Quick De-stressing Tools

What I offer here are Quick Tools for instant relief, from many wonderful inspirational sources I’ve been privileged to learn about over the past decade and more.  A few I discovered on my own but in these days with instant world-wide communication I would not be surprised if others noticed the same mechanisms in their own lives…

I know these tools will help you relax quickly when you feel stressed and strained.  They can be used in addition to longer-term tools for achieving ease and comfort, like ‘Mindfulness Meditation’.  And they can become similarly effective if practised long-term as well [no matter how little you feel like doing so].

The longer and more intensely you practise swimming, the more likely you are to win Olympic medals and be able always to swim really well.  I bet Chad Le Clos doesn’t just train when he’s “in the mood” to do so!  The more you practise being relaxed enough, the more you will be an Olympian-level de-stressor and be able to avoid unnecessary and harmful stress in any situation.

Conversely, if you meditate only occasionally for 30 minutes, you may want to believe meditation doesn’t help you; if you brush your teeth only occasionally your dentist will probably get rich.  Even Quick Tools can only work if you apply them consistently, especially when you don’t feel like it!

Good Stress [eu-stress] vs Bad Stress [di-stress]:

We need stimulant chemicals like adrenaline to experience excitement, focus, fun, success, etc. – all very necessary for us to have great, joyful, passionate, exalted, effective and still ‘chilled’ lives.  This is called eu-stress: we love it and benefit from the chemicals associated with engrossing activities.

And we can also experience adrenaline and other steroids as negative stress [distress], for instance in panic attacks, fear, rage, anxiety, jealousy, or ‘jittery’ reactions.

Though we say we don’t love these states some of us still experience symptoms of addiction to the stimulating stress chemicals whether they are experienced as feel-good or feel-bad.  [See the article on Hurdle Habits that will be published in January 2014.]

“There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so” [from ‘Hamlet’ – Shakespeare].

The same basic chemical-combinations are released when we experience excitement and ecstasy, as when we experience terror and rage.

Some people scream with delight when they ride a roller-coaster; some scream with terror.  It’s the same stimulating event, but some of us believe we’ll die [me too!] and others believe they’re having the greatest fun ever.  Depending on the habits of how we started to interpret stimulating chemicals earlier in our lives, we add tons of other feel-good or feel-bad chemicals to the mix, BY HOW WE THINK ABOUT situations.

But we can choose not to remain victims of learnt habits that make us feel mad, bad, sad, and scared.  We can choose – each time we are tempted to enjoy the stimulation or comfort of misery – to use Tools to make us feel Good instead.  Even if just for a few minutes initially: Nothing succeeds like Success:  a few repetitions can help our unconscious mind change a belief of ‘nothing can help’ into ‘I can be helped’.  [The very occasional win is what keeps gamblers optimistic! J]

With practice, very soon “I think I can” becomes “I know I can”, “I can, I can”, and then “I knew I could!”  It’s the pictures and movies you play in your mind that control your emotions, not reality.  And your non-verbal play-acting as well as verbal descriptions of your life and future [and even your past] determine the picture and chemicals [= emotions].

Sample of Quick De-stressing Tools:

Smile and laugh: 
Yes, I know you don’t feel like laughing when you’re sad or mad or scared etc., but remember Olympic Gold requires diligence, not indulgence!  What I found and tested successfully on hundreds of clients is that you CAN change your leaden feelings into golden ones very quickly by pulling your mouth into a split similar to a smile or even grimace – who cares!

Each time you do that and keep it in that position, your brain ‘understands’ that you are in a happy, safe space and will instantly send feel-good chemicals to your whole body, so that you will soon actually feel better!  You can test this – when you’re NOT hungry, study bright coloured pictures of delicious food, close your eyes and imagine the smell, temperature, texture, and taste of the dishes:  usually within 23 – 45 seconds you will experience a whole lot of extra saliva in your mouth, full of enzymes to digest the food that is NOT real – just like your ‘smile’!

Move enthusiastically and vigorously:

Many clients become anxious when their habitual active lifestyle is prevented [for instance by injury, illness, extra responsibilities, lack of space, impaired freedom of choice, etc.].  If nothing else is possible, do jumping jacks or sit and swing your legs, or ‘dance;’ with arms and head, or role your eyes while sticking your tongue in and out, or tighten and relax various muscles in your body, etc.  Remember repeating ‘I am free’ and ‘I can move’ are decisions, just as ‘I am helpless’, ‘I have no time’, and ‘I’m overwhelmed’ are.

If you see [or imagine] a scary movie or a sexy dance, your brain will release chemicals as if you are in the scene.  People [and animals in a laboratory] who simply watch or imagine others performing tasks, have the same chemical changes and even bodily reactions as someone actually performing the action:  we ‘learn’ by image-ining!

If you’re going to bother playing a move in your mind, choose a happy one and avoid distress and its lethal consequences [like disease, low mood, anxiety, and quick-fix addictions]!  If you’re breathing in any case, why not breathe with attention and joy and MOVE those breathing muscles… sexy six-packs might just appear and give you cause to smile!

Ask ‘generative’ or ‘positive-outcome’ questions:

My whole life changed when I listened to teleseminars that teach us to ask generative questions [see my article on “Access Consciousness”].  I have been teaching the Access Consciousness™ skills to many others too and amazing shifts have occurred.  You can learn how to ‘live in the questions’ by attending an Access Bars™ class in your city or country, as well as two other Access tools, a Clearing Statement and a hands-on energy process working through 32 energy points or ‘Bars’ on a person’s head.  [See www.selfgrow.co.za/workshops/ to find out about Bars classes in Cape Town, or www.accessconsciousness.com for classes internationally.]

You can also learn many of the questions from books by the founder Gary Douglas or his business partner, Dr Dain Heer.  Here are some examples of typical questions you can ask every day, 30 times or more; you don’t have to answer them, just keep asking.  This will generate better possibilities and choices for your life in your conscious and unconscious mind, and should decrease negative stress very rapidly:

–        “How does it get even better than this?”

–        “What else is possible?”

–        “What generative energy, space and consciousness can I Be to experience peace and joy every day?”

Noah St John also focuses on questions, ones that force the brain to find positive outcomes.  He calls the Afformations™.  Again, keep repeating the questions even if they don’t ‘feel’ true – yet! Some examples are:

–        “Why I am so lucky to feel peaceful and joyful every day, no matter what?”

–        “Why am I so fortunate to be able to feel confident in all situations?”

Be grateful – Count your blessings:

One of the “25 Ways to beat the stress in your life” published by the Hope Heart Foundation of Seattle, Washington, is: “For every one thing that goes wrong in your life, there are 50 – 100 blessings:  Count them.”  We tend to repeat each thing that goes wrong 50 – 100 times, instead!  Thus we create not only distressed mind states but also negative outcomes in our future.  Example: The car is stolen or badly damaged.

–        Ask:  “What generative energy [etc] can I be to deal with this with peace and gratitude and joy?”

–        Then do the practical stuff:  police reports, insurance claims, arrange alternative transport, etc.

–        Then handwrite, or speak aloud with strong emotion, 100 things you can be grateful for in any case, e.g., being able to walk/afford a taxi/having a place to stay/having a job/being able to hear or see birds sing/having friends/being able to eat/being alive/being able to listen to the radio or music player, watch tv, go out to a pleasant place, socialise/have clothes you enjoy – list them!/have pets or objects you enjoy – list them/being able to use your hands to wash or feed yourself or rescue penguins/being able to use a toilet or play tennis, jog, dance, paint, or swim/being insured/etc.

A fellow Toastmaster, Simone Koch, and her family developed a question to get them through a tough situation:  Every evening, meet with someone and tell them “What Went Well Today” – it works wonders.  And you can also write down your list if you can’t find someone to chat to.

List your positive possibilities and things you are grateful for: Read page 168 of ‘The Secret’ by Rhonda Byrne for a discussion of how careful we should be with “I am” statements, as they create our future.  Another book by Byrne, ‘The Magic’, focusses intensively on the art and techniques and benefits of practising Gratitude.

In her book ‘The Excuse Me, Your Life is Waiting Playbook’ Lynn Grabhorn suggests we find 10 things to ‘marvel’ at when we have allowed ourselves to feel distress.  Focus on mundane things, like a brick or nail file, and give many reasons why each is so ‘marvellous’.

Do something USEFUL with your time:

Has worrying ever improved a situation?  No.  It just saps all your energy and generative abilities to create options for your life or solutions for the problems. It stops your brain from helping you feel good as it hands over your reactions to your Reptilian brain [see the article on Panic Attacks on www.selfgrow.co.za for details of the Reptilian Brain functions], and gets you stuck in Flight, Freeze or Fight mode.  NOT useful if you want to solve a problem at human experience level!

I teach my clients to ask “How useful is this?” whenever they feel di-stress of any kind.  If it is useful and does not harm you or others unnecessarily, then go for it!  Does worry, shame, guilt, frustration, despair, help the blind to see and the lame to walk? Then indulge – especially if you were the one who blinded or lamed them… Otherwise, do something more useful with your time.

Choose to become conscious of your power of choice, of ‘infinite possibilities’ available to you.  Then choose to do something useful.  Rest, do filing, feed the birds, wash the dishes, design an evening gown, jog, phone a friend, save a whale, organise a charity event, train a puppy, read a book, write a book, watch a feel-good television show, star in a sitcom, conduct a choir, repair damage to stuff or relationships, learn a new skill, or a new fact, share what you learn, polish the car, learn to drive, teach someone to drive, colour in, play, skip, visit someone in an orphanage, old age home, prison, or hospital, sing [off key is fine; almost on key and ugly is better – Florence Foster Jenkins became famous for really ugly singing: check her out on YouTube!]…  Do anything that will at least not worsen your mood and make you more ineffective.

Or go see a shrink…

And if you’re lucky they’ll teach you these and other techniques!

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