Do you want to combat and manage stress and anxiety for good? Are you really sick to death of the suffering? I don't want to appear funny, but there are people who claim to want to heal themselves, but don't actually do anything. It's hard to believe, but the amount of people that I've come across who moan and winge about life, yet don't get inspired to take any action baffles me. Then it dawned on me why this could happen…hard to believe, but some people actually feel great by feeling bad.
I couldn’t believe this when I heard it, at least on a conscious level. Yet, (and I know I shouldn't really admit this) I've been guilty of doing this myself. Certainly waking up in the early hours of the night, being angry and depressed at not having something, or having a bad time with my life didn't helps things, and of course only re-conditions the subconscious (due to the fact that when you wake up, your brainwaves exhibit mostly Theta waves, which is used in some peoples cases to re-programme the subconscious). I woke up once and tried to study the depression that I was feeling, to try to get a grasp of the feeling that I was having while being in a nice comfy bed.
To the best of my knowledge, despite it feeling bad and dis-empowering, there was like an addiction to the depression I was feeling. Even when I realized what was going on, and tried to loosely fantasize a happier outcome, my subconscious would come roaring back with ‘oh that's impossible, stop being delusional' etc. It took quite the effort to somehow break this spell, by sheer mental willpower (which is never nice early in the morning).
So believe me when I say, while I sympathize that people have stress/anxiety and many other mental health problems, there are some people who subconsciously like this. It's a hard pill to swallow, but learning to see if you a secretly sabotaging your success will go a long way to enable your recovery.
That is part of the reason why I started this blog, to try to help people with what I've experienced. Now, I'm not going to list all of my ills here, but I thought I would summarize what I believe to be the top 4 ways to reducing stress and anxiety. Here we go;-)
Summary – can be used to great effect at reducing (and some people would say, eliminating) long term anxiety and stress. Has been around and used for thousands of years, and baring some ridiculous miracle posture that cures all ills, will be around for the next 50 thousands years (as far as I'm concerned, providing that we don't destroy our planet due to spiritual ignorance, of course!!!). Has the ability to help reduce your ego mind chatter, and increase intuition.
Pros – Numerous benefits to list them all here, but the main basis is certainly an increase in spiritual, mental and emotional well-being. Ability to heal past emotional wounds, and also helps create mental clarity so that you can think more clearly on the task at hand, allowing you to finish your goals, hopefully to better your life. Can be said to help with out-of-body experiences as well, especially being in the, ‘now'.
Cons – Not many, really, but it can be an absolute bugger to get started, especially if you simply don't know what to do, or you have severe stomach gut issues which prevent you from relaxing completely. All it really takes is for you to move your attention from your thought process, to either your body, your breathing, or even the sounds outside Do this for a few minutes, and you should start to feel a deep peace. The issues is that some people find this, in itself, difficult. We have been trained to use our minds all the time, and the invention of the Gregorian calendar didn't really help things when it came to the invention of time (but that's for another day;-). Still, you know what they say, practice makes perfect!!!
Summary – Well established fact, that if you want to change your lifestyle, what you put into your body also has a significant effect on how you think. Think of eating sweets, and feeling really restless and energetic, for example. So it goes without thinking, that if you want to have a goods nights sleep, drinking coffee at 9 pm (and it is said that caffeine has a half life of 6 hours!) isn't really going to help matters. Get your diet right, and your head should follow (not sure if I read that somewhere, but thought I'll put it in anyway:-)
Pros – It's diet, what do you think? Nutritional food, with nutritional drink, will help keep the body healthy, and your thoughts calmer. Don't forget, the mind and body are interrelated, so what you think will manifest (to some degree) with your body, and vice versa! (Think of stress related illnesses as one example). It has also been documented, that loving thoughts helps almost single handedly to help the molecules of the water (think of Dr. Emoto, and that famous water experiment). And as our bodies is made up of around 70% water, it's not hard to imagine the power of feelings on the body.
Cons – Of course, if your busy, this is that last thing you will care about. Busy people eat whatever they can (they have do, they don't have time to prepare a nutritional snack) and of course if they are busy, the chances are that they need as much energy as they possible can get their hands on.
So we're talking chocolates, energy drinks, and so on. And don't forget, you have your emotional eaters (of course) who will always eat something specific to keep their stress levels away (called a coping mechanism). The thing is, emotional eating and eating in a rush does no one any favors, and one needs to create a more healthier coping mechanism, and of course, manage your time better (always helps).
Summary – Getting your sleep is absolutely vital to keeping your stress levels to an all time low, as well as being able to focus on your goals, and having a clearer mind. I know I probably shouldn't admit this, but the article I researched for stress and sleep here was one of the biggest eye-openers for me.
Quite simply, sleep does more than you think! Alright, you already knew that, but they say that it is always quality sleep rather than quantity that always counts. I'm going to go one step further and say that it is the amount of non-rem sleep that you have (don't forget, your sleep in 90 min cycles, with REM, the eye-twitching one, being the last stage of this cycle. It is also the type of sleep that allows you to dream…whether you remember it or not is another matter;-).
But we need as much non-rem sleep as possible, due mainly (but not exclusively) to the good ol' Human Growth Hormone being released, probably given us that, ‘freshness' that we feel when we wake up after a good night.
The thing is, we cannot plan how much non-rem sleep we're going to have, that is why it is recommended that we have between 7 to 8 hours. Of course, there are those people who use delta CD's and meditation to help…
Pros – Getting a good, refreshing sleep as numerous benefits, from improved memory, to reducing the risk of some physical ailments, to improved cognitive functioning, and of course, feeling great for the day. It allows you to keep your focus, and helps reduce your stress and anxiety levels (or at the very least, allows you to manage them more effectively).
Cons – For those insomniacs, or people with other sleep disorders, and of course, people who work nights, sleep is a luxury they simply cannot have. Meditation will help, but ultimately, a change in lifestyle may be required (especially those people who are too stressed, or even on a burnout to get any hours of sleep at all). I hate to say this, but medication, or sleeping pills may be the only way. But only if you are able to take the side effects…
Summary – I had heard of EFT before I started my blog, and to be honest with you, when I did my research for my post, EFT and Stress, I didn't learn anything too new…
Having said that, I did learn a few more things. Firstly, the Chinese used a version of acupuncture (which later inspired EFT) to help treat physical illnesses, not emotional ones. And secondly, EFT can be used to treat nearly everything emotionally bound.
It's free, it's quick and best of all, it's fun. And there's nothing better than feeling better and like a huge weight has been lifted off of you shoulders. I've used it myself to help reduce my OCD to around 60%, have used it for a job interview, to get better focus, and even (and this even surprised me…) get more energy.
That's right, using EFT in a certain way can get you more energy and help you feel more refreshed (although truth be told, I used it after a decent nights sleep and after meditation, so perhaps the two can work hand in hand…food for thought).
EFT is fast becoming huge popular, due to it's widespread, and natural benefits.
Pros– Too many to list here, but mainly nearly all psychological conditions and some physical ones (as it is said that many illness are stress induced illnesses). EFT has been said to help reduce autism symptoms, and can also vastly help with PTSD, depression, and many other ailments. It can take as little as a few minutes each day, and the results can be long lasting.
Cons– Not too many, but I did notice in my research that the people who really benefit with EFT are the ones who do it longer than 5 minutes, so perhaps EFT isn't the shortest treatment of them all (depends I suppose, on the problem at hand). Also, EFT isn't perfect, and can't cure all conditions physical or otherwise, under the sun. There are of course, limitations, as to what you can use EFT for. And don't forget, it has it's own competition in the likes of PSTEC and IST (which I will be doing future articles about, so watch this space.)
Like meditation, you have to dedicate a certain amount of time to get the maximum benefit from EFT, and some stressful people simply do not have that time. But if you do have 5 minutes to spare, it's not a bad place to start, even if it does look silly…
What's your favorite coping mechanism for stress, anxiety or depression? Let me know in the box below;-)