Education & Career Trends: December 13, 2022
Curated by the Knowledge Team of ICS Career GPS
Stress and anxiety are common experiences for many people. Many people deal with stress every day. Work, family issues, health concerns, and financial obligations are parts of everyday life that commonly contribute to heightened stress levels.
What’s more, factors such as genetics, level of social support, coping style, and personality type influence a person’s vulnerability to stress, meaning that some people are more likely to become stressed than others.
Minimising the chronic stress of daily life as much as possible is important for overall health. That’s because chronic stress harms health and increases your risk of health conditions such as heart disease, anxiety disorders, and depression.
Here are some very simple, evidence-based ways to relieve stress:
1. Adjust Your Breath
When you are under stress, your breaths spontaneously become fast, short, and shallow.
That breathing pattern strains your body and creates a downward spiral of more and more stress.
So, it’s good practice to adjust your breath whenever you feel stressed.
All you have to do is follow the three simple rules of optimal breathing:
- Breathe through your nose.
- Breathe into your belly.
- Exhale longer than you inhale.
By deliberately breathing slowly, deeply, and rhythmically, you will signal your nervous system to calm down.
And that, in turn, will spark physiological processes to put your body and mind at ease.
2. Practice Cognitive Defusion
If you are having stressful thoughts, that’s not a problem.
It only becomes a problem if you “fuse” with the thoughts and can’t separate yourself from them.
Imagine, for instance, that you are preparing a presentation for work, and your inner voice says, “Gah, I can’t do this! I am bad at presenting!”
If you are fused with that thought, you will accept it as an objective truth, which allows it to wreak havoc in your mind.
But thoughts aren’t objective truths — they are subjective interpretations.
And you can remind yourself of that by practicing cognitive defusion.
Notice your thoughts, step away from them, and treat them as clouds floating through the sky of your mind.
That way, negative thoughts won’t stir as many negative feelings.
3. Accept What Is
Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.
Imagine, for instance, that you’ve injured your leg.
The pain you experience comes from the damaged tissue.
Any suffering you experience comes from your resistance to the pain.
“I hate this pain! Why won’t it go away? I wish it would just stop!”
Thoughts like these can add a tremendous amount of suffering to your pain.
So, try to accept what is instead of resisting it.
Witness and allow the painful feelings in your body and anxious thoughts in your mind.
Let go of your resistance and let your current situation be exactly the way it is.
It won’t eliminate the pain but it will drastically reduce your suffering.
And that will make your situation much easier to deal with.
Have you checked out yesterday’s blog yet?
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the article mentioned above are those of the author(s). They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of ICS Career GPS or its staff.)