Overcome Stress: Part 2


One of the most important actions for overcoming stress is to relax deeply.  Stress comer from the effects of then fight-or-flight response, and deep relaxation calms the physical and emotional tension arising from this bodily reaction.

Over time the practice of relaxation makes the body less reactive to stress.  Things that once  stressed you out  will no longer do so.

Relaxing deeply when stressed sounds like an oxymoron.  How is it possible?  The answer is to faithfully practice a relaxation technique on a daily basis, whether you are stressed or not.   Start by making a commitment to yourself to overcome stress and then commit to practice your chosen stress-reduction method regularly.   Even if you can only make yourself do it for two minutes at first, start there and gradually increase the time.

Meditation is pBuddha meditatingerhaps the best known method for quieting the mind. The purpose of meditation is not primarily to have a wonderful experience, but to develop the ability to focus, be mindful of what is happening in the moment, and to observe thoughts and emotions without reacting to them. Just by watching them come and go we realize how impermanent they are.

There are many ways to meditate, and not all of them involve sitting still on a cushion or upright chair. Meditation can be done with eyes open or closed, while standing, walking, engaging mindfully in day-to-day activities, focusing on an object or scene without internally commenting on it, or by repeating a mantra.

Yoga, tai chi and qi gong all address the health of the body while also having a meditative  component.  Generally it is beneficial to have a teacher in order to be sure you are following the correct form.

Progressive relaxation is a a practice in which body are parts are systematically tensed and relaxed.  This fosters recognition of what tension and relaxation feel like.  Over time bodily tension is recognized when it arises and can quickly be replaced by relaxation.

Guided Imagery changes the inner landsacape by allowing both right and left brain hemispheres to contribute to overcoming stress.  The logical left brain and the emotional right brain when working together bring a holistic view to a concern, which results in greater understanding and a better outcome.

When making changes in life, it is often a good idea to keep a journal.  At least write down what your stress is like now.  Overtime you will be able to see what is working or not working in overcoming stress , and so can decide what to continue or drop.

Photocredit:  Jennifer Gait
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