Rethink Your Relationship With Stress

By Emma Colsey-Nicholls | Journaling

May 29

We live in a full on world these days, we are switched on, we are tuned into our phones and devices. Yes this can be an amazing resource and tool BUT if it’s not managed it can also lead to increased levels of stress and anxiety.

 

Notifications continually popping up on our phones, people family friends pulling us in all sorts of directions and your to-do list is never freeking ending, and our time, or rather lack of it always seems to be challenged.

 

It’s why this has been such an important topic for me personally. Not just as time management, but managing your time, mindset and energy levels can massively impact your levels of happiness whilst reducing the amount of stress, anxiety and overwhelm.

 

Stress comes in many forms, it can be physical, mental or emotional.

 

Physical stress is what we put our bodies under when training and working out. This short term stress on the body is a good thing, when it’s coupled with adequate rest and recovery it means our bodies get stronger,  fitter and healthier.

 

This physical example is a great metaphor for all types of stress and the key point is that when we have adequate rest and recovery our bodies are able to adapt and improve. The stress actually acts as a catapult to create change and growth, so it can be a good thing, it provides us with our get up and go.

 

So it’s similar with mental stress. You are forced to deal and overcome a challenge, that challenging situation allows your to build and develop the mental skills required to deal with tough situations.

 

BUT…… what happens when we don’t get enough recovery?? The body gets depleted of energy and you burn out and are not able to be as effective. You are training but not getting any stronger your body is burning out.

 

The same happens with mental and emotional stress. Too much without the downtime and the body starts to suffer, and it can often manifest into other illnesses and ailments as the body struggles to cope.

 

This is why I strongly believe in the power of stress management. To work on managing your stress as part of your daily routines and habits.

 

If you are also the type of person who is ambitious, you want great things for your life, you can push yourself then chances are you have found yourself feeling anxious, like you are pushing yourself harder and in all leaving you feeling stressed out.

 

 

Then yes, there’s going to be work involved, it’s not all unicorns and manifesting your dreams through visualisation and vision boards, you are going to have to do some real work, it’s going to require that you become better than you are right now, you are going to have to do, and be more.

 

So I want to share my experience, and how I choose to deal with stress. Because your ability to manage your stress levels will be the difference between giving up on your dreams and being able to push on to reach higher towards them.

 

So here are my top strategies that I regularly use on myself and with my coaching clients

 

1# Recognise its A Choice –Realising that stress is at choice may sound crazy!! Why would anyone choose to be stressed?? But stay with me, recognising that stress is a choice is in itself very empowering. Think about the reasons why you feel stressed? What is causing the feelings of stress?

 

Recognising that you CHOSE these things over HAVING to do them takes you away from a place of being the victim to just reminding yourself that you are indeed the one in power and you are the creator of the stresses.

 

So for me I often remindmyself:

I choose to have children

I choose to be self employed

I choose to enter ridiculously hard races
I choose to move to France

I choose to set myself big dreams and goals

 

Realising you are in always in choice allows you to step back into your power.

 

#2 Dissociate yourself from the stress.

 

Notice that stress is a feeling and often a feeling triggered by a stressful thought. Note you are not the stress, you created the stress in your mind from a trigger and a thought.

 

So instead of saying ‘I’m so stressed’, you get to say ‘I notice I ‘feel’ stressed out’

 

Because when you can distance yourself from the feeling of stress, and recognise that it’s not you that is stressed, but rather than you are buying into stressful thoughts. You can then recognise ‘oh I notice I feel stressed’ you then get to ask, well ok ‘what can I do about that feeling?’ Rather than identifiying yourself as being stressed where you feel like you have no control over being able to change that state

 

#2 Identify the thought??

 

So an example of a stressful thought is ‘it’s too much I can’t cope’

 

When you can identify the thought you get to ask yourself – ‘Is that really true?’ I can’t cope, is it true??

 

The answer is no, it’s not true. Why? Because you are coping. You are still here living and breathing walking the earth and so your are coping, in fact your track record of getting through tough and stressful times is pretty high. With that, it’s really helpful to have a power mantra. Something that is inspiring and will help you find the strength to keep on going.

 

e.g

 

I forgive myself

I am enough

I let go of any expectations

I am loved

I am safe

I am the creator of my world, I got this

I am willing to let go

I am a badass and I totally have this

There is always a way to figure this out

 

Whatever you need to say to yourself as a reminder that you are awesome and yes you can!!

 

#4 What action is required? – What do I get to do to help relieve the feelings of stress??

 

Well there are a few things that I like to use to help me to deal with stress, so here goes.

 

  • Take a step back and breathe – Super simple, I put everything down, closed my eyes and took a series of long deep breaths and just focused on my breathing. Yes things, thoughts, images tried to pop back into my mind every few seconds, but I just come back to my breathing. If you want to take this even further then meditation is amazing but just breathing is an awesome starting place. Also a top reason why I love bringing people away on retreats, it’s a step back but in a much greater sense. But just putting your feet up for 5 mins can help also.
  • Make A Plan – I get everything out of my head and onto paper and figure out one thing for each stress item that will help to deal with the situation. This is where journaling and using a planner comes in and can be so powerful in helping you to gain a greater perspective of the issues you are dealing with, and how to actually be able to do something about it rather than the problem spinning around and around your mind causing more and more stress. This way your brain can actually start to deal with and process the information. CLICK HERE if you want to access the journaling workshop and in fact I am just adding a couple of new modules to the original training. You can also CLICK HERE to access the hard copy planner. As you know I love my planner and it’s my number one to help me get more done whilst managing those stress levels.
  • Be Flexible – Sometimes it’s our goals that can cause us stress. Sometimes our best laid plans don’t go, well, to plan. Rather than beating yourself up about it and feeling guilty and even more stressed, ask yourself what else is possible? So choose to tune in and be flexible with your goals. Remember setting big goals and dreams is meant to be fun and exciting, and it is when you allow yourself to take off the pressure.
  • Movement – There are times when a workout can be a great stress buster, it gives your mind a break from all the worrying a time to focus on you. One of my PT clients says it’s a big reason as to why she trains with me as she works in a pretty high pressure role. Though sometimes my movement will come in the form of some yoga and getting out and walking. When you are feeling stressed getting out and walking can allow you the space to let your mind wander and mull things over, though get those thoughts down onto paper once you get back as that will help you transfer those thoughts into action steps.
  • Food – Yes I am one of those people that eats when they feel stressed. Yes I know some people prattle on about losing weight when they feel stressed (luck b!tches) not me. I am straight to the goodie cupboard in search of sugar and comfort food when stress strikes. So being mindful of this and trying to take that space to breathe and have a time out is super helpful to keep me away from the biscuits. Recognising that this is my default pattern gives me more strength to choose something different. Because let’s face it you only have the added guilt afterwards because food will never comfort the feeling that you are seeking. Eating good quality nutritious foods will actually help your body to keep functioning as it’s supposed to. And that goes for hydrating too. Stress causes your body to become dehydrated, so drink up.
  • Sleep – You know that feeling after a long and full night’s sleep. You wake up feeling amazing and I must admit I feel already a load better after having a good 9 hours last night. Sleep in itself could be a whole other post, but start to look at how well you are sleeping and if there are areas for improvement. Again journaling can be another useful tool if you struggle to sleep as it helps you calm that monkey brain so you can actually switch it off when your head hits the pillow.
  • Get Help – Speak to someone, ask for support, there is no shame is asking for help. Whether that is asking the kids to pick their own clothes up, delegating tasks at work, asking your partner for help out, speaking to a friend, your parents whoever. Sometimes just talking things through with another person can feel like a weight off your shoulders. You are not alone and you don’t have to struggle on your own either.

 

Of course we all have different stresses and situations but I hope that this helps by sharing some of the most useful ways that I choose to deal with stress. It always starts with a mindset shift and realising that everything comes back to you.

 

If you want to discuss more with me on a one to one basis I am now also offering one off one to one coaching calls.  I know that not everyone is ready for the full 90 coaching program and so it’s an incredible option to work through your currently blocks, get some actionable tools and get to work on that one area. Drop me an email now if you would like to discuss this option at emma@emmacolseynicholls.com

 

Emma