Yesterday, I attended an hour course hosted by Inner Space, London called "Relax More, Stress Less".
For me, my main causes of stress are 1) the expectations I place on myself; I want to be a good allrounder. I put my best efforts into everything I do and above all, I want to do a good job; for me, for my clients, for my partner, my family, my friends, my employer and anyone else in the world whilst we're at it and 2) the overwhelming feeling that there is not enough time in the day to juggle the all the commitments I have which I am sure will resonate with the many rather than the few.
I therefore attended the course to gain a greater insight into ways I can manage my own stress more effectively which is one of the goals I have set myself for 2019.
The course commenced with a short guided meditation and finished with creative visualisation with a whole load of information being provided in between.
So what did I learn?
During the session I learned that feeling relaxed comes from the ability to feel you are capable of dealing with what life throws at you. It's about feeling in control and knowing you are able to handle any situation that might come your way.
Stress is a process. It starts with a thought which creates feelings, followed by actions, followed by habits followed by attitude.
Surprisingly to me, the majority of our brain is wired to be positive. However, the power of negative thoughts is so strong that they can take over. As negative thoughts take over, the more you act in a certain way and your brain begins to learn to handle situations in this manner due to neuroplasticity.
It is easy to think of stress as something that happens to us. After all a stressful situation arising and we become stressed. It makes sense right? No.
Stress is essentially a creation of our own making caused. Our thoughts are what drives stress. Rather than seeing stress as something which happens to us, we should look at stress as a messenger that something in our lives requires redress and that action needs to be taken either to; learn something about ourselves, change something or take time out to heal. Therefore stress is a sign that we need to take a few minutes to stop and ask ourselves why? Why am I stressed? What thought has led me to feel this way? What do I need to do to address it?
By doing this at an early stage you can begin to pinpoint the thought that has led you to feel stress and take action to manage it.
There are three steps we can take to manage our stress:-
Transforming your negative thought into a positive thought.
Practice creative visualisation by a) taking a few moments to visualise yourself somewhere calm and peaceful b) visualising a certain situation that is causing your stress and playing it through you mind in a positive way over and over again. For example, if you are nervous about an upcoming presentation visualise it over and over again until you feel comfortable. Think about; what will you say, how will you stand, how will you come across and how will you feel? By the time it comes to giving the presentation, you will feel more confident knowing that you have given this talk over and over again in your mind. You will know what to say, how to stand, how you will come across and how you will feel.
Practice meditation daily.
By implementing these three stress you can learn to address you stress and move forward in a more positive way.
Like anything managing stress requires consistent practice. Neuroplasticity is the brain's ability to rewire itself. Science suggests that it take 7 minutes a day for 3 weeks to change a thought pattern. This is not long at all when taken in the grand scheme of things.
Remaining consistent is key. Making time to stop and reflect when we start to feel stressed requires commitment to begin with by as suggested above, if stuck to the brain will learn to respond in a new way fairly quickly. Therefore if you are able to push through the first few days, you will reap the rewards in the long run.
Overall, I found the course enlightening and empowering. I realised that I am the master of my own thoughts. Provided I can learn to recognise my early signs of stress and make time to practice reflection and taking action consistently, I have the tools to manage my own stress. I would therefore highly recommend the course to anyone who feels they would like to manage their own stress levels more effectively.
For further information and other course provided by Inner Space please see:-