cope because you know it will all work out in the end.

Why not share your stories of one door closing and another opening in the comments? I would love to hear them.

Stress

Glas

A psychologist walked around a room while teaching stress management to an audience. As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they’d be asked the “half empty or half full” question. Instead, with a smile on her face, she inquired: “How heavy is this glass of water?”

Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz.

She replied, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, it’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn’t change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.” She continued, “The stresses and worries in life are like that glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and they begin to hurt. And if you think about them all day long, you will feel paralyzed – incapable of doing anything.”

It’s important to remember to let go of your stresses. As early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don’t carry them through the evening and into the night. Remember to put the glass down!

Credit: www.rawforbeauty.com

Just breathe – 7/11 breathing

There is a technique called 7/11 breathing that is useful to calm yourself down in any situation. It works because the mind body connection is two way. The brain can tell the body how to behave, but the body’s behaviour can tell the brain what to think.

When your breathing increases and the adrenalin starts to flow, your brain thinks “What’s going on here then, something must be wrong”

It might kick in a survival response “We are running away from something! quick increase the heart rate, shorten the breath body – we have to escape” and suddenly you find yourself having an attack of anxiety. 

As the brain and body are connected we can change this thought either through the brain or through the body and a simple technique for this just involves breathing. 

  1. Take a deep steady breath in from your diaphragm whilst counting steadily to 7 (this is not 7 seconds, this is a count of 7 at a pace that works for you – you shouldn’t be going red in the face!)
  2. Exhale steadily for the count of 11. 
  3. Repeat for as long as it takes for you to calm down.

This difference in the count serves multiple purposes. It calms your heart rate and breathing down from the physiology of fight, flight or freeze, helping your brain to understand there is nothing to worry about. 

The act of counting serves as a distraction from whatever thought may have hijacked your brain allowing your thoughts to calm down and focus elsewhere. 

** if you find 7 and 11 difficult then try 5 and 8 – it will be just as effective!

 

It’s all about control

In our day to day lives we encounter many situations that we have to deal with. A good chunk of those contain an element which is out of our control. 

Which causes you more stress the bit you can control, about yourself, or the bit you can’t control? 

If you’re anything like me, it’s the bit you can’t control. 

Crazy that isn’t it? We get all worked up and stressed over something we can’t actually control.

Right now my husband is suffering from the side effects of an old back injury. It’s causing him to lose sleep. I have done what I can to help but a lot of it is beyond my help. I feel helpless and that stresses me. 

I find this question is very helpful to give me focus

Is there something I can do about it right now? 

No  – Then worrying won’t make any difference other than harming your mental state

Yes – Then do it, take action and the worry will most likely go away

It may sound like I’m oversimplifying but worrying about something and getting stressed doesn’t actually achieve anything. 

If you need a couple of simple techniques for coping with stress and anxiety, try watching this video

If you think I can help with anything, drop me an email to dawn@thinkitchangeit.com