In this article, Emma will show you how to reduce stress.
Give me two minutes and I’ll show you something about stress. So, stress is the physical aspect of anxiety, the fear emotion.
Stress is how anxiety shows up in our bodies. It comes with things like an increased heart rate, shallow breathing, muscle tension, stomach problems, and headaches.
The Paradox Of Emotions
So, take a second right now and check your back and shoulders. Do you feel any tension there?
Odds are good that you do.
So, go ahead and relax. No really, relax. Relax!
Now for most of you, this did not work. It most likely actually made things worse.
So now you may be feeling stressed out about feeling stressed out.
This is the paradox of emotions the more we try to make them go away the more we magnify them. But all is not lost.
That does not mean that we are powerless over our emotions. We just have to go in the back door sometimes.
For Some, This Is How To Reduce Stress
So, try this instead. Notice an area of your body that’s feeling tense. It may be your shoulders or your face or your back or your hands. Now I’m going to ask you to lean into that tension.
So with the shoulders example, I want you to try to exaggerate that tension. Pull them up hard and tight around your ears. Clench and harden those muscles really feel those muscles tighten and hold it for five seconds. It helps if you scrunch your face.
Okay, now soften those muscles breathe out.
Let’s do it one more time. Tense. Tighten. Now check in with your shoulders. For most people, this helps them soften and relax those muscles in a way that they weren’t able to do by just trying to relax.
Often they’re just asking to be noticed or acknowledged. It’s like our stress is saying “Hey, just notice me for a second and then I’ll move on.”
But when we are constantly trying to keep our emotions at arm’s length, our emotions act more like a toddler saying, “Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom!”
And when you finally give them your attention they say “I went potty on the potty” And you say, “Oh good job! You’re the best!” And the kid moves on.
Now, if we really want to have choice with our emotions, we have to be willing to spend a second and lean into them.
So, what are the emotions you’re most afraid to sit with for a second?