By Lucy DelSarto, Wellness Educator & Coach –
We’ve all had teachers, but it is the great teacher who makes an impact that is etched in our mind for a lifetime. Such a teacher pushed us outside our comfort zone and, although uncomfortable, we were better off and grew because of the experience.
Stress is a great teacher too. Stress is neither good nor bad; how you deal with it is what makes all the difference. People often blame change for their stress; however, it’s not the change, it’s the resistance to the transition of letting go of the way things used to be and taking hold of what they are becoming that causes the negative stress.
In our fast paced world, we are juggling more balls than ever. Whether you are a child, an adult or a senior, every age has multiple situations or people that seem to stress us out. For the child or teen, it may include peer pressure, academic challenges, fears of rejection and bullying to name a few. Adults deal with a full range of stress including psychological, physical and financial, all of which are multiplied with family and career responsibilities. Seniors deal with the same issues as adults along with increased stress due to failing health, limited income and numerous personal struggles.
Stress is a fact of life, but being stressed out is not.
Not all stress is bad. Having been a professional athlete for many years, I learned how to quickly identify my body’s physical and mental signs of stress. Learning how to embrace and respond positively instead of reacting and allowing stress to compromise my performance enhances my attitude and well-being on and off the court.
For instance, prior to a match with a fierce competitor, my body typically becomes filled with adrenaline, which results in an increase in heart rate, respiration, and blood pressure. The “fight or flight” response triggers my mind into performance mode. It’s “Game time!”
Excellence is achieved when a person understands their body and utilizes the energy source wisely. Stress is part of the growth process. Although you may not choose the stress, learning to identify your initial physical and emotional responses to stress allows you to divert the negative response into a positive one, or, at the very least, reduce the negative impact.
Even the tough times in our lives can lead to better times and better things, like personal growth. Life will never be without storms. Remember, storms are temporary and being prepared can make a tremendous difference in the outcome. Check out the study: What Doesn’t Kill You May Make You Stronger (http://stress.about.com/b/2013/03/13/study-what-doesnt-kill-you-may-make-you-stronger.htm).
Perceptions and attitudes are behavioral and can be altered. As Dr. Wayne Dyer states so beautifully, “Loving people live in a loving world. Hostile people live in a hostile world. Same world.”
The book Peaks and Valley’s by Spencer Johnson (author of Who Moved My Cheese) provides priceless insight into highs and lows in life. Learn how to stay in the peaks longer and learn from the lows. If you read only one book this year, I highly recommend and suggest this be the one. It can be a life-changer!
Wellness and Racquetball Coaching
Your HEALTH is my Business…let’s do wellness together! Call Coach Lucy at 913-709-6059 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure.” Peter Marshall
Begin with Awareness
People respond to stress differently; however, the human body’s reaction typically includes feelings of anxiety, frustration, irritability and impatience, along with accelerated heartbeat and shallow breathing.
5 Quick Deflectors
. Breathe. Take five deep breaths and exhale slowly. Shallow breathing causes your heart to beat faster and your muscles to tense up; thereby increasing stress. Utilize those precious few seconds to get re-grounded and deflate the emotion.
. Say a little prayer or affirmation. Studies show that, compared with those who profess no faith, spiritual and religious people are calmer and healthier. Affirmations speak of the desired results in the present tense.
. LOL. Laughter and smiling reverse the negative stress triggers. Even you if you merely go through the motions, simply putting forth the effort allows the body to reap some health benefits.
. Visualize Calm. Close your eyes for a few seconds and picture a relaxing scene: a waterfall; a walk along the beach or in a meadow; playing with your pet. Focus on the details and include senses such as sights, sound, smells and textures.
. Take a musical escape. Although you may not be able to actually listen to music, have your go-to song in your mind and replay it as a mini get-away.
5 On-Going Tips for Reducing Stress
. Attitude is everything – focus on finding the positive.
. Exercise regularly – your body can fight stress better when it is fit.
. Your diet matters – eat healthier and keep hydrated with H2O (water).
. Let go of ultra – control and perfectionism; they’re temporary at best.
. Be assertive instead of aggressive – assert your feelings, opinions, or beliefs instead of becoming angry, defensive, or passive.